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UCLA School Mental Health Project
Center for Mental Health in Schools
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Continuing Education: Unit III

Addressing Barriers to Learning
New Directions for Mental Health in Schools

Section C Continued

Support for Transitions

This area involves planning, developing, and maintaining a comprehensive focus on the variety of transitions concerns confronting students and their families. Anticipated outcomes are reduced alienation and increased positive attitudes toward and involvement in school and learning activities.

Work in this area requires

  • programs creating a welcoming and socially supportive school community, especially for new arrivals
  • counseling and articulation programs to support grade-to-grade and school-to-school transitions, moving to and from special education, going to college, moving to post school living and work
  • before, after-school, and intersession programs to enrich learning and provide safe recreation.
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    Contents of Section C

    Home Involvement in Schooling

    The emphasis and work in this area includes:

  • programs to address specific learning and support needs of adults in the home, such as English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and mutual support groups
  • programs to help those in the home meet their basic obligations to the student, such as instruction for parenting and for helping with schoolwork
  • systems to improve communication about matters essential to the student and family
  • programs to enhance the home-school connection and sense of community
  • interventions to enhance participation in making decisions that are essential to the student
  • programs to enhance home support related to the student's basic learning and development
  • interventions to mobilize those at home to problem solve related to student needs
  • intervention to elicit help (support, collaborations, and partnerships) from those at home with respect to meeting classroom, school, and community needs.
  • The context for some of this activity may be a parent center (which may be part of a Family Service Center facility if one has been established at the site).

    Outcomes include measures of parent learning, student progress, and community enhancement specifically related to home involvement.

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    Community Outreach for Involvement and Support
    (including a focus on volunteers)

    Outreach to the community is used to build linkages and collaborations, develop greater involvement in schooling, and enhance support for efforts to enable learning. Outreach is made to (1) public and private community agencies, universities, colleges, organizations, and facilities, (2) businesses and professional organizations and groups, and (3) volunteer service programs, organizations, and clubs. Outcomes include measures of community participation, student progress, and community enhancement.

    Work in this area requires:

  • programs to recruit community involvement and support (e.g., linkages and integration with community health and social services; cadres of volunteers, mentors, and individuals with special expertise and resources; local businesses to adopt-a-school and provide resources, awards, incentives, and jobs; formal partnership arrangements)
  • systems and programs specifically designed to train, screen, and maintain volunteers (e.g., parents, college students, senior citizens, peer and cross-age tutors and counselors, and professionals-in-training to provide direct help for staff and students -- especially targeted students)
  • programs outreaching to hard to involve students and families (those who don't come to school regularly -- including truants and dropouts)
  • programs to enhance community-school connections and sense of community (e.g., orientations, open houses, performances and cultural and sports events, festivals and celebrations, workshops and fairs).

  • Every school has programs and services that are meant to address barriers to student learning and enhance healthy development.

    Make a list of the ones that are currently in place at your school.
    If you were to ask most of the teachers at the school, would they know that these interventions are available and understand how to arrange for students to access them?
    What other programs and services do you think the school needs to better address mental health and psychosocial problems?

    In organizing an enabling component, it is the content of each of the basic areas that guides program planning, implementation, evaluation, personnel development, and stakeholder involvement.

    The intent is to blend a continuum of programs -- from primary prevention to treatment of chronic problems -- and a continuum of interveners, advocates, and sources of support (e.g., peers, parents, volunteers, nonprofessional staff, professionals-in-training, professionals).

    Thus, the emphasis throughout is on collaboration -- cooperation, coordination, and, where viable, integration -- among all enabling activities, as well as with the instructional and management components.

    If feasible, a Center facility provides a useful focal point and hub for enabling component operations.

    Also as feasible, integrated use of advanced technology is highly desirable (e.g., a computerized system to organize information, aid case management, and link students and families to referrals).

    It is clear that there is a long way to go before, a comprehensive, integrated approach to addressing barriers to learning and promoting healthy development is in place. Nevertheless, as we move into the next millennium, it seems wise to work within a context that has promise for truly meeting the needs of society rather than continuing to pursue fragmented strategies that have proven ineffective.

    For more on this topic, see

    H.S. Adelman (1996). Restructuring Education Support Services: Toward the Concept of an Enabling Component. Kent, OH: American School Health Association.

    H.S. Adelman & L. Taylor (in press) System reform to address barriers to learning: Beyond school-linked services and full service schools. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

    The Center also has several guidebooks related to developing an Enabling Component and restructuring education support programs at school sites and in school districts.

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    Contents of Section C

    Test Questions -- Unit III: Section C

    (1) Indicate three primary and essential components discussed in this unit that need to be addressed in reform efforts by schools/communities.




    (2) Enumerate six program areas of an Enabling Component.







    (3) The concepts of (a) an Enabling Component and (b) School linked services are different terms for the same approach to addressing barriers to learning and enhancing healthy development.

    True ____ False____

    (4) School-owned enabling activity -- such as pupil services and the multi-components of a school health program -- must be coordinated and integrated not only with each other but with community-owned resources.

    True ____ False____

    This is the end of Unit III Section C.
    Move on to:
    Unit III Coda

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