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Bay Village Schools: Community Connections through a Care Coordinator

Many of the districts in our region have dedicated personnel and developed initiatives to prevent substance misuse and support positive mental health. This month, we are pleased to spotlight the Bay Village School District’s efforts in promoting the mental well being of their students through the appointment of a Care Coordinator.
During the 2018-2019 school year, The Bay Village School District furthered their implementation of Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) by mapping their current social, emotional and mental supports and services in the district. The same year, the district-wide team strengthened their suicide intervention and threat assessment tools and protocols. The district partnered with a MetroHealth Child and Adolescent Psychologist who provided Tier III support and professional development for school counselors, staff and parents. During the 2020-2021 school year, with the previous foundational exploration completed, the school counselors advocated for a new comprehensive approach for supporting the needs of students and families. Megan Basel, formerly a Normandy Elementary school counselor, was offered the federally-funded Care Coordinator position for the 2021-2022 school year. According to Megan, the goal of the Care Coordinator is to “examine and understand the needs of students and families in crisis, to develop knowledge and skills in students and families accessing mental health care and to facilitate the care and support between school, home, and community providers.” Megan collaborates with a number of staff members and community partners, including MetroHealth, school psychologists, Bay Family Services, county and private mental health providers, school resource officers and the Bay Village police. 
Megan reports that one of the most rewarding aspects of her job is providing families with timely and appropriate community connections during a pivotal moment in their lives. She values the opportunity to be the district contact for families who may be overwhelmed by the myriad of community options that are available. When asked how districts can meet the challenge of creating consistency in their prevention programming, Megan stressed the importance of having a district-wide framework to support it, gathering the appropriate stakeholders for exploration and discussion, and involving staff with appropriate areas of expertise. These practices will result in consistency and longevity. 
The Student Wellness Department of the Educational Service Center of Northeast Ohio assists districts with mapping current practices and reviewing their effectiveness in addressing the mental well-being of students. This practice supports the whole child approach as advocated by the Ohio Department of Education. 
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Prevention Week (May 7-13) is a good time for reflecting on prevention efforts in your district or organization. Check out some of the links in this issue for more information and resources on prevention programming for youth. 

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