A new publication aims to bridge school-based and community-based support systems that promote behavioral health and wellness for Maine students and families.

The 15-page “Resource Guide for Maine Families, Schools, and Communities: Integrated Multi-Tiered Systems of Support” provides family friendly descriptions of services, information on how to access them, and outlines how to navigate the various supports in Maine, according to a news release from UMaine News, based in Orono.

Courtney Angelosante, lecturer in special education with the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development, is lead author of the guide. Angelosante is also coordinator of Maine PBIS, a University of Maine System-Maine Department of Education collaboration that provides ongoing professional development to schools in the state that have implemented a Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports approach to advancing student behavior and well-being.

In addition to Angelosante, the guide’s co-authors include Trish Niedorowski, executive director of Wings for Children and Families; Stephanie LeBlanc, a licensed clinical social worker and executive director of Oxford County Mental Health Services; and Carrie Woodcock, executive director of the Maine Parent Federation. Also contributing to the project are Claudia Watson of NAMI Maine and Megan Scott with the Maine Department of Health and Human Services.

“Maine schools are working diligently to support the needs of students every day,” the authors write in the guide’s introduction, according to the release. “Schools are an important point of contact for many families given the amount of time their children spend at school with caring adults.”

At the same time, some students and families may require additional supports.

“There are times when the needs of a child and family are supported by community services in addition to school-based supports and interventions,” they write. “Interconnecting school and community supports can be important in building lasting partnerships.”

The state’s system of supports for students includes three tiers based on the PBIS model. Tier I supports include the universal behavior expectations that all students receive in schools. Tier II are more targeted interventions for small groups of students who may require additional support. Tier III supports include intensive and individualized assessment, instruction and strategies. Tiers II and III require some level of family involvement.

The guide will be distributed to families and schools throughout Maine via the various partner agencies. To download a copy, visit the College of Education and Human Development website at umaine.edu.

The project was funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Additional support came from the Maine Department of Education.

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