OKCPS Focusing On Mental Health For Students This School Year


Tuesday, September 1st 2020, 4:41 am



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Oklahoma City Public Schools officials said some students will learn social and emotional skills virtually.

“Our elementary counselors have been working for the past month on recording and preparing these lessons,” said Dr. Ken Elliot, the OKCPS Mental Health Director.

Once a week, students will get 15 to 20 minute virtual lessons covering a wide range of topics like the power of self-talk, empathy, and showing compassion for others.

Dr. Elliot said teachers will be able to follow up and continue to implement the lessons throughout the week.

The doctor said students aren’t the only ones that will need extra emotional help this year. That’s why the district is providing virtual support for families and changing their schedules to support working parents.

“A couple of nights a week, they’re going to have hours open until 7 or 8 at night,” said Dr. Elliot. “So, when parents get home and they need that helping hand and they need that support, they can get that support from their school counselor.”

Oklahoma City Public Schools also offers a phone line, 587-FEEL. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Dr. Elliot said since the phone number went live a few months ago, licensed mental health professionals, who know the district inside and out, are getting calls from students, parents, and staff.

"And we’re going to keep going as long as we’re doing virtual only schools,” said Dr. Elliot. “But we’re ethically and morally committed to making a difference with the social/emotional learning.”

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