As school communities return to classrooms, educators know that learning recovery happens when students feel safe and supported. This Back-to-School Spotlight highlights three resources designed to help educators and other leaders ensure students have safe and healthy spaces that encourage learning. The resources offer:
- Guidance for developing comprehensive, integrated school-based systems of care
- Audio stories about schools working to serve the whole child in their communities through an equity lens
- Research to inform efforts to improve school-based mental health services and support
Creating Integrated, School-Based Systems of Care
This resource is the result of a collaboration among child-serving leaders and experts in California to move forward existing efforts to create a school-based, child-serving system in California that centers children and their families.
The guide, designed for local education agencies and state leaders, describes the necessary components of a comprehensive, integrated, whole-child system, and provides strategies for how to:
- Use existing funding for implementation
- Source additional funding for comprehensive services
- Ensure sustainability
State leaders will find guidance for supporting local education agencies through cross-sector collaborations at the state level.
School Climate Audio Gallery: Nurturing Positive School Climates
This new audio resource, developed by the California Center for School Climate at WestEd, highlights the stories of California public schools that are nurturing positive school climates.
These inspiring stories illustrate how educators are working to serve their school community’s whole-person needs, using practices rooted in equity. The educators’ authentic voices can inform similar work and initiatives around the country.
Evidence-based resources and a discussion guide accompany each episode.
- A Community-Based Approach to Student and Family Well-Being
- Post-Disaster Mobilization Toward Healing & Recovery
- Centering Community Engagement in Collaborative School Design
New Research: Comprehensive School-Based Mental Health Services
School communities face multiple challenges in providing necessary mental health support and services to students, families, and educators. Some barriers include:
- Increased need for support and services
- Stigma and misconceptions about mental health
- Lack of culturally relevant or appropriate services
- Staffing shortages
- Limited capacity in general
With its recent substantial influx of funds to support mental health, California has an unprecedented opportunity to improve referral pathways to ensure that students and families are linked to appropriate mental health services. This recent study looks at California’s current mental health referral pathways and highlights strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for growth.
Leaders can use these findings to inform decisions about allocating resources for mental health services. The report can also support leaders in strategizing how to design technical assistance that effectively addresses areas needing improvement.
Work With WestEd to Create Safe and Supportive Learning Environments
Safe and supportive learning environments are linked to increased student engagement, attendance, achievement, and success.
WestEd supports your school, district, or state to develop the knowledge and build the capacity to foster equitable learning conditions during everyday instruction and throughout school communities.
Our Safe and Supportive Learning Environments (SSLE) professional learning and technical assistance services focus with an equity lens on trauma-informed, restorative, and culturally responsive practices; social and emotional learning (SEL); school climate; and related whole-person topics.
- Creating Safe and Supportive Learning Environments
- Developing an Integrated, School-Based System of Care
- School Climate Audiocast
- Equitable Access to School-Based Mental Health Services
- Tier-1 Practices to Improve School Culture and Climate
- Improving School Communities Through Restorative Practices
- Strengthening Community and Individual Resilience