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Connecticut Training Bus Drivers to Support Mental Health

School bus drivers play an instrumental role in both promoting student mental health and reducing violence and bullying among students. To support bus drivers in these roles, leaders from Middletown, Connecticut instituted two programs: The Peaceful School Bus program aimed to decrease disruptive behavior and bullying on school buses, and Kognito aimed to help bus drivers identify and refer students experiencing mental health challenges.

Reducing Behavioral Problems and Absenteeism

The Boys Town Specialized Classroom model was implemented to reduce disruptive behaviors, discipline referrals, and absenteeism among students with emotional and behavioral problems in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The model is implemented by classroom teachers and has strong evidence of reducing office referrals and disruptive behaviors, and increasing academic engagement, instruction time, and on-task behaviors among students.

Connecticut’s Restorative Practices Approach

To reduce the incidence of suspensions and expulsions, particularly for male students of color who are disproportionately impacted, Connecticut employed a Restorative Practices approach across its SS/HS districts. Baseline data indicated that statewide, male students were twice as likely to be suspended as female students, which was true for all racial and ethnic groups. Further, Black and Hispanic boys were 2-3 times as likely to be suspended or expelled as White boys, and Black and Hispanic girls were 4-6 times more likely to get such a sanction as their White counterparts.

Supporting the Mental Health of LGBTQ Students in Bridgeport, Connecticut

National data suggests that LGBTQ youth are at greater risk than their peers for mental health challenges, including depression and suicide. To better understand and support the mental health of LGBTQ students in Bridgeport, Connecticut, school and community leaders collected quantitative data on the health risks for these students, conducted focus groups, shared findings with stakeholders, and conducted two regional conferences.

Nevada’s State and Community Integration

“The Collaboratory” integrates various state grants and initiatives to ensure a climate of collaboration. State leaders worked together to develop a State Integration Team to include many state initiatives in order to align the work across the state. The initiatives include: Project AWARE, School Climate Transformation, Pre-K Development, Systems of Care, Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment, OJJDP Comprehensive School Safety Initiative, and State Youth Treatment Planning for Substance Abuse.

Nevada’s Use of Technology to Build Violence-Free Schools

The Nevada Department of Education, Office of Safe and Respectful Learning Environment (NDE OSRLE), established the Governor’s Social Workers in Schools Initiative with the focus of creating safe schools through prevention programming as well as a system of multi-tiered interventions for students. Providing a social worker in the schools has enhanced the strategy to create safer schools.

LEAs and Community Collaboration and Partnerships

The three LEAs (Lyon, Nye, and Washoe School Districts) partnered to develop and provide mental and behavioral health consultation, screening, assessment, and treatment for students and their families on site at school. As a result, services have been provided for 2,042 students (2013-2016 school years). The school districts and community agencies have developed the infrastructure and capacity to continue these services.  

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