The Bethpage Union Free School District held its Wellness Night: A K-12 Parent Academy on Jan. 18 at Bethpage High School. The evening was open to all Bethpage parents of K-12 students. The event featured informative presentations and a variety of booths from community organizations for parents to visit.
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction Michael Spence, Executive Director of PPS and Special Education Lisa Lucchesi and Director of Guidance Thomas Kenny coordinated the community event. Parents took their seats in the high school auditorium where Superintendent of Schools David Schneider welcomed them and spoke about the importance of focusing on student wellness, especially after a global pandemic.
“This world of wellness is something that we’ve been working on prior to the pandemic,” said Mr. Schneider. “The pandemic only exacerbated it even further. We’ve been working within our team and outside with resources to help understand the best ways to support your children. Tonight, is one of those nights that we help explain some of that and provide some of those resources to you so that you can help your children as well. The school and community partnership is vital to your children’s success.”
He then introduced Dr. Carol Oris, child psychologist, who presented on how to help students overcome mental health challenges. She educated parents on the obstacles that children face today, common warning signs for anxiety and depression, the importance of protective factors, how to build a child’s resilience and more.
The second presentation of the evening was hosted by Dr. Vera Feurer and Gina-Marie Bounds from Northwell Health. Both part of the Northwell School Based Mental Health Administration Team, they spoke to parents about the Bethpage Union Free School District’s new partnership with Northwell Health’s Behavioral Health Center. Starting on Feb. 1, this partnership will help students and families get the care they need in a timely manner without going to an emergency room. Aside from the supports in school from pupil personnel staff, a student who is in crisis can utilize Northwell Health’s Behavioral Health Center in Mineola to create a care plan, receive referrals, connect with providers and more. Northwell Health will also provide professional development for Bethpage staff, a training program for high school students, newsletters, and education forums for the community.
After the informative presentation, parents were welcome to attend one more session based on their child’s grade level. Elementary parents heard from school psychologists Kristina Spiess and Dr. Maggie Kammerer about the Zones of Regulation and were educated on different strategies that they could use at home with their children. Secondary school parents heard from school psychologist Dr. Louis Ricci and counselor Jay Benjamin about modern parenting and how to overcome challenges.
Throughout the evening, parents were welcome to visit the booths that were stationed in the high school lobby. Members of Bethpage High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions Club, along with community groups such as the Long Island Crisis Center, the YES Community Counseling Center, the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, and Pride for Youth, were able to provide resources. The event was a great way for the Bethpage Union Free School District and the community to come together to support its children.
–Submitted by the Bethpage Union Free School District