Making decisions about school-based behavioral health programs is a big part of a superintendent’s job. It’s a tricky point where budgets, campus safety, and student achievement intersect. But the National Alliance reports that “behavioral health issues during adolescence contribute to more than half of all instances of students dropping out at the high school level.” Therefore, it’s critical that schools develop programs and processes to identify and serve students who need behavioral health assistance.
The University of Pittsburgh’s School Based Behavioral Health department recommends a four-prong approach to maintaining safe schools through addressing behavioral health: supervision & surveillance; intelligence & information; avoiding occasions for aggression, and reviewing factors that create violence. What can a superintendent do to support school staff as they fulfill these needs for children with behavioral health needs?
Give Staff a Centralized Data Collection Tool
A study conducted at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found a direct correlation between prudent counselor-to-student ratios and a reduction in disciplinary actions. Unfortunately, school counselors are often saddled with up to a thousand students each. Schools across the country have been reducing school counseling staff due to budget constraints. As dwindling school counselors take on bigger caseloads, it becomes easier for students with behavioral health problems to fall through the cracks. Naturally, it can be nearly impossible to remember the specifics about every at-risk student on a counselor’s case load. Confidentially collecting and filing teacher feedback on those students is not only required by law but is critical for a counselor to provide effective services and support. A tech-based data collection tool can achieve these goals and much more.
Give Students Behavior Education Tools
School based behavioral health programs can positively impact classroom safety. Students need access to tools that help them recognize, understand, and fix the situations that trigger their bad behaviors. Since this is the 21st century, such student-facing tools should be tech-based. If they are also gamified, they will be that much more effective at engaging modern students. School superintendents, counselors, and staff will find that these programs help students take ownership of their behavior and develop techniques for better self-regulation.
Give School Counselors Access to Data and Reports
Superintendents and counselors need access to up-to-date information about their at-risk students. When all staff can instantly add feedback to a student’s file, the counselor is not left wondering how a student is progressing. When incident reports and referrals are entered into the same electronic system, the staff official will know exactly what has happened with a student since they last met. When the student completes learning modules in an effort to understand better and rectify their behavior, that progress should also be recorded within the same centralized system. ScholarChip-Alternative Behavior Educator (ABE) is one such system that brings students, parents, staff officials, educators, and counselors together in one program.
How a School-based Behavioral Health Program Works
What schools need is a tool that helps educators gather and centralize information about student behavior. Superintendents, teachers, and counselors can enter and access data in one integrated program. As classroom teachers receive real-time updates on at-risk students’ behavioral health issues, their ability to better supervise those students improve. The student’s parents can access this information at any time, giving them a clearer picture of their child’s progress at school.
If you were to use a program that could create that paper trail for future reference, your job just got a lot more organized. In the event that a student is referred to an outside behavioral health professional, the school can generate a full report of the student’s health records for the clinician. Counseling Today reports that a collaborative approach to improving behavior health can work well for many students with extreme behavioral problems. And in the unfortunate event that the school must permanently remove a student from the school environment, all the necessary documentation will be readily available.
Meeting Your Budgetary Needs
Superintendents always have the bottom line in mind. No matter what, a district’s budget is still a top consideration when it comes to making the tough decisions. If you were to invest in a powerful tool that integrates with most Student Information Systems (SIS), including PowerSchool, your school would be set . So there’s no need for your IT department to wipe the digital slate clean and start building from scratch. You can keep the systems you like, and add the new and improved one to it. If you decide later to add more services to your campuses, they will also seamlessly integrate into the programs you already use.
With a dedicated system implemented at your schools, you will see a drop in disciplinary problems, including suspensions. When students receive the behavioral health help they need, dropout rates will be slashed. Happier kids create a more positive school ecosystem for all. With more students staying in school, and missing fewer school days, your funding will increase.
Here’s How We Can Help Solve Behavioral Health Based Problems
You are in the business of education, and ScholarChip is committed to providing excellent user training. From on-site training sessions to interactive webinars, our team set up your staff for success with ScholarChip’s ABE system for behavioral health. As your staff explores and works with their new behavioral health tools, superintendents, principals, and counselors will respond to fewer and fewer referrals. Teachers will experience more positive classroom interactions as students learn the skills they need to manage their emotions. ScholarChip’s ABE is a versatile tool that will help your staff members communicate more effectively about students with behavioral issues.
If you would like to learn more about ScholarChip’s ABE program and how you can utilize this technology, feel free to schedule a 1-on-1 strategy session with on our specialists today!