Every year, districts are given the right and responsibility to implement and deliver professional development that is authentic to their needs. Due to the comprehensiveness of youth behavioral health, staff professional development should be strategically planned and interconnected across academic years. When designing professional development for school staff that meets the definition of evidence based, district administrators should focus on all aspects of the continuum within behavioral health: promotion, prevention, intervention, treatment, and recovery.
Senate Bill (SB) 2265, introduced and passed during the 2019 North Dakota 66th Legislative Session, enhanced the existing Youth Behavioral Health professional development requirement to include current or new evidence-based behavior prevention or mitigation techniques in the category list.
North Dakota Century Code 15.1-07-34: Every two years, each school district shall provide a minimum of eight hours of professional development on youth behavioral health to elementary, middle, and high school teachers, and administrators. Each school district shall encourage ancillary and support staff to participate in the professional development. Based on the annual needs assessment of the school district, these hours must be designated from the following categories:
b. Social and emotional learning, including resiliency;
c. Suicide prevention;
e. Understanding of the prevalence and impact of youth behavioral health wellness on family structure, education, juvenile services, law enforcement, and health care and treatment providers;
f. Knowledge of behavioral health symptoms and risks;
g. Awareness of referral sources and evidence-based strategies for appropriate interventions; or
h. Other evidence-based strategies to reduce risk factors for students.
i. Current or new evidence-based behavior prevention or mitigation techniques.
Each school district shall report the professional development hours to the Department of Public Instruction using the NDDPI STARS Calendar System.
The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall collaborate with regional education associations to disseminate information, training materials, and notice of training opportunities to school districts and nonpublic schools.
Senate Bill 2149, introduced and passed during the 2019 North Dakota 66th Legislative Session, requires that each school within a district shall designate an individual as a Behavioral Health Resource Coordinator. Districts are not required to hire a person for this specific role, rather to designate an existing staff member to fulfill this role. North Dakota Century Code 15.1-07-34
The Behavioral Health Resource Coordinator role is described as the following: “The identified Behavioral Health Resource Coordinator will receive pertinent behavioral health information. Schools will locally decide how to utilize the content or resources provided.”
Senate Bill 2313 also is relevant to the Behavioral Resource Coordinator. A new subsection to section 50-06-05.1 of the North Dakota Century Code was also created this legislative session. This section of code relates to the duties of the Department of Human Services and requires the Department of Human Services to do the following: “To provide resources on mental health awareness and suicide prevention to the Behavioral Health Resource Coordinator at each school. The resources must include information on identifying warning signs, risk factors, and the availability of resources in the community.”
The goal of this work is to establish a system where resources on mental health awareness and prevention resources can be disseminated in a streamline manner to a consistent person within schools. Schools have the ultimate decision in determining that best fit for this important role and how to utilize the information and resources they receive.
Schools will be required to provide this information on the MIS03 beginning the fall of 2019.
- North Dakota Department of Health & Human Services - Behavioral Health Services - provides statewide information on behavioral health, both mental health and substance abuse.
- North Dakota Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health - A parent organization focused on the needs of children and youth with emotional, behavioral or mental disorders and their families.
- North Dakota Behavioral Health Professionals - Child or adolescent therapists in North Dakota
- Treatment Collaborative for Traumatized Youth - North Dakota agencies and clinicians lists
- North Dakota Human Service Centers
- Parents Lead - Prevention/Intervention Resources
- Youth Mental Health - UND Online Course
- Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) - Evidence-based program geared for adults who interact with youth ages 12-18
- Trauma Sensitive Schools Training: A New Perspective on Student Behavior and Learning
- Traumatized Child: The Effects of Stress, Trauma & Violence on Student Learning - UND Online Course