Chiefs for Change Resource Aims to Strengthen States' Student Mental Health Responses

Source: K-12 Dive | Repost Fight for Life Foundation 3/13/2022

The return to full-time, in-person learning this school year after remote or hybrid learning during the pandemic has exposed educators to the trauma students are experiencing due to grief and periods of isolation, said Chiefs for Change CEO Mike Magee.

That has led to an increased need to understand students’ struggles and significantly step up capacity to provide support, he said.

“The right approach was not going to be to sort of willy-nilly try to build something, but to really have some tools that allowed systems’ leaders to reflect on the nature of the challenges they were facing, the capacity they had to deal with it,” Magee said.

The district- and state-level tools take a holistic approach, meaning solutions aren’t based on adding a specific intervention, such as a certain number of school counselors. Instead, the tools encourage deep understanding and reviews of data, coordination among partners, and evaluation of whether new or existing supports can or will be effective.

“It’s really about how do you situate that [the information gathered] in an overall strategy around student well-being, healthy school culture, belonging, making students feel safe and welcome in school,” he said.

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