Social and Emotional Well-Being

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Social and Emotional Well-Being

Our schools offer so much more than academics. Teachers, parents and school staff work together to help guide our children as they learn about social interactions and positive behaviors. The pandemic has caused many students to experience stress and other mental health issues that affect their overall well-being. PTAs across the country are jumping in, developing tools, resources and programs to support the social and emotional wellbeing of students.

Read the stories of these PTAs who are raising awareness about mental health and providing resources to support students and their families.

social-emotional

Bob Jones High PTSA

Madison, Ala.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for Alabama children ages 10-14, and the third leading cause of death for ages 15-24. Having lost three local students in the school system in the past two years to suicide, the PTSA at Bob Jones High in Madison, Alabama, used their grant from National PTA and GoGuardian to host a Family Mental Health Fair. Their goals for the fair were to help remove the stigma and normalize talking about mental health. The fair helped families learn who they can turn to for help in the school and community. Mental health experts were on hand to talk about issues such as teen depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, self-confidence, screen addiction, special needs parenting and much more. The PTSA distributed National PTA's Healthy Minds resources in both English and Spanish at the fair. They also worked to include the information in a digital toolkit that the school counselors created, which is accessible through a QR code. Refrigerator magnets with the QR code were distributed at the fair. Since the event, they’ve had over 2,100 visits to the toolkit. They plan to make this an annual event to keep the conversation going about mental health and available resources in the community. #HowWePTA

Bob Jones High PTSA

In their own words:
The best part was being able to help families experiencing distress due to mental health issues and connecting them with valuable resources. We were also able to strengthen relationships with community organizations that serve our school families.
—Bob Jones High PTSA



James Clemens High School PTSA

Madison, Ala.

Like so many high schools across the country, James Clemens High School in Madison, Ala., has experienced social media challenges, which pose mental health issues—and potential criminal and civil liability to our students. To help educate their students on being good digital citizens and curb inappropriate online behavior, the PTSA used their grant from National PTA and TikTok to host a Create with Kindness event, which included a student panel discussion. Students shared their experiences and had honest and thoughtful answers to questions asked during the event. The PTSA is also working with school system administrators, local law enforcement and community partners to implement a digital citizenship program. #HowWePTA

In their own words:
There is an increasing mental health impact to students due to social media. The more than we can do to bring parents, students and teachers together to talk about appropriate use of social media, the better off our society will be.
—James Clemens High PTSA

PTSA James Clemens High School



Mira Costa High School PTSA

Manhattan Beach, Calif.

After a few incidents at the school including hate graffiti drawn in the high school bathrooms, the Mira Costa High School PTSA decided to use their grant from National PTA and TikTok to host a Create with Kindness event, which included a student panel discussion. They recruited panelists from their diverse student organizations who could share their online experiences. The panel, which was led by their school psychologist, focused on how students can express themselves creatively online while also ensuring they are using online platforms productively and responsibly. The program offered ways to use kindness as a tool and students sent a kindness message to several schools in the community. It was an informative and engaging evening, and the kindness message was so powerful that several families at the middle school asked to have the panel to talk to their students. #HowWePTA

PTSA Mira Costa High

In their own words:
Our student panel answered questions from their heart, with honesty and from their personal experiences. The students really shined!
—Mira Costa High PTSA



Milton (K-8) PTA

Milton, VT.

The daily disruptions to schedules, structures and relationships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic deeply affected the mental health of the students at Milton Elementary School in Milton, Vt., which serves students in Kindergarten through eighth grade. Anxiety and loneliness were at an all-time high—and on top of that, a large part of their population was also experiencing housing insecurity, as the town’s unemployment rate was slow to return to pre-pandemic levels. To support their students, the Milton PTA used their grant from National PTA and  GoGuardian for positive behavior incentives, as their school administration shared that the kids who were suffering the most were the ones that were trying to do the right things. The incentives gave teachers and school staff the opportunity to show how much they appreciated students doing their best during an unusually difficult situation. Milton PTA also purchased outdoor recess equipment to encourage more social interaction—critically important for children after the long school closures. With the remaining funds, they developed resources for parents to help them start ongoing conversations with their children about their feelings and ways to improve their overall mental health. #HowWePTA

In their own words:
We were able to identify the needs at both the elementary and middle school level and with input from parents, students, teachers and administrators. It was great to get input from so many different viewpoints!
—Milton (K-8) PTA

Milton Elementary School



Viewmont High School PTSA

Bountiful, UT.

