Education about more than academics these days


October 9, 2019

Education in today’s world is not only about classroom academics; other facets must be taken into consideration, whether involving sports, clubs or the overall well-being of students. The latter has become more of a focus as schools across the nation have encountered increased violence and other challenges affecting students’ overall well-being.

With our own community having undergone some serious tragedies during the last couple of years, it’s worth sharing some of the measures that have been put in place as a proactive deterrent. Sitting down with our lead mental health professional, Dr. Carlton Lewis, at our Student Success Center recently, he shared some of the activities and programs in place.

Lewis has been working with the Clovis schools for the last 16 years, drawn primarily — in his own words — to “helping people help themselves.” We have about 26 professional mental health care providers across the district as our mental health needs have grown. These include counselors and social workers, with one or both at every school site, working closely together.

“We’re the most disconnected connected society that’s ever been,” Lewis noted, “with many more opportunities for kids to be hurt. Kids talk about relationships, sometimes saying they’ve been dating for a year, but they’ve never even met the individual in person. We’re unable to truly control someone else, but we can control what we teach them so they learn self-control themselves and make sound decisions.”

Several programs are in place, some in conjunction with local civic entities; “Positive Action,” a counselor-led activity in the classroom for building positive school cultures; “Why Try?” is another, across all grade levels, to instill motivation, self-esteem, relationship and character-building, coping skills, also helping with social skills. The programs are complementary and meld well with other initiatives in place, reinforcing constructive, positive messages conveyed elsewhere.

One successful program by Mindwise is “Signs of Suicide,” covered by our mental health professionals in grades six, eight, nine, and 11 with grade-appropriate curricula designed to address all the stressors students encounter. It includes a parent portal with guidance and resources for families at home. Lewis continued, “Parents should not be afraid to have difficult conversations with their kids.”

When presenting the curriculum, the mental health providers work as a team, carefully watching and monitoring all students for any signs they’re trained to recognize. Not surprisingly, students are often relieved at the opportunity to talk openly about questions they have.

Nothing like shining a light for more clarity.

Cindy Kleyn-Kennedy is the instructional technology coordinator for Clovis Municipal Schools. She can be reached at:

[email protected]


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