A Healthier Wisconsin

Improving Children's Mental Health in Racine County (Phase II)

Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative Phase II: Enhancing social emotional development of elementary school youth in Racine

Full Project Name:Improving Children's Mental Health through School & Community Partnerships (Phase II)Primary Community Organization:Racine County Human ServicesPrimary Academic Partner:Michelle Broaddus, PhD, Psychiatry and Behavioral MedicineAward Amount:$995,646.00
Award Date
Project Duration:60 months

Project Description Narrative:

Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative Phase II

Social emotional learning skills are linked to school achievement, however the social emotional health of students is often not systematically assessed. In the Racine Unified Schools District (RUSD), this is not systematically assessed past 4K. The next available data on social emotional health of RUSD students is collected in 7th grade, and reveal a downward trajectory in the social emotional health of youth between 4K and 7th grade. To improve behavioral health in the community, project partners have identified the social emotional health and development of young children as a priority in order to develop early interventions and policies that can have long-term, positive impacts. This project seeks to enhance the social emotional development of 3rd-5th grade elementary school students in the RUSD on the Panorama Social Emotional Learning student survey in the areas of Emotion Regulation and Social Awareness by:

  • Increasing coordination of and exposure to evidence-based opportunities to learn about social emotional development for parents of 4K-5th grade RUSD students
  • Creating a school environment that supports students' social emotional (SE) health by educating all child-serving personnel on ways to encourage SE learning interactions with RUSD youth
  • Expanding school-based activities that intentionally improve the SE health and development of elementary school students in RUSD
  • Improving coordination and pathways to mental health services for RUSD students

This project is part of AHW's Advancing Behavioral Health Initiative, an eight-year, $20 million initiative bringing together 10 community coalitions from across Wisconsin to address pressing mental health needs within their communities. The initiative is designed in three phases, providing a funded planning year, a five-year implementation period, and a two-year sustainable transformation phase.

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:

  • Supported the Racine Unified School District to implement an intentional social and emotional learning (SEL) program, SEL assessment tool, and more SEL-related training opportunities for over 750 staff, which resulted in district buy-in for the approach demonstrated by SEL time being published in the school schedule
  • Implemented the Trilogy Network of Care site to connect individuals to resources and became the first Trilogy user to implement a referral pathway to ensure access to needed services and support
  • Engaged almost 5,000 parents/caregivers to participate in social emotional development learning opportunities building towards a holistic approach where Racine County youth get the support they need at school, home, and in the community

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