Student mental health was already a concern for the PTSA at Viewmont High School in Bountiful, Utah, but when a student at a neighboring school died by suicide, it was a stark reminder of the need for more mental health resources and support—especially due to the ongoing pandemic. So, the PTSA decided to hold a Wellness Week using their grant from National PTA and GoGuardian. Each day, they distributed handouts with information about different mental health issues, tips for students to proactively improve their overall mental health, and resources on where to go for help if they were in crisis (including the suicide hotline). Students were invited to send compliment cards to their friends and teachers throughout the week to brighten someone’s day, and those that sent compliment cards were entered into a drawing for a gift card. The PTSA also recognized the value of engaging families in this important topic and incorporated the PTA Healthy Minds Survey into their Wellness Week to get a sense of existing needs. They plan to use the results to empower their community with the tools and resources to make mental health an everyday priority. #HowWePTA  

Vermont High School PTSA

In their own words:
It was rewarding to see students appreciate the resources and become involved by completing compliment cards.
—Viewmont High PTSA 



Brooker Creek Elementary PTA

Tarpon Springs, FL.

When the Brooker Creek Elementary School PTA in Tarpon Springs, Fla., welcomed students back to school after COVID-19 restrictions lifted, they realized that many of their younger students had never fully experienced the school library because of distance learning. To show students the magic of the library, they used their Family Reading Experience grant money from Office Depot and National PTA to host a Read-Along event at the school during Literacy Week. The director of the local community library read a book to all the families in attendance. It was an evening full of fun as the school community reconnected after being separated for so long.  The PTA also purchased books to boost classroom libraries, giving students throughout the school the opportunity to discover new books—and a love for reading.  #HowWePTA 

In their own words:
Two younger students enjoyed the read along so much that by the end of the book, they were all laughing at the silly noises. They clearly loved the book!
—Brooker Creek Elementary School PTA

Brooker Creek PTA



Blythe Academy of Languages PTA

Greenville, SC.

Blythe Academy of Languages in Greenville, S.C. is a partial French and Spanish language immersion school, so their PTA felt it was extra critical to create a school culture and climate that welcomed all families. They installed friendly signs and messages in multiple languages throughout the campus to invite every family into the Blythe community. Given the disruptive nature of the quarantine in March of 2020, the PTA's goals evolved to include COVID-19 recovery objectives such as mental health and social emotional support. They purchased books, therapeutic toys, and supplies for the school’s counselors and guidance department. The PTA is proud to continue their School of Excellence journey to show their commitment to the school, their families, and to the immersion programs are key to Blythe Academy's mission and vision statements. #HowWePTA #PTAExcellence

Blythe Academy PTA

In their own words:
In a language immersion school like Blythe, it is critical to have traffic and location signage in multiple languages. This is not only a service to our families who speak those languages—it also shows the serious level of our commitment to our school's mission and vision statements. We are extremely grateful to our PTA for this initiative at Blythe and for their work to support our community.
—Dr. Sandra Griffin, Principal



Miami Palmetto Senior High School PTSA

Miami, FL.

With over half of their student body engaged in remote learning all year and all in-person activities and clubs canceled by the district, last year the Miami Palmetto Senior High School PTSA in Miami, Fla., ramped up their efforts to inform, educate and celebrate their school community. They prioritized maintaining a sense of community as an integral part of their students’ emotional well-being, many of whom struggled academically, emotionally and/or financially due to the isolation and uncertainty caused by the pandemic. The school’s PTSA celebrated accomplishments and retirements, and highlighted academic, athletic, artistic and philanthropic achievements of students, teachers and staff. They made sure to address any foreseeable need, such as health, nutrition, mental health, safety, academic challenges, college readiness, food and housing insecurity, and more. They also sponsored speaker programs around topics like the Black Lives Matter Movement and LGBTQ rights, because they felt these issues were important to address for the well-being of their community. Throughout the difficult year, the school’s PTSA was a constant source of pride and connection for their school. #HowWePTA #PTAExcellence

SOE_Miami_Palmetto



Canyon Rim PTA

Mesa, AZ.

Canyon Rim Elementary PTA in Mesa, Ariz., saw the world changing around them last year and shifted their focus to improving school safety. Through the School of Excellence program, the PTA took matters into their own hands and started a safety initiative on campus. They made changes to the student drop-off and pick-up process to make mornings and afternoons easier and safer; enhanced the school’s cleanliness by installing continuously self-cleaning products throughout campus; and supported mental health through outreach and free events. Parents know that safety and mental health is a key priority for Canyon Rim Elementary School, and during a year no one could have predicted, this PTA took steps to continue to care for their community and support future growth. #HowWePTA #PTAExcellence

In their own words:
We have a very diverse community at Canyon Rim, and our PTA provides something for everyone. Their dedication to our staff, students and families is incredible. The free events and community engagement this past year have been some of the best in the district, even during a pandemic.
—Canyon Rim Elementary School Administrator

