Many schools are preparing for the year to come. The challenges are significant and the opportunities to impact students are greater than ever. We are still attempting to normalize school experiences for many of our students as they have gone through the transition from COVID’s impact and the emergence from it all. As you know we have experienced a mental health crisis within our youth community that has impacted students, teachers, administrators and parents.
At Lakeside we were pleased to welcome almost 60 new staff who will be working with students who have had a number of struggles in their academic and personal lives. We provide services to approximately 6,000 students regionally either within our own schools or providing counseling to students in approximately 35 school districts. Without a great deal of support and counseling these students would be in jeopardy of not being able to continue their education for a number of reasons.
Therefore, from the first moment we encounter new staff we provide our Neurologic training which will give them knowledge and clarity about what dysregulation and regulation means for students. If a student is dysregulated they will not be able to relate to others effectively or be able to learn in school. Finding healthy ways to help students regulate is an important set of skills to learn if we are going to support them, not only in their educational journey, but also towards their health and recovery.
Many students have had severe stress responses and have chosen coping mechanisms that have temporarily made them feel better but is not a sustainable approach. Some are acting out, taking drugs, bullying, internalizing angst, wanting to physically hurt themselves or are depressed. Most of these coping mechanisms are cause by some form of adversity or trauma. Since this population of youth have some specialized needs it is important that our staff be able to understand their needs and possess the tools they need to help students overcome some difficult life obstacles.
It is exciting to start a new year. However, it is particularly exciting to envision the potential impact that our staff will have in this year to come. As we reach into thousands of lives with hope that is research-based, we believe that many lives will be positively touched by our staff, our knowledge, expertise, and our training to help our students find success.
We also find it very important to support our staff as they deal with the stress of so many students in need. Part of being trauma-informed is to provide the same support for staff that we provide for our students. They too will have to regulate their own stress responses as they experience an environment that is safe, well-trained and resonant for those we serve.
We are so pleased to engage our new staff, provide them with tools and empower them to build relationships with thousands of students who will experience a level of care that is life-changing, one that can break some of the unhealthy patterns of coping while giving them healthier ways of handling their life stressors. It is an exciting journey that begins with every school year at Lakeside. We genuinely look forward to empowered lives that can heal, recovery and grow.