TRUCKEE, Calif. — As part of an initiative that addresses the growing need for mental health services for students, the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District is launching a pilot program that will expand the use of social workers in schools, supported by financial support from Excellence in Education and the Placer County Mental Health Services Act.
TTUSD already provides mental health resources in the form of student services and wellness programs with programs including social-emotional, mental and physical health services for all students; parent-community partnerships; social-emotional training for teachers; school counselors and psychologists at each school site; coordinated care teams; Well-being centers in high schools and colleges; student support groups; suicide prevention education and hope squads and social workers and school therapists.
Programs have been successful for approximately one in five children (3-17 years) who reported a mental, emotional or behavioral health issue before 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the number of students facing to social, emotional and behavioral problems. problems that interfere with academic performance, often compounded by complex family issues. TTUSD saw the need to strengthen its mental wellness programming.
During the 2021-22 school year, TTUSD piloted school social workers on-site to help address student mental health topics like self-regulation, anxiety, and depression. Since the program launched in October 2021, school social workers have provided comprehensive support to 75 students and their families by connecting them with various school and mental health services. Social workers provide case management to students with complex family issues to help them navigate services, offer short-term counselling, perform risk assessments, and help school administrators and counselors develop management plans of student behavior.
TTUSD is expanding the School Social Worker Program for the next school year, providing part-time social workers at Alder Creek Middle School, Truckee High School, North Tahoe School, North High School Tahoe and at Lakeside and Truckee Elementary Schools.
As a catalyst to launch the expansion program and build momentum, Excellence in Education provided the district with a $50,000 grant. Additionally, Placer County MHSA has committed to funding a portion of the social worker program for the upcoming school year. TTUSD covers the remaining social worker costs and provides sustainable funding, in part through ESSER (elementary and secondary school emergency aid) funds and potential SBHIP (student behavioral health incentive program) funds. .
The Placer County Office of Education selected TTUSD as a pilot program for California’s Student Behavioral Health Incentive Program, providing an opportunity to align with county programming to build sustainable infrastructure and tap into in the long-term financing of the state.
To support the Excellence in Education Foundation and become a friend of education, donate online at ExinEd.org or call 530-550-7984.
Source: Tahoe-Truckee Unified School District