Professional Development

Student Mental Health Week 2021

May 10-14, 2021

Monday, May 10, 4:00 pm
Not All Wounds are Visible: Race-Based Trauma and Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Practices

Presented by:
Dr. Rebecca Pianta is the Coordinator of Counseling and Student Support at Capistrano Unified School District, CASC Board Member, Chair of CASC Social Justice, Equity, and Anti-Racism Committee and Adjunct Professor at Concordia University.
Enrique Espinoza is a school counselor at Tustin Unified School District and a PhD Candidate at UC Riverside studying racism in K-12. He is also an adjunct instructor in the Counseling program at CSU San Bernardino. 

The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Psychological Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have declared racism a public health crisis. Manifesting as police brutality, to the separation of families at the border, to anti-Asian hate crimes, racism, both intentional and unintentional, has detrimental impacts on Communities of Color, including a disproportionate number of COVID-19 cases. In particular, racism has profound impacts on children’s and adolescent’s mental health at appalling rates. With the rise in broadcast and social media attention on acts of racism, the trauma extends much further than in previous generations. It is imperative for school counselors to understand how encounters with racism, whether direct or indirect, affect the mental health of Students of Color. This webinar will focus on understanding factors associated with race-based trauma. Moreover, the webinar will identify the symptoms of those suffering from racial trauma, which is often overlooked or misinterpreted as behavioral issues. Lastly, attendees will learn equity-centered trauma-informed practices to address the inequities and aid in the healing process for students experiencing race-based trauma.

Tuesday, May 11, 4:00 pm
Disrupting the Effects of Trauma: School-based Mental Health Supports for K-12 Students

Presented by:

Dr. Aubrey Uresti
is an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education at San José State University. She serves on the CASC Bylaws and Policy, Advocacy, and Legislation Committees. Dr. Uresti’s background as a K-12 educator, school counselor, and therapist informs her research on parental incarceration, grief and loss, and urban education.

As school-based mental health professionals, K-12 school counselors are increasingly called upon to support students and families within a trauma-informed framework. One specific area of trauma involves Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which include child abuse and maltreatment, community violence, parental incarceration, deportation of family members, mental illness or chemical dependency in the family, or death of parents/caregivers or siblings, to name just a few. While it may be impossible to prevent adversity in the lives of students, school counselors are positioned to respond with effective, evidence-based interventions that assist students effectively. Addressing ACEs in individual, group, classroom, and school-wide levels can prevent long-term effects and reduce the risk of substance abuse, depression, and suicide. This session will offer an overview of the effects of various types of ACEs on K-12 students and present creative strategies that school counselors can employ to cultivate resilience in students, increase their understanding of both internal and external resources, enhance their capacity for academic success and social/emotional well-being, and promote a healthy and adaptive school culture.

Wednesday, May 12, 4:00 pm
Voices of Students: ACLU Youth Liberty Squad Students Exploring their Thoughts and Experiences on Mental Health in the Era of Covid

Presented by:

Dr. Amir Whitaker
, Policy Attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and students from the ACLU Youth Liberty Squad

We know the pandemic has created challenges with learning and social emotional wellbeing. Now with  the transitioning from remote learning to in-person learning, mental health challenges are increasing. High school students with the ACLU Youth Liberty Squad will share current issues facing students from their personal experiences, as well as they will share findings from a recent survey completed by hundreds of California students.  Learn about students’ feelings about chronic stress and stigma surrounding mental health  that prevents many from seeking the mental health support they need.

Wednesday, May 12, 6:00 pm
Wellness Wednesday

Join Sarah Slemmons, CASC 2020 School Counselor of the Year, in a series of wellness workshops! As mental health professionals, we know we need to take care of ourselves so we can be our best for our students and communities. Join members of the CASC Outreach & Engagement Committee for a series of wellness workshops including mindfulness, yoga, glitter jars, and more! This will be an opportunity to unwind and take what you learn to implement with your school.

Thursday, May 13, 4:00 pm
Workshop for Caregivers/Parents: Understanding and Responding to your Child’s Mental Health Needs in the Time of Covid

Panel Moderated by:
Dr. Loren Dittmar is a father of four (ages 7-18 years old), a High School Counselor with over 20 years of experience, and an Adjunct Professor for CLU’s graduate programs in School Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy.  Dr. Dittmar also serves on the CASC Board of Directors and the Chair of the Emerging Leaders program. Sarah Hainsworth is an elementary  school counselor in the Corona Norco Unified School District where she has worked for 16 years. Sarah has a Pupil Personnel Service Credential in School Counseling and is also a Licenced Professional Clinical Counselor. She is a mother of two sons. Alma Lopez is an aunt of four (ages 6-11), a middle school counselor for 14 years and has served youth (ages 0-18) since 1995.  Alma is the 2021 CA School Counselor of the Year and is CASC board member and  the Chair of the Bylaws Committee.   All schools in Alma’s school district have earned National RAMP designation.

Parenting is a tough job, and it is even tougher now due to the drastic changes many children and youth have had to face over the past year due to Covid 19. The full scope of the impact of the pandemic on our youth is yet to be determined.  However, we may see our children experiencing a heightened degree of frustration, unsure of their standing academically, excessive concerns for personal and family health and safety, and uncertainty for their future. Additionally, while many children and their parents desire to return to in-person instruction, this transition may induce additional stress that needs to be managed. This free workshop is designed specifically for caregivers to explain factors related to transitioning back to in-person learning. The panel of school counseling experts will share tips and strategies on what to look for when your child is distressed and simple techniques to help de-escalate stressful situations. Space is limited, so register early.
Download a flyer that you can send directly to parents about this workshop.

Friday, May 14, 4:00 pm
Trust is the Antidote: Creating welcoming school atmospheres that allow healing and learning to happen naturally

Presented by:
Lori Woodley - CEO of All It Takes and Producer of “A Trusted Space, redirecting grief to growth” Dr. Loretta Whitson directs the California Association of School Counselors (CASC) which she founded in 2000. She earned her Ed.D. in 2014 in Organizational Leadership from the University of LaVerne. Prior to receiving her doctorate, Whitson spent over 20 years as a school district administrator and school counselor in the Monrovia Unified School District.

School counselors are the heart of every school and right now we are needed more than ever as we navigate our way back to campus. Students, staff, and families need us to be powerful catalysts for change to ensure that the emotional wellbeing of ALL students is prioritized. School counselors are in a unique position  to elevate messaging and influence programs and services. This is  a call that we need to embrace with courage, confidence, and commitment. Join us for this interactive and engaging conversation that will support you in assuming a leadership position that will ensure all your students come back to campuses that are built on trust so healing and learning can happen naturally, for all students.