Garden Grove Unified School District has expanded its mental health resources to provide greater social emotional support for all students.
New in the 2018-2019 school year, GGUSD expanded its ASPIRE social work program from five schools to fifteen schools. Last year, GGUSD contracted with one social worker and five social work interns to provide site-based mental health services for high need schools. The program experienced such success that GGUSD increased its number of school social workers to three and the number of interns to 10. The GGUSD ASPIRE team will be supporting students’ well-being by providing prevention, counseling and case management services to 15 schools.
The social work program is one of many mental health services offered through the district’s Department of Special Education and Student Services. All GGUSD schools have access to at least two to three hours of counseling per week by a credentialed GGUSD school psychologist thanks to an increase in the total number of school psychologists from 23 to 39, which provides a stronger network of mental health care for GGUSD students. In addition, each GGUSD school has at least 10 hours of direct counseling hours that, district-wide, equate to more than 23,000 hours. These hours are provided through strong partnerships that GGUSD has with four contracted community-based organizations.
Over the last several years, GGUSD has placed a targeted focus on creating positive school climates within our schools. While all schools provide a safe and supportive learning environment, 35 schools have implemented Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS). PBIS helps staff and students by using proactive strategies to promote positive school wide behavior.
Additionally, 14 schools implemented programs that directly teach students social-emotional skills. One such program is classroom mindfulness, which teaches students resiliency and self-regulation. Four schools also are using restorative practices through community classroom circles to build positive relationships and increase classroom engagement.
GGUSD serves most of Garden Grove and portions of Santa Ana, Anaheim, Westminster, Cypress, Stanton, and Fountain Valley.