Mental health is important at every stage of life and plays a critical role in shaping a child's social, emotional, and cognitive development. The most effective impact the Foundation has for our students is to support the overarching mental health resources for our district including professional development opportunities for staff along with curriculum for students.
Healthy Youth Survey Data
Every 2 years the healthy youth survey is offered to all 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students in the state. The Issaquah Schools Foundation, in partnership with Influence the Choice, works with Dr. Nathan Brown to analyze the data and present the findings to the community during the Action Forum for Youth. The Action Forum was online in 2022 and the video presentation can be found .
Youth Mental Health First Aid®
The Issaquah Schools Foundation offers ISD teachers and staff access to Youth Mental Health FIrst Aid training at no charge. Because 1 in 5 youth will experience a mental health challenge, it is crucial that adults know how to identify, understand, and respond to young people showing signs of mental health or substance use concerns. This program builds knowledge, skills, and awareness of resources to feel more equipped to support students experiencing mental health challenges.
Speakers for staff
With donor support, the Foundation funds amazing speakers such as Dr. Bella Bikowsky who provide training, resources, and skills for our district counselors, PBSES coaches, psychologists, specialists, and school based mental health counselors. In turn, these staff share the training and information with teachers and building staff. The Foundation also funds speakers related to racial issues, suicide prevention and more, helping teachers and staff to understand and know how to address issues that arise and students who may be affected by incidents at school or in our community.
Curriculum for students
Another part of the Foundation’s funding for mental health is resources for Character Strong, curriculum used at the secondary level to teach students how to promote a positive culture by teaching kindness, respect, selflessness, patience, humility, forgiveness, and honesty. Providing the resources needed for the district to offer this curriculum has great value as additional social/emotional education.
The Issaquah Schools Foundation funded the founding of the WEB (Where Everyone Belongs) program at the middle schools giving students leadership opportunities and teaching them how to make all students feel welcome in their school.
Along with ongoing curriculum, the Foundation provides funding for speakers to directly present to students on a variety of topics, the most recent one from the Center for Respect related to consent and making safe, responsible decisions. Students were very engaged and came away with knowledge and skills needed for adolescents. With donor support, we can continue to provide these opportunities for student education.
Presentations for parents
The Foundation’s funding for ParentWiser is another area where we offer resources to bring in professionals who can share information on supporting students in a variety of areas that are common challenges facing students, including: diversity, technology management, executive functioning skills, study techniques, and dealing with stress & anxiety.
With these programs, the Foundation is providing mental health resources for all district staff, directly to students, and to parents in our district, the combination of which offers vitally important information for the health of our community.
Fueling Success for Every Student, Every School