Continuing Care and Connection Next School Year

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

To: Superintendents, Principals, K-12 Public Information Officers, School Counselors, Mental Health Professionals, Special Education Directors, Summer and After School Directors, Education Partners
From: Grace Bullock, Senior Mental Health Officer
Date: March 9, 2022
RE: Continuing Care and Connection Next School Year

Dear Oregon School Partners,

Thank you for all that you are doing to serve Oregon’s students and staff this school year. Creating time and space for care, connection and community has helped many of Oregon’s students and school staff feel welcome, safe and ready to learn and teach. 

We were excited to hear from you that more than 100 school districts across the state participated in the 2021-22 Care and Connection Campaign! I’ve linked to several examples at the bottom of this message of how schools used the campaign to build healthy, welcoming communities. There are many more.

Continuing Care and Connection Next School Year

As you plan for the coming school year, we want to remind you of the many resources available to you on the Care and Connection webpage including a toolkit and the popular Handle with Care tool, customizable banners, posters, media resources, and much more. There is also a toolkit designed to aid schools in supporting students and staff during transitions before and after breaks and holidays.

Stay tuned for additional ideas, tools and mental health promotion offerings to support you in continuing your Care and Connection Campaigns into the 2022-2023 school year. By promoting care and connection early into and throughout the school year and creating safe, welcoming schools, we can ensure that all staff and students experience healthy, connected communities for our students and staff.

An Amazing Start

Thank you again for demonstrating such care and connection for students and staff this school year.

Examples of Care and Connection activities districts are implementing include:

  • Wallowa School District provided “opportunities for relationship and community development, as well as student voice and leadership.” They also created mixed-level groups to engage in collaborative team building and games throughout the year. 
  • Knappa School District funded “a community connector position to act as a parent/school liaison to address affective, culture, and emotional needs of students.”
  • Parkrose School District funded “increased access to arts integration to process ideas and heal PK-12” and “provided access to resources and training for staff around healing practices for conflict and restorative practices that will include developing protocols to support both staff and students in creating a caring and compassionate school environment.”
  • Port Orford-Langlois School District created a plan which “includes partnerships with our community to provide gardening instruction during the school year as well as our summer enrichment programs. Additionally, the added outdoor spaces will allow our community to gather at the school while remaining socially distant, fostering an atmosphere of community throughout our district.”
  • Scio School District “increased our mentor/mentee (advisory) period to 5 days a week vs. once a week and developed new curriculum focused on building authentic relationships with our students. The curriculum developed has been culturally responsive and focused on social emotional learning and life outside of and after school.”

We’re excited about this effort and want to provide as much support as we can to your Care and Connection Campaign. 

If you have any questions about this effort please contact me.

Many thanks for all that you do to support the health and well-being of Oregon school communities.

Dr. B Grace Bullock
Senior Mental Health Officer