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NOLA-PS Participates in New Orleans City Council’s Mental Health Collaborative

Dr. Williams speaks to Districts' mental/behavioral support for school community.



(New Orleans – September 15, 2022) — NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams presented the District's four prong approach to providing key mental/behavioral health services and supports to our school family, during today's City Council's Mental Health Collaborative.


The four key areas are as follows:


Direct Support Services to Students and Families

-Office of Student Support and Attendance (OSSA) – provides individualized services for students and families in need of mental and behavioral health and for their families with the goal of removing barriers preventing them from being successful in school.

-Crisis Response – when schools face a crisis they can contact social workers within the OSSA to provide consultation, on-site support or connect them with community partners for support.

-Student Wellness Council – designed to elevate scholars' voices around mental health needs


Professional Development to School and District Staff – investing in training opportunities for school staff on how to build and embed trauma-informed practices in the school culture. This is available to all schools via train the trainer model to maximize the impact and reach that can be made by building the capacity of existing school staff such as social workers and dean's of culture, to then go train their peers.


Investments in System Wide Programming – providing funding for our following partners:

-Center for Resilience - NOLA-PS' partner in caring for our scholars who have significant mental health needs.

-The Bridge – therapy focused alternatives for our middle school scholars

-Specialized Programming - Aurora Program at Crescent City Schools


NOLA CAREs – CAREs is Community Access to Resources and Equity designed to convene the city's mental health support resources and make them known to the community. There will be a culminating event in the spring called CARE Fair to convene support services and invite families to learn about the mental health and behavioral services available to the community.


"It was incredibly moving to hear Councilman Joe Giarrusso III speak about his father's suicide and the need to raise awareness of mental health and help remove the stigma surrounding it," said Dr. Williams. "We know many of our families may be suffering from trauma and we wanted to let the community know were committed to providing wrap-around services to help scholars and families who are facing mental and behavioral challenges. It's also time we give our scholars a seat at the table to ensure their voices on this topic are heard; so, we can ultimately improve their outcomes."


Looking forward, NOLA-PS acknowledges there are challenges and possible solutions the District must address to help realize the wellbeing of our youngsters. They include:

"Today our community took a pivotal step in the right direction by convening our city's mental health partners to discuss their resources and their challenges," said Dr. Kelli Jordan, NOLA-PS Chief of School Support and Improvement Officer. "We are grateful our city, state, and federal leaders are looking to place funding and action behind the mental health need we know exists in our community."


NOLA-PS was proud to join the City's Department of Health, mental health organizations, youth organizations, and trauma and grief experts in sharing how we're all working together to take care of the mental health and wellbeing needs of our community.

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About NOLA Public Schools: NOLA Public Schools (NOLA-PS) is the public school district for Orleans Parish. It includes the district's administration and elected school board, known as the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB). NOLA-PS currently oversees 71 public schools and is led by Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams, the first woman in the District's 181 years to serve as its permanent superintendent.


For more information, visit www.nolapublicschools.com. For updates, follow NOLA Public Schools on Facebook @NOLAPublicSchools, Instagram @nolaps and Twitter @NOLAPSchools. 

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