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Billerica, MA: "Social/emotional coaches" help elem students; 'whole country' is affected

Dec 20, 2019, Concord, MA, Billerica Wicked: Billerica Public Schools look at student social and emotional well-being With mental health both for adults and children becoming less of a taboo and more of a critical need, more schools around the country, including Billerica Public Schools, are making the move to support not only the educational needs of their pupils but their social/emotional health. … McCann said he works directly with the district’s head of school nurses to make sure each campus is on the same page when it comes to the services offered to students and families. He also helps coordinate the guidance councilors and the four social/emotional coaches at the elementary level. The district made SELFF coach an official position in 2017 according to Assistant Superintendent Jill Geiser. She said they were created to identify early any social/mental health issues a student might be experiencing. The sooner an area of concern is pinpointed, the easier it is to find resources and solutions for the student, with the hope of making school and learning easier in the long run…. Melinda Cripps, director of the guidance department, has been working with McCann in-district since 2004 and echoed the sentiments of Geiser and McCann having seen the toll that mental health issues can take on students as young as 12 and 13. When asked what she has seen most at the middle school level, she said, “anxiety and depression” are the most common. “It something going on in most districts,” said Cripps. “It is something are the whole country is looking at.”
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