Using "Down-Time" to Plan Better Ways to
Address Psychosocial-Educational and
Mental Health Concerns at School
"Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it."
A. A. Milne
Summer is a time to stop bumping our heads and take the time to plan some new directions for ensuring all students have an equal opportunity to succeed at school
In mid June, our Center staff sent a survey to a broad range of school leaders asking three brief questions:
- Are you aware of any school improvement planning designed to develop a comprehensive systemic approach for addressing barriers to learning and teaching.
- If you are, at this state of its development, how well does the learning support system focus on (a) developing classroom and schoolwide interventions to both (enhance how students cope with barriers to learning and (b) re-engage them effectively in classroom instruction?
- Is someone designated as the administrative leader to ensure development and effective implementation of a comprehensive systemic approach for addressing barriers to learning and teaching.
(If you know of a district we may have missed, let us know and we will contact them.)
We are just now receiving the first responses. It is relevant to note that, of the first 100+ responses received, only about 30% of the respondents indicate knowing about some school improvement planning designed to develop a comprehensive systemic approach for addressing barriers to learning and teaching.
Assuming these data are representative and given the plateau of test scores in so many schools and districts, we think it is imperative for schools to accelerate the focus on developing a system of "learning supports."
And, the summer provides another opportunity for engaging in such a process.
To aid in this work, our Center has a variety of guides, resources, and tools for strategic planning, implementation, and capacity building. Such resources also help to deepen learning about the substance and processes of the work to be done. For easy access, we have been evolving an online "Toolkit for Rebuilding a Comprehensive System of Learning Supports" see http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/toolkit.htm
The kit is divided into three sections.
If you need assistance is doing this work, please let us know.
- Section A offers exemplars and guides related to moving forward with a comprehensive system of learning supports.
- Section B includes a variety of brief guidance and blueprint notes, tools, and training materials developed by the Center at UCLA to aid capacity building (particularly staff and stakeholder development).
- Section C provides the menu of over 130 specific Quick Finds available in the online clearinghouse accessed through the Center at UCLA. Each Quick Find is a gateway to a host of resources.
More generally, as you do your action planning for the next year, you might want to anticipate the predictable challenges of the school year. See "Ideas for Enhancing Support at Your School" for a month by month look at opportunities and challenges at http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/schoolsupport.htm
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