Mental Health Assistance Allocation Plan:  Description of the charter school’s planned evidence-based mental health services for children.

Provision of mental health assessment, diagnosis, intervention, treatment and recovery services to students with one or more mental health or co-occurring substance abuse diagnoses and students at high risk of such diagnoses:

At SSA, the school’s mission is to provide a comprehensive social/emotional learning curriculum to all students that addresses the academic and social/emotional development of all students. The classroom teacher spends at least 6 weeks delivering developmental lessons that focus on character building while also addressing mental health topics like cooperation, honesty, assertion, responsibility, gratitude, empathy and self-control. We also collaborate with local organizations and bring in representatives to speak to our students about internet safety, bullying, dating violence, and positive relationships.

SSA supports our students and families through many different modes of support, including Tier I and Tier II Response to Intervention strategies (RTI) and a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS). Students of concern are referred to the School-wide Support Team (SWST), which meets monthly to discuss students of concern and develop/implement academic and social-emotions interventions. The RTI process and interventions are managed by the ESE Liaison and Assistant Principals. 

We have created a Threat and Mental Health Assessment Team that includes: 

  • School Administrators
  • School Safety Liaison & Officers
  • ESE Liaison & Gifted Teachers
  • Clinic Aide and County Health Nurse (as appropriate)

As needed, contracted services and evaluations, treatment, and rehabilitation will occur, as provided by the following: 

  • Licensed Social Worker 
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor 

For the 2020/21 school year, SSA will contract with a LMHC (licensed mental health counselor) for the following additional services as needed: 

  • Mental Health Assessments 
  • Mental Health Diagnosis and Evaluations
  • Counseling and Treatment Plans
  • Weekly Counseling and Treatment for students (on site)

Additionally, we have contracted with licensed mental health counselors for students who are demonstrating a need for more intensive interventions and need a treatment plan that is managed by mental health professionals. Students who are referred for mental health services participate in a mental health comprehensive intake process, including parental/family involvement and participation, and possibly coordination with physicians, psychiatrists and other medical providers. 

Coordination of services with a student’s primary care provider and other mental health providers caring for the student:

Mental health screenings and assessments will take place when there is a report of self-injury, suicidal ideation, and potential threat assessments. Other scenarios include a student at risk of harming others, experiencing severe anger, hallucinating, and/or having a mental breakdown. Once a student of concern is identified, the school administration screens the student by using the “assessment worksheet.” A parent is immediately contacted and a ‘duty to inform’ letter is completed with specific details of the incident and sent to the parent/guardian. If the scenario is considered “low risk,” a safety plan is completed with the student and administrator. If the scenario is moderate to high risk, the police department is contacted. The police officer will determine whether the student needs to be placed under a Baker Act. If the student is placed under Baker Act, the parent/guardian is notified of the events after the police assessment and determination. 

In compliance with the Margorie Stoneham Douglas High School Public Safety Act, SSA has created a threat assessment team that will employ evaluations, assessments, and treatment for students that may be at risk or pose a threat to others.  Individualized intervention, as part of the mental health treatment plan, created by the LCSW will be employed following an evaluation within 24 hours of the threat.  If the evaluation does not occur the day of the possible threat report, the student will be removed from the school until the evaluation takes place, within the 24-hour deadline.  Law enforcement will be contacted, as appropriate. 

The mental health evaluation and treatment plan will be sent to the student’s primary care provider as well as their mental health provider, if they have one.

If the student does not have a mental health provider, counseling services, as outlined in the mental health treatment plan, will be provided, at the school, to no cost for the family, and contracted through a LCSW (licensed clinical social worker) or LMHC (licensed mental health counselor).

