District Partners with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin to Provide School-Based Mental Health Therapeutic Services

The Special Education & Pupil Services department has been busy with several projects that are focused on enhancing educational outcomes for all students, one of which is a new partnership with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.
 
At the September 24th School Board Meeting, the Board unanimously and enthusiastically approved the School-Based Mental Health Therapeutic Services Partnership with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin-Community Services (CHWCS). This partnership will be providing the District with the following:
 
One Consultant, Maggie Altschaefl (Two Days/Week)

Maggie is responsible for providing mental health consultation and professional development services for staff. These services will be 100% grant funded through June 2021.

Two Full-Time Therapists, Alecia Corbett (SHS/SIS) and Rebecca Breitrick (ATW/LB)

Alecia and Rebecca will serve as School-Based Mental Health Therapists. These services will be 100% funded through a generous gift to CHWCS and private/public insurance at no cost to the District. The District will provide appropriate therapy space at each of the school buildings. This partnership will be in effect through June, 2020 with an opportunity to renew in subsequent years. These therapists will share schools with one allocated for Lake Bluff and Atwater and one for SIS and SHS.
 
The goal is that this new partnership will improve student, staff and community wellness by providing mental health consultation and professional development as well as School-Based Mental Health Therapeutic Services for students as part of a Tier III targeted intervention.
 
“I want to reiterate my thanks to Arthur Anderson for taking on the task [of grant writing] that is very challenging,” says the District’s Director of Special Education and Pupil Services, Julie Harris. “To write a grant like this for the Department of Public Instruction is a big deal. It’s a very competitive process and DPI turns down several school districts. To be awarded this, is remarkable.”
 
“The [large] response to this grant program demonstrates the great need in our state to grow school mental health supports,” says State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor. “Considering the intense competition and thorough review process, you [at Shorewood School District] should be proud that your application received approval. The work you will do to implement your plan is immensely important to our students, staff, and families. Congratulations!”
 
For more background on the grant and the partnership with Children’s Hospital, please read the blurb below. Also, learn more about additional services and opportunities that the District will have access to by viewing the below video from the September 24th School Board meeting.
 
 
Background on Partnership:

During the 2018-19 school year, a review of 10 years of local data from Wisconsin’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey was conducted pertaining to student wellness. Results indicated that 20-33% of high school students; 20% of 8th grade students and 16% of 7th grade students felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more that they stopped doing some usual activities. Over the past 12 months, 12-19% of high school students; 13% of 8th grade students; and 10% of 7th grade students seriously considered attempting suicide with 6-13% of high school students; 15% of 8th grade students; and 13% of 7th grade students making a plan about how they would attempt suicide during the past 12 months. Three to eight percent of high school students; five percent of 8th grade students and three percent of 7th grade students reported attempting suicide at least once in the last 12 months. Additionally, 12-37% of 10th grade students reported having 5 or more drinks of alcohol in a row 30 days prior to the survey; 8-37% of high school students used marijuana 30 days prior to the survey and approximately 40% of high school students described significant problems with anxiety.
 
Due to mental health and wellness concerns throughout Wisconsin, the Department of Public Instruction offered a competitive grant opportunity for school districts to address such needs. Dr. Arthur Anderson, Interim Director of Special Education & Pupil Services during the 2018-19 school year, facilitated the grant-writing process for the Shorewood School District that resulted in an award of $70,000 for each of the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services was explicitly named as a community partner in the grant application that was submitted and awarded.
 
School-based mental health (SBMH) programs and partnerships increase access to early intervention and mental health services by treating the child or adolescent quickly after a concern has been identified in a setting that is comfortable and convenient to them. It reduces the barriers of transportation, missed academic time (and missed work time for caregivers), and stigma, as generally, the therapy session is part of the school day. Through on-site partnerships with the school personnel, it allows for quicker consent for care and collaborative care that places educators and mental health providers in the same location, eliminating delays in communication. The mental health provider is also available for both informal and formal consultation and education about mental health to educators, which supports positive classroom interventions for young children and adolescents who are struggling with mental and behavioral challenges.