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SRCS 5/28/21 Update: Expanded Mental Health and Wellness Services for Students
Posted 5/27/21

Dear San Rafael City Schools Community,

As we emerge from the pandemic and return to full in-person learning, addressing the social-emotional well-being of our students is our top priority. The time away from and the transition back to our schools and classrooms have presented challenges for a number of students, which have highlighted the need for additional wellness support. We have also been listening to our community's feedback; recommendations from students, families, teachers, staff and partners, as well as the Joint Budget Advisory Committee and Together 2024 Blueprint planning process, all advocate for expanded mental health programs and services. 

In order to address the growing and ongoing social-emotional needs of our students, I am pleased to share some significant steps we are taking:

Counseling Services

SRCS will be using some of the COVID funding to expand our TK-8 counseling support. Specifically, we will be utilizing this one-time funding to temporarily hire additional school counselors with the intention of having one full-time school counselor at each elementary school; two full-time counselors at Venetia Valley TK-8; and three full-time counselors at Davidson Middle School. We are also planning to hire two bilingual counselors to serve our newcomer population in our high schools. 

Wellness Centers

In addition, we are thrilled to share that SRCS is part of a four-year grant awarded to the Marin County Office of Education to establish wellness centers and programs in our schools TK-12. Thank you to HeadsUp, our SRCS public education foundation, for also supporting this work! 

Through the grant, we will hire Wellness Coordinators for our secondary programs to help build, operate, manage and evaluate Wellness Centers at Terra Linda High School, San Rafael High School and Davidson Middle School. These centers will provide a layer of much-needed targeted support with a focus on prevention, intervention and postvention activities related to student physical health, mental health, reproductive health and substance use/abuse education. At the elementary level, we plan to bring on a Wellness Coordinator to support the school counseling teams, community based organizations and existing support system. Together, the Wellness Coordinator and school teams will build and strengthen each school’s social-emotional learning program for all students. At each level, our hope and goal is that the additional and current staff will establish solid systems and structures that can be sustained over time.

Multi-Tiered Systems of Support
This exciting expansion of wellness staff provides an opportunity for the District to better address one of our District goals and priorities: Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS). MTSS is a comprehensive framework that focuses on Common Core State Standards, core instruction, differentiated learning, student-centered learning, individualized student needs and the alignment of systems. Its central components promote students’ success through academic interventions and behavioral interventions. This is done using a tiered approach, starting with a strong foundation and access for all students as well as clearly identified intensive supports and interventions for those who struggle the most.

In collaboration with our valuable community-based partners who support our schools with counseling services as well as restorative and trauma informed practices, SRCS strives to maintain a student-centered approach to education while upholding our values of community, equity and joy. We are excited to embrace these new opportunities and look forward to continued partnerships with our teachers, staff, families and community in support of student wellness. 

Jim Hogeboom