The graduations have been held, the report cards have been given and everyone is ready for summer vacation!
The COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible impact on society, affecting individuals on personal, academic, and societal levels. The resulting stressors have significantly impacted the mental health of students and staff alike. Recognizing the urgency of this issue, the U.S. Surgeon General recently issued a health advisory, calling upon schools and communities to take decisive action in supporting the mental well-being of students.
The increasing prevalence of challenging student behaviors and their potential consequences made this school year, a call for additional support. An alternative approach that can transform these behaviors into valuable learning opportunities with the use of behavioral intervention and connections to home, school and community.
The Consequences of Challenging Behaviors:
The ongoing pandemic has unleashed a wave of societal, personal, and academic stressors that have taken a toll on students' mental health. As a result, schools have witnessed a significant increase in reports of challenging student behaviors. These behaviors may manifest as disruptive conduct, defiance, or aggression, and can have detrimental effects on both the individuals involved and the broader learning environment. A plan to address, support, protect and provide real solutions is needed.
Disciplinary actions such as detention, suspension, expulsion, and even legal proceedings have traditionally been employed to address challenging behaviors. However, these punitive measures often exacerbate the negative outcomes for students. Stigmatization, learning loss, and potential involvement in the criminal justice system can significantly hinder a student's well-being and future prospects.
Amidst the concerning rise in challenging behaviors, it is crucial to explore alternative approaches that prioritize support and growth. One such approach involves leveraging behavioral intervention as a means to transform these behaviors into meaningful learning opportunities.
An effective framework for behavioral intervention is the Two Rules approach, which guides students through a process of self-reflection and decision-making. It encourages students to ask themselves relevant questions to gain a deeper understanding of their choices and the potential consequences they may entail. Two Rules emphasizes personal responsibility, empowering students to recognize that they have agency over their actions and to consider whether their choices contribute to the problem or the solution.
By adopting behavioral intervention strategies, schools can create an environment that fosters personal growth, empathy, and accountability. This approach encourages students to develop critical thinking skills, empathy for others, and a sense of ownership over their behaviors. It allows educators and students to address the underlying causes of challenging behaviors and provide appropriate support, ultimately nurturing students' emotional well-being and academic success.
The mental health crisis among students necessitates immediate attention and action. As we navigate the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools must prioritize the well-being of their students and staff. Adopting behavioral intervention strategies, such as the Two Rules approach, can effectively transform challenging behaviors into valuable learning opportunities. By doing so, schools can create a nurturing and supportive environment that enables students to develop essential life skills, overcome challenges, and thrive academically and emotionally. Together, we can ensure that mental health challenges in children, adolescents, and young adults are not only treatable but also preventable.
As summer vacation begins, so does the planning for the next school year! Learning never stops as we continue to learn how to better serve the staff, students and community we serve. Please know I am here willing to help you begin to address the issues you face. I choose each day to be part of the solution for each of you. My life journey, experiences and professional career provides me with the resources, tools and ability to support you need to make the 2023-2024 school year a success and each year after.