• Support Services

  • Support Services - May 2024

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 5/2/2024 5:00:00 PM

    FENTANYL AWARENESS COMMUNITY EVENTS

    SUSD’s Support Services team is working with organizations Community Bridges and notMYkid to provide several fentanyl awareness community presentations throughout the month of April and May. The first event was held on April 18th at Desert Mountain High School, the second at Chaparral High School on April 23rd, and the final presentation this school year was on May 1st at Saguaro High School.

    The events began with a presentation by Stephanie Siete, Public Information Officer for Community Bridges, during which she educates the audience on the extreme dangers of fentanyl and other current drug trends. The most impactful part of these evenings has been the personal stories of one of our very own SUSD families who spoke of the recent, devastating loss of their son and brother. NotMYkid closes out the presentation with signs and symptoms of drug use and community resources. Several local mental health organizations were present are on hand to provide resources for families.

    Through community events like this, we hope to spread awareness and provide education on important topics to inspire our youth to make healthy life choices.

    MAY IS MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS MONTH

    For our May community event, Support Services will be bringing in NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They will present their “Ending the Silence” program, an engaging presentation that helps audience members learn about the warning signs of mental health conditions and what steps to take if you or a loved one are showing signs of a mental health condition. The presentation includes two leaders: one who shares an informative presentation and another, a young adult, with a mental health condition who shares their road to recovery. 

    May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Since its inception in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month has been a cornerstone of addressing the challenges faced by millions of Americans living with mental health conditions.

    Mental Health Awareness Month Fast Facts

     

     

     

    • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness each year, and only half of them receive treatment. 
    • 1 in 20 U.S. adults experience a serious mental illness each year, and only two-thirds receive treatment.
    • 1 in 6 U.S. youth experience a mental health condition each year, and only half of them receive treatment.
    • 50% of all life-time mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24.
    • The average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years.
    • 122 million people live in Mental Health Professional Shortage Areas.
    • In 2020, 1 in 5 young people reported that the pandemic had a significant negative impact on their mental health.
    • In 2020, there was a 31% increase in mental health-related emergency department visits among adolescents.
    • As of 2021, 1 in 10 young people under age 18 experienced a mental health condition following a COVID-19 diagnosis.
    • More than three quarters of Americans (76%) say they are not content with the status of mental health treatment in this country.
    • 7 in 10 Americans (72%) agree that people with mental health conditions face discrimination in their everyday life.
    • Only half of Americans (53%) say they are familiar with the U.S. mental health care system.

    Data from SAMHSA, CDC and others. Find sources for this resource at nami.org/mhstats and in NAMI’s Poll of Public Perspectives on 988 & Crisis Response (2023).

    988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

     

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  • Support Services - April 2024

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 4/1/2024

    Fentanyl Awareness Community Event

    Our Support Services team is in the process of working with the notMYkid and Community Bridges organizations to provide several fentanyl-awareness community presentations throughout the month of April. Please keep an eye out for specific details, including dates, time and locations that will be out soon. We hope to reach as many families as possible, so we’ll be asking for help in getting the word out. 

    APRIL Is Stress Awareness Month 

    Feeling overwhelmed? Read this fact sheet to learn whether it’s stress or anxiety, and what you can do to cope.

    APRIL Is Also Alcohol Awareness Month

    Safety Tips for Parents

    Parents play an important role in teen safety, especially during prom. Teens need to know they have a support system that will get them out of any hairy situations. Here are some simple suggestions from FamilyEducation that you can use to make sure your teen has a safe prom night:

    • Be informed of the plan – What are the times, is there a meal, is there an after-party, etc.
    • Come up with an emergency code – If your teen is in danger, they’ll need a quick way to let you know they need help, and you’ll need a discreet way to pick them up.
    • Know what’s in your house – If your teen is hosting any friends at your house after prom, keep any alcohol or prescription drugs safely stored away.
    • Know the drivers – Is the driver reliable and trustworthy? If not, find alternatives for your teen.
    • Talk about car safety – Whether it’s your teen or someone else driving, make sure they’re aware of all that could go wrong, and how to stop it.

    Most importantly, have a conversation with your teen about any concerns you have, and answer any questions they might have. Give them all the tools they need to have a safe night and enjoyable experience.

