Teaming up for schools | UCSB current


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Research shows that by the time they turn 18, more than a third of children and adolescents meet the criteria for a psychiatric disorder. However, only a small percentage of students with mental health issues receive the essential special education services they need, in large part due to a lack of qualified professionals.

Recognizing the critical need for more and better prepared academics in this field, the US Department of Education has awarded a $ 2.7 million grant to UC Santa Barbara and Boston University to fully fund a cohort of nine doctoral students: three in school psychology and three in specialization. education at UCSB and three in special education at BU.

The project is officially known as TEAMS: Collaboration to Train Specialists in Special Education and School Psychology to Promote Equity in the Study of Student Mental Health: A Leadership Preparation Program in Special Education.

“The TEAMS project encompasses a large part of our core mission,” said Jeffrey Milem, President of Dean Jules Zimmer of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. “Thanks to this grant, we will train leaders who will help build equitable communities. It will also help us transform school systems to better serve vulnerable populations, as we collaborate with interdisciplinary partners to conduct impactful, respectful, equity-serving and community-engaged service and research.

Special educators and school psychologists play a critical role in meeting the mental health needs of all students, especially because schools are the places where students are most likely to receive mental health interventions. Unfortunately, schools are simply unable to provide what these students need. The National Association of School Psychologists recommends a ratio of one school psychologist per 500 students in order to provide comprehensive school psychological services. Current data estimates a national ratio of 1: 1211.

Academic support for student mental health requires educators to be well prepared to use evidence-based interventions to support students’ social, emotional, and behavioral development and to prevent the development of emotional / behavioral disorders.

The TEAMS project will prepare leaders in special education and school psychology with a wide and broad range of services and research, including assessment and intervention related to the social, emotional and mental health needs of students; ecological systems serving culturally, linguistically and racially diverse students with emotional / behavioral disorders; methods to generate new research related to students with emotional / behavioral disorders; methods of preparing various teachers for special education; and school psychologists to collaborate in interdisciplinary teams.

“This project includes extensive interdisciplinary collaboration between colleagues at UCSB from the Department of Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology, and the Department of Education, in addition to collaborations with colleagues from the Wheelock College of Education and Human Development at the Boston University, “said Shane Jimerson, professor and principal researcher at UCSB. “The research and future faculty that will emerge from this collaboration will help advance equity and transform mental health supports for children of diverse cultures and languages. ”

Project TEAMS will fully fund the students for the duration of their doctoral studies and provide them with travel materials and funds. In addition, doctoral students from Boston University and UCSB will travel to visit other sites, visit schools and collaborate with professors and students. The nine students will begin their doctoral work – the program is particularly interested in accepting applicants who have already obtained their masters – in the fall of 2022, and therefore must apply to the Gevirtz School at UCSB or Wheelock College at the Boston University now.

Jennifer Grief Green, IP at Boston University and alumnus of UCSB’s Department of Counseling, Clinical and Academic Psychology, noted that the program will support the most vulnerable students.

“We are specifically focused,” she said, “on research that emphasizes equity and inclusion of culturally, linguistically and racially minority students who are most affected by systemic and racial trauma. , are disproportionately represented in receiving special education services and are less likely to receive needed mental health services.

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