Pillars of Support: How Classical Charter Schools Empower Scholars’ Mental Health

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month, At Classical Charter Schools wishes to delve into the subject from the perspective of two pivotal roles: the Dean of Students and the School Psychologist. These roles, while distinct, converge to create an inclusive support system for our scholars, addressing their academic and social-emotional well-being holistically.

The Dean’s Perspective: Structured Environments for Success

As the Dean of Students, my primary focus lies in creating an environment that fosters academic growth while providing support for emotional stability. At Classical Charter Schools, we understand the significance of implementing structured settings to enhance scholars’ mental well-being. Extensive research consistently emphasizes the importance of structured environments in promoting scholars’ mental well-being. By providing a predictable setting, we can alleviate anxiety, foster stability, and ultimately enhance scholars’ ability to learn and engage socially.

We begin each day by warmly greeting our scholars, recognizing that this morning ritual is more than just a polite interaction. It serves as an opportunity to assess each scholar’s emotional state and tailor our support accordingly. Throughout the day, we ensure predictable structures, from scheduled mealtimes to consistent behavioral expectations. This regularity serves a dual purpose: it reduces the anxiety of unpredictability for our scholars and holds our educators accountable to follow a fair and equitable behavior management system.

Our commitment to structured settings extends beyond the classroom walls. We have implemented a comprehensive Behavior Management System that ensures consistency and fairness. This system helps scholars understand the consequences of their actions, fostering a sense of security and support on their learning journey. The pinnacle of our efforts is reflected in the prestigious Blue-Ribbon award, which we have proudly received four times within our network. This distinguished honor, bestowed upon only 362 schools across the United States, signifies our dedication to exemplary teaching and learning standards. It is a national recognition of our unique and structured approach to education and mental health support.

Empowering Scholars through Character Education

A distinctive aspect of our mental health approach lies in our Character Education classes, which are specifically designed to promote social and emotional learning. These classes provide opportunities for classroom discussions surrounding real-world situations, equipping scholars with the skills to navigate challenges positively and ethically. We delve into character pillars such as trustworthiness, respect, caring, fairness, responsibility, and citizenship, arming our scholars with the tools necessary to navigate the complexities of life beyond academics. Within these classes, Classical Conversations serve as a safe platform for scholars to engage in discussions about relevant issues, express their emotions, and acquire problem-solving techniques. This interaction serves as a microcosm of societal discourse, fostering empathy, perspective-taking, and constructive dialogue – all of which are essential for emotional and social development.

The School Psychologist’s Perspective: Comprehensive Mental Health Support

As a School Psychologist, my roles intertwine to create a comprehensive mental health support system for our scholars. Our approach aligns with the broader objectives of Mental Health Awareness Month, seeking to deepen understanding, share essential resources, and affirm a powerful truth: no one walks alone on their mental health journey.

At Classical Charter Schools, we prioritize both the academic and emotional needs of our scholars. We offer various support mechanisms, including counseling services, parent mentorship initiatives, and unique programs such as Character Education and Classical Conversations. This multi-faceted approach ensures that our scholars not only succeed academically but also thrive emotionally and socially. Every day, in every way, mental health matters. Our mission is to guide our scholars on their journey, providing consistent support and a nurturing environment. We remain committed to prioritizing mental health and ensuring compassion remains at the forefront of our efforts.

In understanding the unique challenges that children face in terms of mental health, the role of the School Psychologist becomes crucial in providing comprehensive support. Our approach aims to define and prioritize mental health in children, ensuring they receive the necessary resources and assistance to thrive. At Classical Charter Schools, we have implemented various initiatives to address specific aspects of mental health for our scholars. One notable program we offer is test anxiety groups. These groups provide a supportive environment where scholars can come together, share their experiences, and learn coping strategies to manage test-related stress. By addressing test anxiety, we aim to alleviate the emotional burden that scholars may face and empower them to perform at their best academically.

Another essential aspect of our mental health support system is conflict mediation. We understand that interpersonal conflicts among scholars can have a significant impact on their overall well-being. Through conflict mediation, we work closely with scholars who are experiencing difficulties with their peers, providing a safe space for open communication and conflict resolution. This proactive approach not only helps to foster positive relationships but also contributes to improved mental health by reducing stress and promoting a supportive social environment.

Recognizing the profound impact that significant life events can have on scholars, we offer crisis counseling for those going through dramatic experiences. Our empathetic and skilled counselors provide a compassionate and non-judgmental space where scholars can express their emotions, process their experiences, and develop effective coping mechanisms. By offering this vital support during challenging times, we aim to facilitate healing and resilience, enabling scholars to navigate their personal journeys with strength and confidence.

In addition, we conduct behavior observations in the classroom as part of our commitment to a comprehensive approach to mental health support. These observations allow us to collect valuable data, monitor progress, and identify areas for improvement. By utilizing this data, we can implement targeted interventions and refine our strategies to better meet the unique needs of our scholars. Our commitment to continuous improvement ensures that our mental health support remains sophisticated, evidence-based, and effective. Our dedication to comprehensive mental health support exemplifies our commitment to our scholars’ overall well-being. By addressing mental health proactively and holistically, we create an environment that fosters academic success, emotional well-being, and personal growth. Through collaborative efforts and a wealth of resources, we strive to empower our scholars to flourish mentally, emotionally, and socially.

In summary, our comprehensive mental health support system encompasses programs such as test anxiety groups, conflict mediation, crisis counseling, and behavior observations. By addressing these specific areas, we ensure that our scholars receive the necessary support, equipping them with the tools they need to navigate life’s challenges with brilliance, resilience, and confidence.



 This post was contributed by Ms. French school psychologist and Mr. Ganaganayagam (former Dean of Students, and current Brand Strategy Manager). As a non-CMO charter network, we rely on the thoughts, opinions, and innovations of our staff to move our mission forward and provide an excellent academic option to families in the South Bronx. To hear more from our staff, check out the next post! Or, click here to learn more.

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