How We PTA-Canyon-Rim



Wally Watkins Elementary PTA

Wylie, Texas

Concerned about the social and emotional well-being of their students as they prepared to go back into the school building after nearly six months, the PTA at Wally Watkins Elementary in Wylie, Texas, used their COVID-19 Relief Grant Funding sponsored by TikTok to purchase Calming Kits for each classroom. The kits are full of tools to help students who are feeling anxious or overwhelmed with coping skills and calming techniques that can be done right in the classroom, supporting teachers and saving a long trip to the guidance counselor or principal’s office, which can take time away from learning. #HowWePTA #PTAProud

In their own words:
We are so grateful for the funding to help support the social and emotional wellbeing of our students. There is going to be a lot of fear and anxiety about COVID when we return to school, and we are excited to be able to use those funds to help students deal with those emotions appropriately.
—Wally Watkins Assistant Principal



Windsor Elementary PTA

Orem, Utah

With a high priority placed on their student’s emotional and mental health, the Windsor Elementary PTA in Orem, Utah, partnered with school leaders to build a Wellness Room in the school with their COVID-19 Relief Grant sponsored by TikTok. When students return to school, the Wellness Room will be a calming and supportive place to learn coping skills and positive ways to express emotions, helping students to be more successful in school and in life. This is something that will have a positive impact on the school community for years to come! #HowWePTA #PTAProud

Windsor Elementary PTA

In their own words:
Through this project, we are learning so much about mental health and are grateful we can help students learn how to cope during these difficult times.



Elmont Elementary PTA

Ashland, Va.

Social and emotional wellness has always been important to the school community at Elmont Elementary School in Ashburn, Va. With the ongoing pandemic and the effects the disruptions to school and home were having on their students, the Elmont Elementary PTA used their COVID-19 Relief Fund Grant sponsored by Huntington Ingalls Industries to invest in the RULER Program, which puts emotions at the center of learning, helping students and teachers be more aware of their emotions, how they change throughout the day, and how they affect their actions. Using the program’s Mood Meter, students can recognize their emotions, put a name to what they are feeling, and learn how to move between emotions to self-regulate. The program helps children navigate their feelings, which helps them be more successful in the classroom. #HowWePTA #PTAProud

In their own words:
RULER has opened up new conversations with my child. He is talking to me about his day and the things that happened at school without me having to push him. It’s great that he now knows how to express himself like he never did before, which I’m so grateful for, especially with everything going on with the pandemic.
—Elmont ES Parent


University High School PTSA

Orlando, Fla.

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, mental health, safety, and social and emotional support were a focus for the University High School PTSA in Orlando, Fla. With students and parents feeling stress and anxiety over social isolation and distance learning, they used their COVID-19 Relief Grant sponsored by TikTok to host virtual workshops and webinars on mental health topics to help families learn ways to cope with different situations. They invited local mental health organizations and other community resources to participate in the discussions, and plan to continue offering these sessions throughout the school year. #HowWePTA #PTAProud

University High School PTSA
In their own words:
Our presentations have benefited a lot of our families. If only one life is impacted, then we consider ourselves successful.

During this pandemic, this was much needed for our community to have a parent-led organization show care and open the door for these bold conversations.”
—Kimberly Adamski, 1st Vice President, UHS PTSA



Blythe Academy of Languages PTA

Greenville, S.C.

With a high population of low-income students including those dealing with homelessness, mental health support has long been a need at Blythe Academy, a public magnet elementary school in Greenville, S.C. Using their COVID-19 Relief Grant sponsored by TikTok, the Blythe Academy PTA offered virtual parent workshops on different mental health topics including how to support students during these difficult times. They also supplied school counselors with Trauma Cards, and added a sensory path in their school, giving students the opportunity to spend a few minutes of the school day walking and jumping through the path to push through their anxiety and distractions. #HowWePTA #PTAProud

In their own words:
We are so thankful for this grant allowing us to support our kids who are facing more challenges with the move to virtual instruction and loss of community support structures. Thank you National PTA and TikTok!
—Matthew Burns, Blythe Academy PTA President

Blythe Academy



Mooneyham Elementary PTA

McKinney, Texas

When schools closed last spring, everyone at Mooneyham Elementary in McKinney, Texas, was hopeful things would soon return to normal. As the situation with COVID-19 evolved, the school community felt both anxious and excited about returning to school in the fall. Using the COVID-19 Relief Grant sponsored by TikTok, the Mooneyham Elementary PTA created Wellness Kits for every student to support their well-being when they returned to school, whether they attended in-person or virtually. #HowWePTA #PTAProud

In their own words:
We are so grateful for this grant, which has given parents and teachers the opportunity to work together to help our students cope with this new reality.
—Clemencia Cole, Mooneyham Elementary PTA Treasurer

Calming Tool Bracelet Buddy



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