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Palo Alto Unified launches new plan to boost mental health services

Original post made on May 27, 2022

By employing mental health staff directly, school district administrators hope to create a program that is collaborative and able to more quickly adapt to changing circumstances.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, May 27, 2022, 6:54 AM

Comments (9)

Posted by S. Underwood
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 27, 2022 at 8:09 am

S. Underwood is a registered user.

My advice to any parent or student who is struggling : Get your own support, detached from school. There are public options for low income in our region.

If a school district openly acknowledges a very serious need, whether it be learning based or emotionally based or what have you, they are immediately on the hook (as they should be) for supporting it through a very expensive IEPs, alternative placements, etc. As with Special Ed, you need your own experts and to pilot your own vessel. Schools can support, and there are some wonderful supporting folks to be found, but be wary of thinking you can let them captain your ship.

Posted by Citizen
a resident of College Terrace
on May 27, 2022 at 10:45 am

Citizen is a registered user.

Might this not mean more union members?

Posted by Local Resident
a resident of Community Center
on May 27, 2022 at 11:25 am

Local Resident is a registered user.

Is bringing this in-house such a good idea? The district can't even hire qualified Computer Science teachers in the middle of Silicon Valley.

Posted by Samuel L
a resident of Meadow Park
on May 27, 2022 at 11:43 am

Samuel L is a registered user.

PAUSD will do everything in its power to NOT actively help students who need help. Talk with pretty much any parent who has a child that need(ed) and IEP or mental health help and listen to how hard they had to work to get their child some assistance. We have a friend whose son took a route similar to Rachel's in this story. After informing the school that he would be attending a residential school for his mental health, the district's first response was to send them a letter telling them that they would not pay for the residential school.

They don't care about the students. They only care about saving money and looking good.

Posted by Marc Vincenti
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 27, 2022 at 12:00 pm

Marc Vincenti is a registered user.

No matter how many in-house therapists, wellness centers, social-emotional learning, and guest lecturers we "flood the zone" with on campus, these things will only help at the margins, and sometimes may even hurt.

Our entire campuses are toxic places and will not be fixed by essentially cosmetic changes.

Too many students become essentially anonymous in overcrowded classes. What if the teacher does not even make eye contact with you or have time to call on your raised hand?

Too many students are overwhelmed by their amounts of homework because they have no safe, anonymous, online way of communicating to the teacher how long it took them to do the night's assignment. Instead, they simply lose precious sleep.

Too many students end up taking AP loads that are overwhelming because she school does not adequately vet, in person, these students' families so that the child does not lose precious sleep, and social time, and spiritual time, and playtime, and recreation time, and family time, and best-friend time.

Too many students check their course grades online every three weeks—as the schools provide for—or even more often. The pressure is constant, even if one has suffered a break-up, or incident of bullying, or loss of a grandparent.

Too many students are on their phones during the schoolday—even surreptitiously during class. And at lunch and during passing periods, instead of spending time with friends, they are checking social media, or their grade-point averages, or with their anxious parents.

Too many students are cheating. Recent surveys of Gunn and Paly, as well as high schools nationwide, have shown rates of academic dishonesty to be 40%, 60%, 80%.

The therapeutic community is caring and well-meaning, but for the most part a student would rather confide in a teacher than in a stranger. Our kids spend all day with their teachers—even more than with their parents.

We do not need to fix our kids. We need to fix our schools.

Posted by Green Gables
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 27, 2022 at 4:28 pm

Green Gables is a registered user.

[Post removed.]

Posted by district teacher
a resident of Midtown
on May 28, 2022 at 9:53 am

district teacher is a registered user.

I guess mental health issues are not an issue at the middle school level? One of the middle schools is cutting one of the school counselor jobs so the remaining two will have a 50% greater case load. Considering how this school year played out, I find this shocking and incredibly short-sighted. (Yes, there are other counseling options, but the counselor is the first line to get help for students.) *sigh*

Posted by Samuel L
a resident of Meadow Park
on May 28, 2022 at 10:35 am

Samuel L is a registered user.

@district teacher- cutting costs in helping students allows them to funnel the money to the lawyers to fight the parents who are trying to get help for their children.

Not all of the PAUSD superintendents have been great, but Don Austin is top of the list in terms of his hypocrisy, and lack of concern for anyone outside of himself and his optics. [Portion removed.] Says everything proper in public, but deep down only wants to intimidate.

The board allows it and to a degree encourages it. [Portion removed.]

Posted by Anony Mouse
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 7, 2022 at 4:01 pm

Anony Mouse is a registered user.

There have been many claims made about outcomes, support and hiring for this plan. Where are these mental health professionals magically going to materialize from? Be ready for the re-framing, gaslighting and declaring victory in the fall. Employees don't just appear because Don wants them....

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