Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $30,749)
In 2018, the Bangor School Department in Bangor, Maine applied for and was awarded a STOP grant that was used to increase protective factors against violence for all K-12 students through social-emotional learning (SEL) delivered to students in the classroom. Data of behavior incidents in the schools collected prior to and during the pandemic, including bullying, physical aggression, illicit drug related behavior, and alcohol-related incidents, indicate that there is a group of students with behavior challenges that require more individualized attention than generalized SEL lessons can deliver. In addition, students and staff at Bangor High School have grieved over four student suicides since 2015.
To address the mental health needs of students, the Bangor School Department has had Behavioral Intervention Teams (BITs) in place for many years at Bangor High School, James F. Doughty Middle School, and William S. Cohen Middle School. The BITs consist of the school guidance counselor, school social worker, principal, assistant principal, and department heads. The teams meet regularly to identify students with absences, students who are delinquent with schoolwork or homework, or students exhibiting signs of stress or anxiety, and discuss and implement caring intervention plans for the identified students.
This proposal is to enhance the effectiveness of the BITs through best practices training in behavioral intervention, case management, and mental health through a sustainable “train the trainer” model.