    *Source: Safe & Sober, supported by SAMHSA grant funding

    Read more at The SUSD Source

     

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  • Support Services - March 2024

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 3/1/2024

    March 3-9 is National School Social Work Week
    School social workers are an integral link between school, home, and community in helping students achieve academic success. They work directly with school administrations, as well as students and families, providing leadership in forming school discipline policies, mental health intervention, crisis management, and support services. We would like to express our deepest appreciation for all that our school social workers do to ensure the success of our students and families. THANK YOU!

    Supporting Children’s Mental Wellness: Tips for Families and Caregivers
    Parents, family members, and caregivers can encourage mental wellness and promote social, emotional, and academic success. Good mental health is not simply the absence of illness, but also includes skills necessary to cope with life’s challenges.

    SUPPORT CHILDREN'S SENSE OF BELONGING AT SCHOOL
    Feeling Connected and Welcomed

    • Communicate openly with teachers to help build a positive relationship.
    • Help children bond with school by reinforcing a sense of familiarity and trust.

    PROMOTE RESILIENCE
    The Ability to Bounce Back from Adversity

    • Encourage children to see the big picture and try again with a new strategy. 
    • Help them to adapt to change by keeping them informed and involved in planning.

    DEVELOP SKILLS
    Accomplishment Comes from Our Own Actions

    • Teach children to set goals and be responsible for the results. 
    • Model coping strategies and how to judge when help is needed.

    RECOGNIZE POSITIVE BEHAVIORS AND DECISION MAKING
    Positive Feedback

    • Recognize good decision-making, problem-solving, and self-control. 
    • Notice and encourage students' efforts and successes daily.

    ENCOURAGE HELPING OTHERS
    Children Can Make a Difference

    • Assist children to help others and build self-esteem. 
    • Help children get involved so they can make a difference in their communities.

    FOSTER GOOD PHYSICAL HEALTH
    Good Physical Health Supports Good Mental Health

    • Healthy eating and adequate sleep can protect against stress. 
    • Regular exercise can decrease anxiety, anger, and depression.

    For additional guidance, Click Here ©2021 National Association of School Psychologists, www.nasponline.org.

    Mental Health in the Schools Networking Event
    On March 1, Scottsdale Unified School District hosted its 14th Annual Mental Health in the Schools Networking Breakfast. This event is an opportunity for SUSD administrators, school psychologists, counselors, social workers, community specialists, nurses, and program specialists to meet, network, and interact with more than 50 community organizations that specialize in mental health, social services, prevention, intervention, and more. Attendees were provided information that will assist them in making meaningful referrals for the students and families we serve. 

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • Support Services - February 2024

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 2/1/2024

    National School Counseling Week
    February 5-9, 2024, is National School Counseling Week. We would like to express our deepest appreciation for all that our school counselors do to ensure the success of our students and families. THANK YOU!

    UBU at Cocopah
    David Simmons of UBU Music has completed his third residency at Cocopah Middle School. Each week he is on campus, students in Theater Arts, Choir, Band, and Humanities have the opportunity to engage in an interactive journey. UBU Music’s student-led, project-based, goal-oriented, performance arts-infused curriculum is based upon the “The UBU Treasure Chest,” words of hope, resilience, self-compassion and empathy. By the end of the week, each class has created original songs, with lyrics written by the students themselves. It is truly incredible to witness this process. David is scheduled to work with students at Mountainside Middle School and Laguna Elementary School this spring.

    February is Healthy Relationship Awareness Month
    Teen dating violence is an issue that affects 1.4 million high school students each year, yet only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship tells anyone about the abuse.

    It is important to discuss the warning signs of dating abuse (all kinds, not just physical abuse) with your teen:

    • Creating a positive connection to the issue – talk about the characteristics of healthy teen relationships, not just abusive ones – and use statistics sparingly.
    • Talking about how the media portrays healthy and unhealthy relationships.  For example, many popular movies, TV shows, commercials, books, and magazines portray stalking as romantic or harmless, when it is actually very dangerous. 
    • Getting involved even if you don’t have a lot of resources – an information table, classroom discussion, or school announcement can get the conversation started. 

    It can be difficult to tell the difference between a healthy, unhealthy and abusive relationship. It’s important to remember that no two relationships are the same and these behaviors occur across what we call the “Relationship Spectrum.”  If you or someone you know sees the warning signs in their relationship, help is available at youth.gov.

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • Support Services - January 2024

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 1/1/2024

    “Snow” Comes to Scottsdale Ranch Park
    Laguna Elementary School recently celebrated its awesome students with something you don’t see every day in the desert: a snowball fight!  That’s right!  Right here in Scottsdale – hot chocolate, too!

