When many students enter the schoolhouse, they are distracted and overwhelmed with personal and family issues. To ensure every student has a trained adult to help them work through these issues, PGCPS is providing additional funding to provide 45 high-needs schools with certified mental health therapists. In addition, the PGCPS mental health coordinator will guide staff through mental health first aid training so anyone trusted with caring for a child has the tools to do so effectively.
Currently, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) allocates $108,271 for the full-time salary for this position. The pandemic has affected the work of the person in this position and the delivery of needed mental health services. Specifically, the Mental Health Coordinator modifed procedures and documentation related to crisis response, suicide intervention, threat assessment, and counseling to allow school-based mental health professionals to virtually implement these procedures. In conjunction with these changes, the Mental Health Coordinator led professional development in each of these areas, especially in the delivery of tele-mental health services. The person in this position has carried out but is not limited to the following duties:
December Survey 2020
The Role of the Mental Health Coordinator is vital to our school district as we navigate the prolonged effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With funding from the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, PGCPS continues to provide resources for social, emotional, and behavioral growth, seek out programs and practices that will provide stakeholders with a safety net, and support students and staff who have experienced the loss of an individual.
Specifically, the mental health coordinator collaborated with National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE), a technical assistance center, to continue the development of a project that would provide 100-120 workshops during the 2020-2021 school year to educate PGCPS staff on the impact of trauma on students’ behavior and trauma-informed strategies to support students and families. There will be 25 participants per workshop (2,500 total staff members).
Initiatives since January 2021 include:
As a result of Kirwan II funds, PGCPS will receive a one-time amount of $4,506,214 to support students who experienced learning loss and their families who were adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mental Health Coordinator for PGCPS is developing a plan on how the funds will be spent during summer 2021 and school year 2021-2022. The plan is due to the state legislature prior to September 1, 2021.
Additionally, crisis response continues to be an ongoing need that offers support to students and staff due to the passing of individuals. Thus, the Mental Health Coordinator has weekly meetings with the Youth First Care Team, who consist of staff from PGCPS and county government agencies, to facilitate the integration of mental health clinicians in individual schools and has co-led the Department of Health’s Network and Workforce Development committee to increase collaboration between primary care and behavioral health providers. The intent of the collaboration is to increase partnerships and exchange resources with community partners.