Daviess Co. teachers attend mental health summit, gain tools to support students

OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) – The ‘Umbrella Project: Rise up and Empower all’ summit was held at the Owensboro convention center Tuesday afternoon.

Roughly 700 teachers gathered at the summit to learn how to support student’s mental health and behavioral needs.

”This is an opportunity to destigmatize mental health,” district social worker for Daviess County Public Schools, Christina Dalton said.

Apollo High School freshman teacher, Langley Roby attended the summit for the second time this year.

Roby said she got to see her students in a different light after returning from virtual learning for the 2021-2022 school year.

“Last year coming back to school really for the first time in two years with students in person, it was the perfect jump start to recognizing the fact that kids have been through a lot through the pandemic,” said Roby.

School officials say the project’s intent is to prepare teachers to help students build resiliency and awareness.

“They teach us regulation activities for the kids, ways to make calming environments in our classrooms,” said Langley.

A series of guest speakers from across the country also attended Tuesday’s summit.

According to Dalton, she and a large team, including the DCPS central office staff, counselors, and mental health team came together to plan the event.

Dalton said the lessons and activities taken from the summit can be used in the classroom.

“We wanted to bring in people that when they leave that they would have just tons of strategies and tools that they could immediately go use when school started,” said Dalton.

Prior to the pandemic, discussing mental health in schools was left to the responsibility of school counselors and social workers; the social effects of Covid-19 made a new normal for mental health conversations.

“Mental health is so important and I think what happened with Covid shined a light on people who have the most amazing coping skills were not okay,” said Dalton.

Teachers and administrators say they are continuing to make space for mental health conversations and safe spaces in Daviess County.

The first day of school for the district is August 10.

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