    Laguna students were challenged in November to earn 2,023 Eagle Pride tickets for going above and beyond, and choosing to be extra-kind, respectful, responsible and trustworthy. A giant poster in the cafeteria kept track of how many tickets were issued and the students, we’re told, enjoyed watching the total grow and grow each week.

    The goal? To wearing pajamas to school, which both students and staff did on Nov. 30. When students arrived that day, their classes were split between lower grades and upper grades. They were handed gloves and took turns having cotton “snowball” fights on the school’s artificial ice rink, followed by hot chocolate.  It was a delightful event, and no frostbite was reported! 

    These types of events exemplify what MTSS (Multi-tiered System of Supports) is all about.  Let’s teach our students about expectations and celebrate them when they are achieved!

    Family-School Partnerships: Five Tips for Successful Problem-Solving with Parents
    It is well established that when parents and educators engage with one another, students benefit. While traditional, one-way parental involvement in student activities offers some benefit to students, the impact is multiplied when parents and teachers work jointly and share responsibility for children’s success. Parents and teachers have unique knowledge, information, experiences, and perspectives about their children and students. Two-way sharing between teachers and parents is important for all children, but it is essential for students whose learning and achievement are at risk because of challenges with behavior, social-emotional functioning, or learning skills.

    Here are five partnership-building tips to increase the chances of successful parent-teacher problem-solving meetings.

     

    1. Address the Problem Immediately
    Challenges can be addressed most effectively when teachers and parents make contact at the earliest signs of struggle. Discussing issues right away allows teachers and parents the ability to develop a treatment plan quickly and effectively.

    2. Focus on Strengths
    One of the basic building blocks of a strong parent-teacher relationship is that teachers and parents stand united on helping children. Focusing on children’s strengths, and the strengths of the partnership, allows teachers and parents to build on positive opportunities and experiences in a constructive way.

    3. Strengthen Home-School Connections
    Point out similar experiences between parents and teachers. Parents and teachers may have different experiences with the same child and may have different perceptions about the problem focus or treatment. By acknowledging similarities between parents and teachers, school psychologists provide opportunities to come together, recognize their shared goals related to benefits for the child, and develop those shared goals.

    4. Respect Uniqueness
    Children benefit most when their caregivers and teachers know one another and have some basic information about “how things work” at home and school. 

    Diversity among parents and teachers may be present. For example, there will be situations where cultural, ethnic, or language differences exist. When promoting partnerships in these situations, acknowledge and respect the uniqueness of each party, demonstrate ways in which the diversity of experiences and culture is a strength, and identify areas where similarities are present.

    5. Provide Structure
    Prepare and use structured problem-solving steps to systematically solve problems. Prepare and share agendas with parents and teachers prior to and during meetings. Redirect back to the agenda to keep focus on strengths and solutions. Provide opportunities on the agenda for everyone to share. Both parents and teachers have important information to share when it comes to the child. Use opportunities to integrate information obtained from parents and teachers so they feel connected and unified in their efforts.

    Remember, as with all relationships, building partnerships takes time. Invest time and resources to ensure parents and teachers are active, essential partners throughout the problem-solving process.

    Information on supporting family and school partnerships adapted from www.nasponline.org.

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • December is National Stress-Free (Family) Holidays Month

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 12/1/2023

    While December is a joyous time of year, the never-ending to-do lists and school being out of session can make everyone feel a little overwhelmed, children included.

    Consider these five practical tips to help families proactively manage holiday stressors.

    1. Manage expectations. The commotion that often comes with the holiday season can be stressful for young children, but you can help alleviate worries by familiarizing them with what’s to come. Talk to them about upcoming travel arrangements, who they’ll see at events and what to expect throughout the season. If they are cautious in their current developmental stage, let loved ones know beforehand to give them a little extra space at festivities. Parents can also begin familiarizing little ones with relatives through photos and phone calls.

    2. Empower children. It’s important for children to understand they have a choice ‒ and family members are willing to respect that choice. Parents should acknowledge their children’s body language and empower them to say “no” in uncomfortable situations. Parents can help by proactively asking questions such as, “Do you want a hug?” and if they say “no,” support them in their decision. This also helps establish healthy, long-term social skills.

