For the City Times
Marshfield Clinic in Wisconsin Rapids is located at 220 24th St. South.
MARSHFIELD – Recognizing the best intervention is early intervention, Security Health Plan of Wisconsin, Inc., part of Marshfield Clinic Health System, on Aug. 8 announced it is investing $125,000 in school-based behavioral health grants in 2017.
Security Health Plan is collaborating with Mindfield LLC, to train elementary teachers in 35 school districts within its 49-county service area to use the Behavioral, Emotional and Social Traits (b.e.s.t.) universal screening system.
“School-based behavioral health screening offers an opportunity to identify and address behavioral health issues when there’s time and opportunity to make a difference,” Marshfield Clinic Health System Vice President of Community Health & Wellness Jay Shrader said. “We’re looking forward to the opportunities these grants will provide to our communities and children.”
Developed by Eric Hartwig, Ph.D., former administrator of pupil services for the Marathon County Children with Disabilities Education Board and school psychologist, the b.e.s.t. universal screening is used to quantify behavioral observations and determine if a child needs intensive, focused attention.
“The screening identifies behavioral health in children who are successful in school and risk factors for those children who may have limited capacity functioning in the classroom because of personal/social difficulties,” Hartwig said. “Other than family, no one spends more time with students than teachers, so it’s natural to use their observations for 26 specific behaviors that are predictive of problems now or in the future and provide children with additional support.”
The screening has been used in school districts in Wisconsin and other states across the country, with 20,000 students screened over the past two years. Security Health Plan has partnered with Hartwig and Mindfield LLC, to provide the b.e.s.t. universal screening to schools since 2013. The positive results and responses have driven their continued investment.
Users of the b.e.s.t. universal screening Katie Gobler Anderson and Jim Richie, Cumberland Elementary School counselor and principal, respectively, had this to say about their experience: “This was single-handedly the best professional development on behavior our staff have experienced. We were given simple and effective approaches to improve student behavior, student achievement and classroom management. We have seen teachers gain insight into why their students behave the way they do (Dr. Hartwig said, ‘All behaviors have a purpose.’) and have watched teachers confidently approach students in a more meaningful way.”
“Success in school gives children an improved sense of wellbeing and helps them balance other life risks. The b.e.s.t. universal screening puts people together with the same information at the same time to think critically and make wise decisions about what children may need,” said Hartwig.
Security Health Plan will cover the cost of project implementation and consultation to help schools translate screening results and integrate intervention into practice.
The application period for Healthy Schools Grants is underway, with applications due by 5 p.m. on Sept. 22, 2017. The grants are for the 2017-18 school year. More information is available at www.securityhealth.org/best.