The Saint Louis Public Schools work to address students’ mental health wellness is getting nationally recognized. This February, a team of SLPS principals, social workers and District leaders will join the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s collaborative to further strengthen the District’s capacity to support students impacted by trauma.
Over the past three years, the SLPS Foundation has worked with partners including the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Missouri Foundation for Health, Alive and Well, UMSL’s Children’s Advocacy Center, and Shut it Down (SLU). Collectively, these partners are working with staff from more than 40 schools to help them become trauma-informed and institute policies and practices that support student wellness. “The District’s work in this field has grown exponentially over the past few years,” notes Megan Marietta, SLPS Manager of Social Work Services and leader of this growing effort. “We have substantial work left to do, but we are seeing the benefits of these efforts. If our students can feel safe and supported in managing their emotions, they are in a better place to learn.” Last year, the District completed a comprehensive manual for how it would work with a growing number of partners (like the St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Little Bit Foundation) which embed mental health therapists in our schools. This manual provides detailed information on referrals and complying with both HIPPA and FERPA regulations and has already been requested as a model by districts including Cleveland and Chicago.