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Compassionate School Practices

Compassionate School Practices
Fostering Children's Mental Health and Well-Being

  • Christine Mason - Founder and Executive Director, Center for Educational Improvement
  • Dana Asby - Director of Innovation & Research Support, Center for Educational Improvement
  • Meghan Wenzel - Researcher, Center for Educational Improvement
  • Katherine T. Volk - Senior Advisor, C4 Innovates
  • Martha Staeheli - Yale School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry
Additional resources:

March 2021 | 296 pages | Corwin
Already Ready For What Will Come - SEL For A Culture Of Care

Is your school prepared to care for all of the students, staff, and families in your community? Sadly, your school might be the only point of care for many. Be already ready--Establish a compassionate cultural foundation for strong relationships and holistic skills to weather stress, trauma, and promote well-being for your entire school population.

Help your school or district use available resources to create a compassionate culture of justice and care for all by leaning into this book’s approach to leadership and social emotional learning. Discover a collaborative visioning process to elevate compassion through dialogue, policies, and protocol. Readers will find:
  • Practical strategies for working with parents and communities
  • Activities for the whole school
  • An implementation framework for elementary, middle, and high school
  • Deeper understanding of trauma, ACEs, and mental health concerns
  • Support for teachers’ mental health
  • What not to do – practices that don’t work, and why
  • In-depth case studies and vignettes

Read this and usher in transformational and compassionate change that may be the difference in whatever today, tomorrow, or the next day may bring.
Online Resources
Why Is This Book Important Now?

Who Should Read This Book?

What Will I Be Able to Do Once I Finish This Book?

Acronym Guide

Why Is This Book Important Outside of New England and the United States?

A Framework for Cultivating Well-Being in Schools

Key Principles

About the Authors
Part 1: Needs and Approaches
Chapter 1. The Why? What? and How?
I. WHY Is a Focus on Children’s Mental Health and Well-Being So Critical Right Now?

Educators as Protective Factors

Why Are Teachers and Schools Not Better Prepared?

Risk Factors Influencing the Increase in Behavioral and Emotional Challenges

The Influence of Trauma on Mental Health

Equity Issues in Access to Mental Health Support and Advocacy

When a Crisis Strikes

II. WHAT Do We Need?

III. HOW Can We Approach Mental Health in Schools?

Partnerships for Building Student Mental Health and Well-Being

Implementation of Heart Centered Learning (HCL) in New England

The Power of Community-Based Approaches

Chapter 2. Best Practices for a Healthy School Climate and School Culture
How Can Schools Improve Children’s Well-Being?

A Model for School Cultures That Foster Mental Health

The Five Cs of Heart Centered Learning: Strategies to Take a Schoolwide Approach to Supporting Staff and Student Well-Being

The Five Cs

Using Heart Centered Learning to Build Compassionate School Communities in New England Through Visioning

Chapter 3. Tiered Systems and Mental Health Screening
Learning From History

ACES and Social Emotional Learning

The Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports

Universal Screening in Schools

How Are We Screening and Why?

Potential Issues in Screening

More on the Tiers of Systems of Supports

Following Up and Fostering a Support System

Chapter 4. Considerations for Staff Mental Health and Well-Being
Uncertainty and Isolation

Staff Stress and Trauma Are at an All-Time High

What Stressors Are Unique to Educators?

Teacher Attrition Is at an All-Time High

The Relationship Between Student Trauma and Teacher Stress

Understanding Current Needs and Concerns

Practical Solutions to Improve Educator Mental Health and Well-Being

A Schoolwide Approach to Foster Well-Being

Part 2: Leadership
Chapter 5. Adaptive Leadership Within the Childhood-Trauma Learning Collaborative
Resiliency and Finding Hope

Leading in a Time of Fear and Uncertainty

Action Informed by Assessment

The Importance of Professional Development

What Is Effective School Leadership?

Characteristics of Transformational School Leaders

School Leaders as Change Agents

Evolving Leadership: Being Inclusive and Visionary

Transactional School Leadership Management Practices

Balancing Transformational and Transactional Leadership

Adaptive Leadership

Chapter 6. Caring and Competent Leadership for Children’s Mental Health and Well-Being
Understanding Our Vulnerabilities: Leading With Care, Love, and Acceptance

Three Overlapping Lenses to Develop Positive School Leadership and Improve Children’s Well-Being

Caring School Leadership

Heart Centered Mindful School Leadership

Addressing Mental Health Concerns With the Compassionate School Mental Health Model

School Safety

Principals Set Policies and Protocols

Self-Care Exercises

Part 3: Child and Family Supports
Chapter 7. Belonging and Building Community
The Drive to Belong

Belonging: A Psychological Need

Finding that One Caring Adult

School and Agency Collaboration

Key Players

Wraparound Services

Strategies for Getting Started

Chapter 8. How Schools Can Help Families
A Sense of Urgency

Communication Is a Two-Way Street

Increasing Mental Health Literacy

Cultural Considerations

When a Mental Health Diagnosis Is Part of the Equation

Home School Collaboration

The Transmission of Trauma

Working to Heal Intergenerational Trauma by Cultivating Compassionate School Communities

Offering Parent Education to Foster Compassionate Parenting

Parent Teacher Associations: A Network Made to Partner With Schools

Reflections on Strengthening Mental Health and Well-Being: Leverage Parent Resources to Fulfill Needs, Wants, and Dreams

Part 4: The Future
Chapter 9. Reaching Our Destiny—Overcoming Challenges and Moving Forward
Our Encounter With Destiny

Time for Reflection Allows for Visioning



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ISBN: 9781071820490