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Upgraded mental health plan approved for Dare County Schools

Dare County Schools has an upgraded school mental health improvement plan for students.

The plan features early intervention, a multi-tiered approach and mandated training for all school employees.

Reida Smith Roberts, the system’s exceptional children director, presented the plan and the Dare Board of Education approved it unanimously June 8, 2021.

New features include a program “See Something, Say Something,” a student reporting system. The system received 14 messages, a dozen related to self-harm and two about depression and anxiety.

Another new program is Securly, a “scaffolded response to internet security flags.”

Protocols are being updated to deal with changing circumstances.

A day treatment facility at First Flight High School is under review. Dare Schools is partnering with Getting Ready, Inc. for this innovation.

Advertising for new staff is ongoing. The system is looking for its fifth psychologist and to fill one of three social worker positions.

Three Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) coordinators are also to be hired.

The plan goal is to promote wellness among all students. The system addresses attendance, behavior, academics and social emotional learning. Some 20 to 30% of the student population will need Tier II services and 5 to 10% will need Tier III services.

Within the system, classroom teachers, school counselors and social workers are part of the tiered approach.

The system seeks services through Memorandums of Understanding with partners including Port Health Services, Integrated Family Services, Pathways for Life Mental Health Services, Mobile Crisis and the Dare County Collaborative on Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

This summer, all school employees will take six hours of training on the following topics: suicide prevention, substance abuse, teenage dating violence, child sexual abuse prevention and sex trafficking prevention.

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