Conroe Isd 2023 24 Calendar – Social and emotional learning has been part of the Conroe ISD culture and curriculum long before Covid-19, but the pandemic has highlighted its importance for both students and district staff. Jason Fochtman, Houston Chronicle/Staff Photographer.
Social and emotional learning has been part of the Conroe ISD culture and curriculum long before Covid-19, but the pandemic has highlighted the importance of that education for both students and district staff.
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“There were many challenges during this pandemic,” CISD Superintendent Curtis Null said at a March 29 meeting of the district’s safety and security committee. “But I think, not just in Conroe ISD, but globally, mental health is an issue. Perhaps one positive side of the pandemic is that we have become more comfortable talking. “
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Since the outbreak began, CISD’s counseling department has played a large role, reaching out not only to students in the district, but also to students’ families and district staff. Members of the Guidance and Counseling Department presented its current programs as well as the moving forward goals of the department in a meeting held last week.
Going forward, the department plans to provide weekly mental wellness tips to faculty and staff in the district’s newsletter, create more community outreach through district-wide health and wellness presentations, and implement a newly adopted health curriculum.
For staff, the department provides training on trauma and how it affects the human brain and students at CISD; professional development around self-care, communication, bonding, stress management and resilience; Youth Mental Health First Aid Training with Tri-County Behavioral Health; counseling and financial assistance through the Employee Assistance Program; and mental health advice in a regular newsletter.
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While some programs are generally limited in their offerings, more and more of these classes have been added to classrooms for the benefit of students and other staff.
“The resiliency piece is so important to all of us because when we start teaching coping strategies and developing those skills to be more resilient in any challenge in life, it starts to stack up and build better tools for our students. ” As they grow developmentally, they can have those tools to better cope with what life throws at them,” Dennis Cipolla, CISD’s guidance and counseling department administrative coordinator, said at last week’s meeting.
The department continues the work it regularly does with students, including the development of a Social Emotional Learning book; Texas Children’s Health Access via Telemedicine; Tri-County Support Services at four CISD campuses; emergency response; and references to other resources.
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Cipolla told the committee that what the department has seen over the past year is that parents are asking for services not just for their students, but for them.
“Because there are long waiting lists of therapeutic resources in the community, we can provide them with connections, knowing where to call and what list to get on,” Cipolla said. “So it’s really something we can do to help families in the immediate crisis, but prevent future crises.”
This unit contains information and mental health tips for parents and families of students, as well as presentations such as “Frightening Your Kids Fly” and “Flipping the Switch on Anxiety,” which cover mental health issues facing youth.
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Outside of the county, the department is involved in several community outreach programs, including the Montgomery County Behavioral Health and Suicide Prevention Task Force. Many districts are creating campus community partnerships that support students in a variety of ways.
“We rely on community partnerships to help us as much as we try to help the schools,” Cipolla said.