How will Delbarton ensure it supports students’ social and emotional well-being?
- This year Delbarton will launch the Freshman Advisory Program, the purpose of which is to facilitate the successful transition of 9th grade students into the upper school by fostering meaningful interpersonal connection and a sense of belonging to the Delbarton community. Working through the lens of the Hallmarks of a Benedictine School, the advisory program will promote social and emotional skill development as a means of strengthening relationships with oneself and others. Individual and group advisory meetings will focus on developing interpersonal and communication skills, including empathetic listening and conflict resolution skills, and fostering a strong work ethic, self-advocacy, goal-setting, a resilient mindset, and self-discipline.
- Dr. Matthew D’Urso, a licensed clinical psychologist, is available 24/7 via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or work cell: (973) 224-5983 to provide student counseling and parent consultation. Appointments for in-person or telehealth counseling or consultation sessions may be arranged via Dr. D’Urso’s booking page. Dr. D’Urso can provide referrals for individuals who need targeted support as well as access to community mental health professionals.
- Guidance counselors have adequate space to conduct in-office confidential sessions while maintaining social distancing requirements.
- Given the potential impact of a traumatic event such as COVID-19, during individual and group meetings with students guidance counselors will informally assess student functioning. In addition, counselors will promote strategies that work to increase their positive habits (e.g., social connections, self-care strategies) and decrease negative responses (e.g., frustration, anxiety).
- Guidance counselors will facilitate regular grade-level meetings in collaboration with Dr. D’Urso to allow students to collectively process their experience. These meetings will occur multiple times during the reentry period and will continue virtually if additional school closures occur.
- Continuous review by guidance counselors will be conducted to identify and provide supports to students perhaps at higher risk for significant stress or trauma from COVID-19. This will involve conducting psychological triage to determine who needs crisis intervention support through a review of available data about students. Data will include those experiencing death or loss of someone close to them; those with significant disruption to home life such as financial insecurity; those with a history of trauma and chronic stress or other pre-existing mental health problems; and those with exposure to adverse life experiences. All Delbarton guidance counselors are certified via the Youth Mental Health First Aid program (YMHFA), an evidenced-based training program for those working with adolescents. YMHFA certification indicates that an individual has been trained in common mental health challenges for youth, typical adolescent development, and action plans for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.
- Consideration has been made as to the impact of masks on the ability to read emotions and facial expressions, follow speech, and generally participate and focus on academics. Counselors and teachers will continuously assess the additional impact on students with disabilities, including those with physical disabilities or those who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have other auditory impairments. Faculty training focused on teaching modifications for vulnerable students will be provided prior to the start of the school year.
- Surveys of students and parents will be conducted regularly to assess academic needs and social and emotional well-being and direct intervention efforts.
- Additional guidance and psychoeducation regarding COVID-19 and its multi-dimensional impact on our students, families, and faculty will be provided throughout the year.