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Southwest Orange Friday, Feb. 28, 2020 5 months ago

Windermere High School hosts meeting following student death

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Staff members with the OCPS Mental Health Services department spoke to parents about the resources they have available and what will be done moving forward.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

Orange County Public Schools’ Mental Health Services department gave parents a presentation Thursday, Feb. 27, at Windermere High School about the various resources available to students and families — a response to the tragic death of a Windermere High School student earlier this week.

Anna Williams-Jones, mental health services director for Orange County Public Schools, gave a breakdown of the various services available at elementary, middle and high schools. 

At Windermere High — as well as the other high schools — Orange County Public Schools offers four to seven certified school counselors, a SAFE coordinator and school-based social worker, Kognito five-hour mental and emotional education, a mental health counselor (for half a day each week), an additional social worker (for one day each week), psychologists (for two days each week) and a Panorama Social Emotional Learning Survey — which allows students to express what their needs are.

Changes are on the horizon for Windermere High School though. Art teacher Sam Andrews-Jarvis will be sponsoring a mental health club called “Where You Come First” — where students can come together and discuss the recent student deaths and their own mental health issues. Williams-Jones said that staff plans to talk with Principal Douglas Guthrie and look at what personnel should be added.

“It seems that they are having students who want support that are just outnumbering their ability to respond in a quick turnaround,” she said. “We’re going to look at the data and see how we can add additional personnel to support for the remainder of the year and then look at next year and see how we need to start the year.”

For a complete recap of Thursday’s meeting — including comments from Orange County District 4 School Board Member Pam Gould, School Board Chair Teresa Jacobs, Andrews-Jarvis and parents — check back online and in the paper Thursday, March 5.

Anyone in need of assistance during a crisis can go online to suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-8255.

Tim Freed was the managing editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Southwest Orange Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

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