    3. Maintain your schedule. Children thrive on consistency, and during the holidays it’s important to at least try maintaining as much of what they’re used to as possible, such as naps, meals and playtime. Changes in schedule can result in more behaviors, so be sure to allow space for them to safely work through their emotions.

    It’s also important to note that children feed off their parents’ energy, so make sure you’re in tune with your own emotions. When overwhelmed, openly discuss how you’re feeling and involve your children when taking breaks. For example, “It’s loud in here. Would you like to go sit outside with me?”

    4. Have fun. Make time to spread joy and integrate activities to bond as a family, such as reading holiday-themed books, crafting, playing games, singing or baking. Whether old traditions or new, these are moments your child can cherish for years to come.

    5. Keep others in mind. While it’s important to set children up for success ahead of the holidays, parents should also teach children the holiday season can look different for others. It’s also a good time to consider donating toys to make room for new ones or volunteering at a local charity to show children that joy can be experienced through more than just gifts.

    Information adapted from resources found through kindercare.com on supporting families during the holidays.

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • Support Services – November 2023

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 11/1/2023

    VapesIn recognition of Vaping Prevention Month, we want to take this opportunity to remind you that Project Rewind is an early intervention program available to SUSD students and their families. Students, along with their parents, participate in a five-hour course to learn about the dangers of chemical use and abuse, the risk factors that lead to vaping, substance abuse and strategies to improve family communication, trust, and monitoring. The $250 fee is waived for all SUSD families who are referred by SUSD administration. Please contact Shannon Cronn at scronn@susd.org for more information. 

    Vaping: What Parents Should Know
    Vaping is the inhaling of a vapor created by an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette). It’s common among teens.

    By learning about vaping, parents can:

    • Talk to their kids about its health risks.
    • Recognize if their child might be vaping.
    • Get help for kids who are vaping.

    How Does Vaping Work?
    E-cigarettes (or “vape pens”) heat a liquid until it becomes a vapor, which is inhaled. The liquid (called e-liquid or “vape juice”) can contain nicotine or marijuana distillate or oil. E-cigarettes can be refillable or pre-filled with cartridges containing the e-liquid. The pre-filled e-cigarettes (called “Puff Bars”) are designed for one-time use. After taking a certain number of “puffs,” the user throws the device away.

    What Are the Health Risks of Vaping?
    The health risks of vaping include:

    • addiction: E-cigarettes contain nicotine, a drug that’s highly addictive. You don’t have to vape every day to get addicted.
    • anxiety and depression: Nicotine makes anxiety and depression worse. It also affects memory, concentration, self-control, and attention, especially in developing brains.
    • becoming a smoker: Young people who vape are more likely to start smoking regular (tobacco) cigarettes and may be more likely to develop other addictions in the future.
    • impotence: There is some evidence that vaping can cause sexual dysfunction in men.
    • sleep problems
    • exposure to cancer-causing chemicals
    • chronic bronchitis
    • lung damage that can be life-threatening

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • Support Services – October 2023

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 10/1/2023

    October is National Bullying Prevention Month. This is a great time for communities to raise awareness about bullying and the role we all play in making a difference. Research indicates that increasing awareness and building a safe and supportive home environment contributes to positive academic, social, emotional and behavioral outcomes.  

    PREVENTION AND INTERVENTION STRATEGIES 

    Parents and Caregivers. Parents and caregivers should pay attention to their child’s use of technology, keeping an eye out for signs of cyberbullying involvement. Some behaviors that may warrant attention include changes in emotion after online use, attempts to hide online activities from adults, or a tendency to be insensitive or callous toward peers. There are several preventive measures parents can take against cyberbullying: 

    • Talk with children early and often about online safety and how to be respectful and responsible in online settings. 
    • Set clear expectations related to technology use. 
    • Model safe and responsible online behavior. 
    • Monitor technology and social media use. 

    A particular challenge related to cyberbullying is its low report rate ‒ children often hide cyberbullying from their parents for fear of having their devices taken away, among other reasons. Parents should aim to be proactive in supervising their children’s technology use. Parents and other adults who discover a child is involved in cyberbullying should: 

    • Provide nonjudgmental support. 
    • Document incidents of cyberbullying (e.g., save screenshots of harmful posts and text messages). 
    • Report cyberbullying incidents to the child’s school. 
    • Contact law enforcement in cases of illegal activity or physical threats. 

