Mental health survey to gauge student wellbeing

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A mental health survey will help address the needs of students in the Point Pleasant School District. [DANIELLA HEMINGHAUS]

POINT PLEASANT — Point Pleasant School District officials are offering some clarifications regarding an upcoming survey that will be administered to gauge overall student needs and to identify individual students who may need additional support.

Parents and guardians are currently able to preview the mental health survey through the parent portal.

“According to NJ Statute, parents/guardians have the right to preview all surveys regarding mental health prior to administration. The survey will not be administered to students [subject to parent/guardian permission] until the week of March 8,” Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Susan Ladd wrote in a letter posted to the district website this week.

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“Parents will also be given the opportunity to complete the survey on behalf of their child during the week of March 8. It will be sent by email. If you don’t want to complete it, you do not have to complete it. If you do not want your child to complete it, click ‘no’. If you change your mind and want your child to complete it, please email me by Feb. 19.”

In her letter to district families, Dr. Ladd addressed the thought process behind administering the mental health survey, especially as students and families continue to deal with the impacts caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“We understand your concerns as this is something we have not done before. However, it is entirely in line with the social and emotional initiatives we have been implementing over the years. It is important to us that checking in with our students regarding their mental wellness be considered as routine as checking in on their physical health and their learning,” she wrote.

“Mental wellness impacts students’ ability to learn and develop. More and more schools are serving as a safe place for students to talk about their social and emotional needs and receive support. This survey is simply an extension of our efforts to address the holistic needs of our students and best support their development.”

The district has chosen to use the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire as it “assesses both strengths and challenges related to student behaviors.”

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