The referral process will follow the Response to Intervention guidelines which include: 

  • Monthly Grade Level Team Meetings to discuss students of concern. Mental Health First Aid professional development will be provided by Centerstone Child Trauma Services on August 5, 2020– Youth Mental Health First Aid Training provider to all staff members. Staff members will gain knowledge of signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illnesses and addictions and will learn strategies for how to help someone in emergency situations and where to turn for help. Mental Health First Aid USA is listed in the Substance and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. This professional development supports the Florida AWARE Program Model to increase awareness, identification, and access to mental health services and supports with a multi-tiered framework. https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org 
  • Monthly Grade level Schoolwide Support Team Meetings will discuss all shared students of concern and will develop supports to assist them. 
    • Using the research-based response to intervention model, as provided by the American Institutes for Research (AIR). https://rti4success.org/ 
  • Threat Assessment and Mental Health Team will discuss students of concern and contract for evaluations, assessments, and treatment plans. 
    • Our school will implement a multitiered system of supports ranging from intensive individual counseling to targeted at risk students in small groups that have social/emotional needs. The American School Counselor Association states, “By allowing individuals to develop insights into themselves and others, group counseling makes it possible for more students to achieve healthier personal adjustments, cope with stress of a rapidly changing and complex environment and learn to communicate and cooperate with others.” The group curriculum will be evidence based while also being goal focused and run by a licensed mental health counselor or licensed clinical social worker. https://www.schoolcounselor.org/asca/media/asca/PositionStatements/...
  • CARE meetings will then be scheduled to review diagnoses and for those students requiring long-term services. 

Direct employment of service providers or a contract-based collaborative effort or partnership with one or more local community mental health program, agencies or providers:

There are many ways to identify students in need of mental health interventions. The administration meets with 5th grade teachers to discuss “at risk” students from the elementary school that will require counseling services when they enter our middle school. Lastly, at risk students are referred by teachers, administrators, peers, parents, and concerned community members.  

Our school has community partnerships with the following providers to provide universal interventions: 

  • Jewish Family and Children Services (JFCS) for individual counseling.
  • YMCA for individual and group counseling. 
  • SPARCC (Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center) for universal prevention of unhealthy and abusive relationships.  Gender roles, social media, internet safety, bullying, bystanders, upstanders, and healthy self-image is presented.
  • Child Protection Center for universal prevention of gender roles, social media, internet safety, bullying, bystanders, upstanders, and healthy self-image is presented.
  • Centerstone

Outcome Data 

Treatment plan effectiveness will be evaluated by the threat assessment and mental health team to ensure that the services provided to students are effective and appropriate.  

Early Warning System Indicators will be reviewed and evaluated yearly to show decreases in suspension and failure measures. 

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey results will be reviewed and compared yearly to show decreases in risk behaviors and substance abuse.

State how the plan will establish school board policies and procedures for all schools, including charter schools to ensure:

The monthly recommendations from the SWST and all teacher referrals for screening of individual students are brought to the SWST facilitator, assistant principals at both the elementary and middle school.  The SWST facilitator works from the referrals with the contracted mental health providers to ensure assessment for screening takes place within a 15 day period.  All services for mental health services are initiated with 15 days of identification and assessment.  Referrals and screening activity are documented and placed in the cumulative folder of the referred student

Suncoast Academy follows district policy and asks enrolling families to indicate if their student has any mental health concerns or conditions.  This information is reviewed by the administration and reach out, when needed, to gain further details about the concern or condition.  Administration then meet with the teachers, mental health providers, and other staff as needed to monitor the student and create a plan as needed or necessary.

Identify strategies to: 

Improve the early identification of social, emotional or behavioral problems or substance abuse disorders; 

• Fortify app to allow all students and teachers to report concerns 

• Observations 

• Parent/Teacher Conferences 

• YMHFA Training - Teaching staff to identify signs 

• Teacher, staff, parent, student, and community member referrals 

• Crisis Text Line 

• Small Group Counseling 


 

Improve the provision of early intervention services: 

• Fortify app to allow all students and teachers to report concerns 

• Mental Health Therapist in schools 

• Counseling groups with at-risk students 

• Intake on parent registration form of mental health concerns 


 

Assist students dealing with trauma and violence: trauma informed care: 

• Help children manage their feelings by teaching and modeling effective coping strategies 

• Answer children's questions related to the traumatic event(s) in honest, developmentally appropriate language and terms 