    For Educators and Practitioners. Educators can engage in school-wide and individual-level cyberbullying intervention and prevention in the following ways (Fredrick et al., 2023):

    • Implement school-based cyberbullying prevention programs, especially programs with interactive components (e.g., class discussions, role playing, or other social learning activities) and programs led by curriculum content experts (e.g., trained psychologists). 
    • Use social-emotional learning (SEL) programming to promote healthy school climates and decrease bullying. 
    • Understand that zero-tolerance policies are not effective responses to bullying; no one response is helpful across all situations. 
    • Consider context and power dynamics between students when addressing cases of cyberbullying.
    •  Use restorative practices rather than punitive practices to remediate any bullying situation. 
    • Teach students digital citizenship skills (i.e., skills for engaging in safe and responsible online behavior).
    • Monitor activity on school-issued technology and identify warning signs of cyberbullying involvement. 

    Family-School Collaboration. Given how cyberbullying tends to persist across settings, collaboration plays a key role in prevention and intervention; communication between families and educators is crucial. 

    • Schools can provide digital literacy education for families. Many organizations (e.g., Common Sense Media, Cyberbullying Research Center) have guides for parents with information about popular apps and online behavior. 
    • Parents should aim to keep an open line of communication with their children’s teachers regarding bullying issues.

    SUMMARY 

    Research shows that digital media use among teens and tweens is on the rise; between 2019 and 2021, media use in this age group rose by 17% (Rideout et al., 2022). Increased exposure to technology and digital media creates more opportunities for cyberbullying to occur. The good news ‒ caregivers, educators, and practitioners can take steps to counter cyberbullying. When adults are proactive and informed, they can help keep students safe online. 

    A School Safety and Crisis Resource 1 © 2023 National Association of School Psychologists │ 4340 East West Hwy, Bethesda, MD 20814 | www.nasponline.org│ 301-657-0270

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  • Stop, Walk, and Talk Celebration

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 10/1/2023

    Over the past few years, roughly one third of all SUSD campuses have participated in school-wide Stop, Walk, and Talk trainings for all students and staff to reduce bullying. The training defines bullying and teaches all community members on a process to stop it. Crafting a common language around bullying and giving students tools to combat the negative effects of bullying have created safer, more positive climates on campuses throughout our district. Please click here to view sample resources that campuses use to embed the Stop, Walk, and Talk framework.

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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  • Signs of Suicide - Tips for Parents and Caregivers

    Posted by SUSD Communications on 9/1/2023

    September is Suicide Prevention Month, which is a time to raise awareness and discuss this highly stigmatized topic. Our goal here at SUSD is ensuring that our students, staff, and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.

    SUSD is planning a community viewing and panel discussion of the film, My Ascension, an inspiring look at the story of Emma Benoit, who survived a suicide attempt the summer before her senior year of high school, where she was a popular varsity cheerleader with a supportive family and lots of friends. Inside, she was struggling in silence with depression and anxiety. She now uses her painful experience as a way to spread awareness and help others.

    Through this film, we are able to hear firsthand, the experiences of family, friends, school officials, and suicide prevention experts. “The film does not shy away from the difficult realities of the ongoing youth suicide crisis, but shares valuable resources to help keep teens safe.” (www.myascension.us). Our goal is to raise awareness and provide resources to SUSD families. 

    Signs of suicide - Tips for Parents and Caregivers

    If you have concerns for your child, the first step is to start a conversation, and then listen without judgment. Often when teens are struggling, they feel disconnected from the people who love them or fear that they might get in trouble. You can say, “I’ve noticed some big changes in you. How are you?” You can show your support by saying, “It’s okay to feel this way. I’m here for you.”

    If they give any indication that they are thinking about suicide, don’t hesitate to ask directly. Asking about suicide will not put the idea in their head. Instead, it will show them that you really see their pain and are not afraid to hear the truth. “When things get this tough, have you ever thought about ending your life?” No matter how your child answers, show your support and keep the conversation going. The ACT message applies to you too.

    • Acknowledge signs of suicide in your child
    • Care: show your child that you can listen and support them
    • Tell someone; reach out to get your child the help they need

    There are many pathways to healing. Most people thinking about suicide are struggling with a mental health condition, like depression. With professional help, people begin to feel much better. But it can be hard for a teen who is struggling to ask for help. Be your child’s advocate. You can start by reaching out to their pediatrician or school counselor. Call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for free, 24/7 support.

    Read more at The SUSD Source

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