The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in partnership with the Massachusetts School Mental Health Consortium (MASMHC) is pleased to again offer the opportunity for district teams to engage in a learning collaborative. This 2021-2022 school year opportunity is facilitated by the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH). The focus is on establishing comprehensive school mental health systems in Massachusetts and in other participating states. State team members include representatives from parent and youth leadership organizations (CPLAN and PPAL/YouthMove), the Department of Mental Health (DMH), the Department of Public Health (DPH), the Department of Children & Families (DCF), and MassHealth.
A Comprehensive School Mental Health System (CSMHS) is defined as school-district-community-family partnerships that provide a continuum of evidence-based mental health services to support students, families, and the school community. A CSMHS:
District teams will be provided with access to professional development, technical assistance, and ongoing coaching as they work to pilot practices to support the establishment of a CSMHS. Staff from NCSMH, in conjunction with DESE and MASMHC, will facilitate convenings (in-person and virtual) to foster cross-collaboration between districts, highlight best practices for school mental health implementation, and support teams in developing and implementing action plans that are supported by continuous quality improvement practices. District teams will also receive training and coaching in conducting a formal needs assessment to determine priority areas of growth and relative strengths using assessments and processes that have proven results.
This collaborative network will support district efforts to plan for and respond to the mental health needs of students, families, and staff. The network will be keeping in mind the importance of fostering resiliency and responding to challenges that have been intensified and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and systemic inequities, such as those associated with race/ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation, "front-line" staff workers, socio-economic status, highly impacted communities, etc.). This opportunity will bolster districts' efforts to establish systems that support the health, wellbeing, and success of all students, families and staff, enhance and establish evidence-based group and individual therapeutic services for individuals requiring additional support, and establish linkages with community-based mental health partners to augment the available services for students.
This initiative will leverage a network of districts contending with similar concerns and state and national partners positioned to provide resources and coaching in order to ensure quality practices and strategies are adopted and implemented. Additionally, districts will share strategies, challenges, and successes associated with transitioning students back to full-time, in-person learning and will be oriented to strategies to support the health, well-being, and success of students, families and staff from all identities and backgrounds.
Some details about the commitment needed from participating districts are provided on this site expectations overview . Note that participating districts will also be asked to submit monthly data (to the degree it is available), to inform the learning process.
Thirty-minute information sessions were held May 11,14, and 20, 2021.
Online applications were due June 4, 2021. A Word version is available for reference purposes. Selected entities will be posted this summer, and all applicants will be notified in late June or early July 2021.
You can also use this online interest form if you would like to receive information about additional related opportunities as they arise.
Many thanks to all applicants, and Congratulations to all participating districts!
Districts selected in 2021-2022: Agawam, Haverhill, King Philip Regional, Monomoy Regional, Waltham
Districts selected in 2020-2021: Belchertown, Berkshire Hills Regional, Boston Renaissance Charter Public, Burlington, New Bedford, and Randolph
Questions may be directed to DESE's Office of Student and Family Support via firstname.lastname@example.org or 781-338-3010.
Last Updated: August 12, 2021
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
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