Net Exchange Response
Title: How to better connect school & community supports to
Date Posted: 6/1/2015
Question: I'm a licensed therapist who has done some work in schools. I find
therapists don't understand education and working with staff on their turf. I also find
that educators are not attuned to the mental health issues of youngsters either. Any
suggestions on how to merge the two domains?
Response: What makes this such a complex concern is that it involves much
more than just enhancing mutual understanding. At its roots the problem is that of
establishing effective school-community collaboration. Foundationally, this is best
approached at an institutional policy level (e.g., to establish and support a school-community
collaborative infrastructure). However, given that this can’t be done quickly,
there are several ways to enhance collaboration and understanding through ongoing regular
contacts and exchanges among community providers and school staff. Given that each of
these stakeholders brings special expertise to exchanges, the need is to ensure that all
contacts are facilitated in ways that are experienced as transactions among equals and with
expressions of mutual respect.
Here are places where such exchanges can occur:
At team meetings focused on individual students – Whenever school staff and
community providers come together to discuss a specific student, it is an opportunity
to share perspectives and understanding of learning, behavior, and emotional
problems related to the case presented, what might be the best way to help the student,
and how similar problems might be ameliorated for other students.
At designated school staff meetings & special professional development sessions –
Many of these are opportunities to work together on enhancing how the school helps
students in general. Through cooperative efforts, working relationships are enhanced.
School staff members share what is currently provided and what more is needed to
support students; community providers offer ideas on what more might be done to
support teachers/students in classrooms and school-wide and to engage families and
other community resources. The school’s student support staff and community
providers might plan a joint presentation to clarify how their roles and expertise
complement each other and how the collaboration enhances the continuum of
interventions available at the school and in the community.
Here are a few of the various resources we have developed to speak to this concern:
For more on this, see the section of this Practitioner featuring resources on
Submit a request or comment now.
UCLA Center for Mental Health in Schools
Dept. of Psychology, P.O.Box 951563, Los Angeles, CA 90095.
email: Linda Taylor ~ web: http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu