Supporting the social and emotional wellness of our students is an important part of what we do in Worthington Schools.

One of our goals is to make sure all children in Worthington know that they have a trusted adult or many trusted adults in their schools who know and care about them and believe in their abilities to be successful.

Healthy students are more likely to achieve and thrive in school.

Worthington Schools has a comprehensive, three-tiered mental-health support system to assist all our students. In addition, our students participate in proactive programs such as family groups and anti-bullying to assist in creating a positive school culture to minimize the need for the crisis response.

The first tier of mental-health support focuses on building relationships and connections, as well as teaching skills to develop social emotional learning.

We have full-time school counselors in all our buildings.

Mentoring programs have been incorporated into all levels of education.

The school district provides teachers with training and continuing education so they can incorporate positive behavioral interventions and supports in the classroom.

Tier two targets those students at risk.

This tier allows our district to provide an extra boost of positive connections and prevent additional or escalated concerns. School counselors are able to provide small-group counseling, as well as one-on-one check-ins with select students.

Our district has a partnership with North Community Counseling to provide prevention services for small groups and referred students. We also help to link families and students with outside agencies.

Our third tier services those students with specific social/emotional/mental health needs.

This includes specialized plans, individual support and crisis response.

We have specific staff to meet the needs of all our students. Worthington has seven mental-health specialists supporting our buildings, pre-kindergarten through high school. Each high school has a mental-health specialist fulltime. In addition, we have mental-health specialists who provide support to both our middle school and elementary schools. We ensure that there is a specialist in each elementary school building on a weekly basis.

For our families, Worthington Schools, in partnership with Drug Safe Worthington, is offering a speaker series on topics centered on mental health, substance abuse, addiction, digital wellness and safety, as well as the latest trends involving the schools and our community. It's a great opportunity for residents to come together to listen to experts and learn how we can address these challenges in our homes and community.

Through staffing, assessments, staff education and special programs, we have a focused effort to social and emotional needs of our students. By providing a safe and inclusive environment at school, our students are able to focus on their educational goals and aspirations.

Trent Bowers is superintendent of Worthington Schools. Contact him by email at tbowers@wscloud.org.