• Create clear and concrete safety plans with the child 

• Engage them in activities that stimulate the mind and body 

• Maintain usual routines 

• Watch for changes in behaviors and report to a qualified/trained expert in the field 

• Allow children to tell the story of the trauma they experienced, as they see it 

• Respond calmly and compassionately, but without displaying shock or judgment 

• Set boundaries and limits with consistency and patience 

• Give them choices to regain a sense of control 

• Provide children who are acting out with opportunities to redirect their energy in a helpful way such as giving them additional responsibilities or leadership roles 

• Implement Family Therapy and Positive Parenting Strategies 


 

School-based professionals can assist students dealing with trauma and violence by: 

• Follow the school's reporting procedures if there is suspected abuse 

• If the child is not eligible for special education, consider making individualized accommodations to academic work until the trauma has been sufficiently addressed (might consider including these in a 504 plan). School staff utilizing strategies learned through “Trauma Informed Care” training 

Program Implementation and Outcomes:

Number of students screened/assessed, referred for services, receive services/assistance (school-based and community):  Due to the daily reinforcement of mental health in the classroom during the first 20 minutes of the day using Responsive Classroom philosophy, the referral to mental health services is addressed by those in need of more in depth servicing.  

  • For SY 2019/20, one percent of students were screened, assessed, or referred for services. 
  • For SY 2020/21, with the pandemic and other factors being assessed, we expect this number to increase by 1 to 2 percent of students. 

Number and credentials of mental health services providers employed by the school:

  • Lora Aviles, LCSW– Lifehouse Counseling  941-375-2585 is contracted to work with students weekly.
  • All mental health service providers will be contracted, as needed, on an individualized basis.

Number and credentials of mental health services providers contracted by the school:

  • Tim Redman, Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist 941-650-5963
  • LCSW– Eagles Wings Counseling Center, LLC 941-822-0361 
  • LMHC – Eagles Wings Counseling Center, LLC 941-822-0361
  • Marilyn Reynolds, Licensed School Psychologist, 941-202-6746

Expenditures:

Description of expenditures using Mental Health Assistance Allocation, noting that 90% of allocation will be used to direct mental health services or coordination of such services with primary care and mental health providers:

  • 90% of the mental health allocation will be used for direct services for students. 
  • In addition, to build capacity, the mental health assistance allocation will provide professional development (Responsive Classroom) for faculty and staff and the Mental Health First Aid training for the 2020/21 school year. This is a universal intervention for at risk youth. 

Assurance that the Mental Health Assistance Allocation does not supplant other funding sources OR increase salaries or provide staff bonuses:

  • SSA will maintain fidelity to the Mental Health Plan and Assistance Allocation funding rules.  We will NOT supplant other funding source, increase salaries, or provide bonuses.  All services provided by this funding will be new direct services, at risk youth group services, evaluations, and professional development. 

Description of how the school will maximize the use of other sources of funding to provide school-based mental health services, where appropriate (e.g., Medicaid reimbursement, 3rd party payments, grants):

Other funding sources include, but are not limited to General Revenue finds, Title IV, Title I, and the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) grant. In addition, the school will seek out grant funding when appropriate and available. 

Describe a system for tracking the number of students at high risk for mental health or co-occurring substance abuse disorders who received mental health screenings or assessments; the number of students referred to school-based mental health services providers; the number of students referred to community-based mental health services providers; the number of students who received school- based interventions, services or assistance; and the number of students who received community-based interventions, services or assistance. 

Data monitoring and tracking are part of the SWST process. Data collection is implemented via SWST notes, which are completed for students discussed and referred for counseling services. In addition, Duty to Warn and Threat Assessments are documents in the Student Information System (SIS). Spreadsheets are maintained for student referred for Mental Health Counseling and all students receiving in-house mental health services. Any full psychological evaluations completed by the contracted school psychologist will be placed in the student’s cumulative file and a copy will be provided to the parent/guardian. 

The SWST facilitator is responsible for: 

• The number of students referred to school-based mental health services 

• The number of students referred to community based mental health service providers 

• The number of students who receive school-based interventions, services, and assistance