High standards for the education of today's youth are a concern at the local, state, and national levels. Not only is the focus upon increased academic excellence and career development, but also upon the social and emotional learning of students and its relationship to educational and life success. Local Pupil Services delivery must be both comprehensive and collaborative to meet these high expectations.
Comprehensive pupil services fully address the academic, career, personal/social, and mental and physical health needs and development of all students. Ensuring the services of school counseling, school nursing, school psychology, school social work, and pupil services administration are available to students and families is critical to the successful implementation of a pupil services team. These professions play a key role in helping all students grow academically, as well as socially and emotionally.
Social and emotional learning involves processes through which children and adults develop fundamental emotional and social competencies to recognize and manage emotions, develop caring and concern for others, establish positive relationships, make reasonable decisions, and handle challenging situations constructively.
Collaborative pupil services refer to how pupil services professionals work together to meet the needs of all students. Many Wisconsin school districts have moved from the traditional approach of pupil services programming with professionals from each discipline working in isolation to pupil service staff working as a team and in conjunction with teachers, administrators, parents/families, and community partners. This collaboration model increases the effectiveness of the services provided by utilizing available resources most efficiently.
The goals of a collaborative pupil services system are to:
- Increase academic achievement
- Help students become confident, caring, and contributing citizens
- Provide students with comprehensive, coordinated, integrated and customized supports that are accessible, timely, and strength-based
- Involve families, fellow students, educators, and community members as integrated partners in the provision of a supportive, respectful learning environment
- Integrate the human and financial resources of public and private agencies to create caring communities at each school
Pupil services professionals use a variety of strategies that fall into one (or more) of the following categories to help young people reach their maximum potential. They include:
- Assessment, screening, and evaluation
- Individual and small group counseling
- Home-school collaboration
- Classroom instruction
- Collaboration and partnerships with community-based systems
- Services for staff
- Program and resource development, management, and evaluation
Students come to school with a variety of academic, career, and personal/social needs that can affect their learning. Both internal and external barriers can adversely influence a child's ability to achieve success in school. Examples include acute or chronic physical or mental illness, lack of health care, hunger, poverty, abuse, challenging family situations, high rates of mobility alcohol and other drug abuse, violence, or a lack of English Language Skills. Many students in our schools have disabilities which qualify them for special education services. Others may have disabilities in medical terms, but may not meet legal criteria for special education. Students with these issues and others may struggle to benefit from the educational and career development process and, as a result, may suffer a lack of future success.
Schools are not responsible for meeting every need of their students. But when the need directly affects their learning, the pupil service team and teachers of the Kaukauna Area School District will do everything we can to meet the challenge, and do everything we can to help them succeed.