Lubbock ISD rolls out pilot course addressing mental health

Local News

LUBBOCK, Texas — The new school year is just weeks away, and Lubbock Independent School District is rolling out a new pilot program that will help equip students with essential life skills.

The Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program is a weekly, 30-minute course focused on skills such as self-awareness, stress management, goal setting, interaction with others, and teamwork, according to Martha Dodge, the Social Emotional Learning Coordinator Lubbock ISD.

Eleven schools are involved in the pilot program, ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade.

“These are things everyone has to develop over the course of their life and we want to ensure every student in LISD has the opportunity to participate in this learning and develop these skills,” Dodge said. “It is really about learning how to be a part of the community in an effective way.”

The district created a four-year roll out plan to implement the program in all the schools.

The teachers follow a scripted curriculum that integrates classroom instruction and digital videos.

While the district already focused on mental health training, Dodge believes this curriculum will ensure no student is overlooked.

She also hopes the program takes these skills beyond the classroom.

“If those SEL skills are only used once a week in a class, then it doesn’t really change anything. Ultimately, SEL is about incorporating it into the school wide culture and climate,” Dodge said.

During the past few years, Dodge said the school district has seen an increase in distressed students.

“We’ve seen an increase in students with things like anxiety and depression, higher levels of stress,” Dodge said.

In addition, for schools that do not get the curriculum this year, teachers across the district will expose students to SEL so every kid has support.

“We are hoping with this intentional focus in LISD, kids will feel a sense of belonging in school, its a place they want to be and look forward to,” Dodge said. “They have adults on campus and peers who truly care about their well being.”

The schools a part of the 2019-2020 pilot program include Brown Elementary, Parsons Elementary, Centennial Elementary, Stewart Elementary, Alderson Elementary, Ervin Elementary, Hodges Elementary, OL Slaton Middle School, Cavazos Middle School, Dunbar CPA, and Lubbock High School.

FRENSHIP ISD

Throughout the year, Frenship ISD has various programs, initiatives and training sessions that focus on topics such as mental health, social skills, goal setting and responsible decision-making, according to Tiffany Taylor, the Public Information Officer for FISD.

Below are just a few examples of those programs:

  • All counselors within the District go through a Youth Mental Health First Aid training.
  • New this year, Frenship High School staff will also go through the Youth Mental Health First Aid training.
  • Crestview Elementary is in the process of rolling out a new curriculum focused on Social Emotional Learning.  
  • Frenship ISD elementary school counselors have guidance lessons with students throughout the year to discuss a wide variety of topics including building positive relationships,  conflict resolutions, and setting and achieving goals.
  • Frenship High School does the ‘To Save a Life’ suicide prevention program with all 11th graders.
  • Frenship’s 9th Grade Center does ‘Rachel’s Challenge’, a program aimed at reducing violence and bullying.

LUBBOCK COOPER ISD

Lubbock Cooper ISD is a part of the TWITR Project through Texas Tech University, said Sadie Anderson, the PIO for LCISD.

The mission “is to educate others of the importance of mental health issues in school settings, primarily at junior high and high school level,” according to the project’s Facebook page.

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