Suicide Prevention, Bullying, Teen Trafficking are Hot Issues for Student Support Teams

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Provided by Prince William County Schools

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Services for students go beyond caring and nurturing; understanding trauma and behavior can maximize student performance.

If your teen experiences ups and downs moving along the sometimes rocky road of adolescence, someone is there to help; it could be a teacher, counselor, or another of the PWCS professionals whose job it is to know and understand what resources students need. These professionals—more than 500— gathered for training in August to learn the latest in youth brain research, substance abuse, and mental health, among many other issues.

Participants at the annual Office of Student Services Symposium represented front-line staff who provide direct support to students and their families, and the community to address issues related to suicide prevention, bullying prevention, teen trafficking prevention, concussion awareness, substance abuse, and mental health concerns.

School counselors, school nurses, attendance officers, school social workers, law enforcement staff, school psychologists, and AlphaBEST Education staff heard from two keynote speakers, Horacio Sanchez and Tara Brown. Sanchez addressed how to enhance the educational climate.

“Tara Brown’s message infused humor to impart the message that every positive connection we make with students is crucial to their overall well-being and academic success,” said Carolyn Custard, director of the Office of Student Services.

The PWCS Office of Student Services, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services’ Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety, and AlphaBEST Education sponsored the symposium.

Awards presented.

Chloe Burnette, a rising senior at Osbourn Park High School, received the “Spotlight on Student Success” award for her efforts to bring concussion awareness and understanding to the School Division by telling her personal concussion story through a video produced by the PWCS Office of Media Production Services.

Rachel Harvey, a member of the Healthy CommunitiesˑHealthy Youth Students Lead Team and a rising senior at Forest Park High School, introduced the keynote presenters. As a special recognition to express their appreciation to staff, students joined together to spell out “Thank You!”

“This year’s symposium was full of excitement, energy, enthusiasm and learning as we all prepared to work collaboratively to continue our support our students and families,” Custard said.

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