Priority 2: Social & Emotional Health

Priority 2: Social & Emotional Health

Gunnison Watershed School District is committed to supporting the social, emotional, and mental health of all students, families, and staff. In order for students to succeed academically, the mental health of the entire district is a top priority. The current global pandemic has created a new and unique environment for all of us. 


Research has made clear that social emotional learning (SEL) leads to greater academic achievement, better mental health, and eventual career success for students. In order to cultivate students’ social-emotional skills, the adults in our buildings need to feel supported and valued. They also need to develop their own social-emotional skills. Promoting student SEL starts with adult SEL. For these reasons, we are developing a 4-year program to strengthen our student SEL approaches, and Year 1 begins with a focus on adult SEL while maintaining the student SEL programs we already have in place (see below). Adult SEL can be described as follows: 


Adult SEL is the process of helping educators build their expertise and skills to lead social and emotional learning initiatives. It also involves cultivating adults’ own social and emotional competencies. This includes:  

·         The ability to positively model prosocial behaviors, label emotions, and demonstrate empathy, positive relationships, social awareness, and self-awareness to students.

·         Understanding and utilizing adult self-care practices to help cope with stress and manage emotions.

·         District-provided environmental support and leadership investment to allow educators to cultivate and practice their own SEL skills while feeling supported, empowered, and valued.  (Panorama Education, n.d.)

The district will continue to address the mental health and well-being of students, families, and staff by:

Adult SEL: We will address and support the needs of district staff.

·         Staff surveys and/or focus groups regarding staff mental health will be offered.

·         Membership with the Employee Assistance Program will continue.

·         Building-specific adult SEL teams with a variety of stakeholders to promote continued professional development and support for staff will be created.

·         Building in time and space to support the social-emotional needs of staff in a variety of ways will be planned.


Mental Health Team: We will maintain a sustainable district mental health staff.

·         Maintain a minimum of one School Counselor per building, and strive for the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) recommended 1:250 student ratio. 

·         Maintain a minimum of two School Psychologists throughout the district, and strive for the National Association of School Psychologists recommended 1:700 student ratio.

·         Continue to support and pursue grants which fund additional mental health positions, and work to maintain these positions beyond the scope of grant funding.


Access Equity: We will address and support the mental health of all students in all learning locations.

·         Each instructional staff member will strive to build strong individual relationships with a variety of students. 

·         Student screeners and surveys will be conducted in order to gather data regarding all students’ mental health.

o    A district student survey was sent out at the end of the 2019-2020 school year.

o    Each building will conduct site-specific student mental health surveys during the Fall 2020.

·         Ongoing professional development will be offered to staff regarding building-specific  curriculum and programs. 

·         School staff will continue teaching evidence-based Social-Emotional (SEL) programs to all students at a universal level. These programs include:

o    Pyramid Model

o    Second Step

o    Sanford Harmony

o    MindUp

o    Sources of Strength  

o    Positive Behavioral Intervention Supports (PBIS)

·         Curriculum and programming will be delivered in all learning locations.

o    Social/Emotional learning will be prioritized heavily during the beginning of the school year.

o    During a hybrid learning model, Mental Health staff will be available to support in-person learning while also providing online social emotional learning opportunities.

o    During remote learning, Mental Health staff will be available to help support delivery of curriculum to all students.


Intensive Needs: We will support students with intensive mental health needs in all learning locations.

·         Students will continue to have access to Mental Health staff in all learning locations.

o    Individual support will be conducted in person, via Google Meet, or via phone.

o    Group student support will continue in person or via Google Meets.

·         If necessary, Mental Health staff will conduct suicide risk assessments virtually. They  will continue to be conducted in a confidential manner. 

·         Staff continue to be Mandatory Reporters as per Federal Law and will be required to notify Department of Human Services upon suspected child abuse or neglect.


Community Collaboration: We will maintain and utilize community agency support.

·         District Mental Health staff will work with the Family Advocacy Support Team (FAST) to hold a beginning of the year multi agency collaboration meeting.

·         The district will maintain all Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with outside agencies.

o    Center for Mental Health

o    Family Advocacy Support Teams (FAST)

o    Gunnison Valley Mentors

o    Gunnison County Substance Abuse Prevention Project (GCSAPP)

·         The district will continue to partner with community agencies to support students and families.

o    Gunnison County Substance Abuse Prevention Project (GCSAPP)

o    Center for Mental Health 

o    Gunnison Valley Mentors

o    Gunnison Multicultural Center

o    Gunnison Valley Health (GVH)

o    Western Colorado University

o    Child Protective Services

o    Project Hope

o    Community Partner Programming

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