Newsletters – Toolkit for Schools: Engaging Parents to Support Student Mental Health and Emotional Well-being
You can use the following text in newsletter, blog, or other print or digital communication. Tailor it for your specific audience and community (e.g., add specific school, district, or organization names, contact information, and details about any specific initiatives).
Fostering School Connectedness to Create a Healthy and Supportive School Environment
Dear Parents and Families,
Knowing that the COVID-19 pandemic is increasing stress and anxiety among children, we are committed to implementing policies and practices that research shows can improve students’ mental health, emotional well-being, and overall academic achievement. I want to take a minute to explain two new terms you may hear and give examples of some of the steps we are taking. I also want to give you some ideas for how you can help support our efforts because research suggests that students who have parents involved in their school lives are also more likely to avoid unhealthy behaviors and are less likely to be emotionally distressed.
A healthy and supportive school environment helps children and adolescents develop the skills they need to recognize and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, appreciate the perspectives of others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
School connectedness reflects students’ belief that peers and adults in the school support, value, and care about their individual well-being as well as their academic progress. Students who feel more connected to school are less likely to engage in risky behaviors (alcohol or drug use), more likely to engage in positive health behaviors (physical activity and healthy eating), more likely to have higher grades and test scores, have better school attendance, and graduate high school.
To support school connectedness and create a healthy and supportive school environment, we [insert specific strategies you are using to promote connectedness, such as:
- Provide professional development on classroom management. Reinforcing positive behavior through praise and establishing rules, routines, and expectations are classroom management techniques that promote higher levels of school connectedness.
- Support student led-clubs at school. These clubs create a safe space for students to socialize, support each other, and connect with supportive school staff.
- Facilitate positive youth development activities. Implementing mentoring programs, providing opportunities to volunteer in the community; or connecting students to community-based programs can provide youth with a network of supportive adults.
- Provide parents and families with resources that support positive parenting practices such as open, honest communication and parental supervision.
Here’s where you come in. Parents and families have a powerful role in supporting children’s learning, mental health, and emotional well-being at home and at school. When parents are engaged in their children’s school activities and initiatives, children get better grades, choose healthier behaviors, and have better social skills. Students who have parents involved in their school lives also are more likely to avoid unhealthy behaviors and they are less likely to be emotionally distressed.
There are three simple ways you can help support your child’s mental health and emotional well-being in school and at home:
- Get involved in the health decisions at school [Insert specific information such as who to contact within the PTA, PTO, school health council, or school health action team].
- Communicate with us! We’d love to know how we can help support your child individually. [Insert best ways to provide feedback].
- Try simple strategies at home like asking about your child’s feelings, focusing on their strengths, and modeling positive coping skills to manage stress, like going for a walk.
If you have questions, or would like more information, contact [insert contact information] or check out [resource].
[closing, insert name of school official or other contact]