Stress Awareness Day is November 6. As part of IUSD’s Speak Up, We Care initiative, the District has compiled the following resources to remind our students and families about the importance of self-care and to seek support when needed, especially as we head into the holiday season.
While stress can serve an important purpose – alerting us to dangers, increasing our situational awareness and even motivating change – chronic stress can take its toll on our health and mental wellness. To support the wellbeing of our students, IUSD continues to invest significant resources in mental health and wellness and utilizes a comprehensive approach that is focused on behavioral, social emotional and academic supports.
Behavioral and Social Emotional
IUSD's Department of Prevention and Intervention provides behavioral and social emotional health supports for students at the elementary and secondary levels. This includes Districtwide support staff including:
- Elementary Resource Counseling
- Elementary Guidance Paraprofessionals
- Secondary Guidance – Project Success
- Secondary Guidance Paraprofessionals
- Mental Health and Wellness Specialists
- Intervention Psychologists
- Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Teacher on Special Assignment
- Irvine Family Resource Center Therapists
Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
PBIS systems are implemented on all IUSD campuses and establish student expectations for the learning and teaching environment, social culture and campus norms. PBIS is the gold standard of addressing school climate issues, it supports academic success and develops a strong school culture in which students learn early on what is expected behavior. This has proven critical in supporting students and helping them feel comfortable reporting behavior or concerns that are not in line with their school’s culture.
At the Elementary level, staff help children learn how to identify causes of their distress, develop their skills in asking for help and expressing emotions, and improve their problem-solving abilities. Many children need help dealing with the stress of school, family and other significant life events such as the death of a family member, friend, or pet, divorce or a move, trauma or a major family illness. All of these things can cause stress that might lead to problems with a child’s behavior, mood, sleep, appetite, and academic or social functioning.
At the Secondary level, staff work with students to also identify sources of stress and coping skills. Additionally, as part of Project Success, students focus on:
- Improving communication with family/peers
- Developing healthy self-esteem
- Stress management
- Emotional regulation
- Avoiding peer pressure
- Building healthy relationships
- Conflict resolution
- Academic/personal goal setting
- Study skills
- Time management and organization
- Career awareness
Other services available to students in grades 7-12 include:
- Alcohol and Drug Intervention program
- Tobacco Awareness and Cessation program
For a list of elementary and secondary mental health and wellness contacts by school site, click here.
IUSD also provides academic interventions and supports through a multi-tiered system of supports, which is a systematic process that helps schools align resources, programs, and supports to meet the needs of all students. This multi-tiered process is guided by a shared belief that all students can learn at high levels and a collective responsibility to ensure that every student is successful. Through a systematic process based on assessment and data, students are matched to increasingly intensive supports that meet their needs in all areas. This system helps students feel connected to their school culture and provides an individualized approach for each student.
Other academic supports include:
- K-6 summer school for struggling students, particularly English Language learners, low income and foster youth.
- Elementary Education Specialists to support intervention and Response to Instruction (RTI), which is a reading program that supports students by using both formative and summative assessments.
- Intellectual Risk Taking and Growth Mindset
- Naviance college and career planning program
For a comprehensive list of District mental health and wellness resources, visit iusd.org/wecare. This includes social and emotional health, the Irvine Family Resource Center, crisis intervention and response, prevention and intervention, and District mental health and wellness contacts.