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Shining Through: RCSD’s Journey to Student Well-being Honored by San Mateo County Policymakers

Shining Through: RCSD’s Journey to Student Well-being Honored by San Mateo County Policymakers

The glitter of excitement shines in the eyes of students who take a moment of their busy school day to pet a menagerie of farm animals visiting campus. Other students pause to write a Kindness Gram to their teachers, reflecting on the positive interactions they’ve had with caring educators throughout their years. 

Farm Animals Visit Roosevelt School

Roosevelt Elementary School students spent some time with their new farm friends, Rosemary and Henrietta the chickens as well as Tinker the guinea pig from Jasper Ridge Farm in Portola Valley.

Kindness Grams from Roosevelt Students to Teachers

Roosevelt Elementary School students wrote kindness grams to adults who have made an impact on them with many Roosevelt teachers receiving the kind notes from their students

These magic moments are part of the multi-faceted Redwood City School District (RCSD) Counseling Program which aims to create a supportive environment where students can thrive academically, socially, and emotionally through access to counseling services, proactive initiatives, and family support resources. 

The RCSD Counseling Program was recently recognized for a 2024 Kent Award for its proactive work in addressing the holistic needs of students. The annual Kent Award highlights innovative, inspiring, and outstanding programs in San Mateo County Schools.

Michelle Griffith, Director of Community Schools and Partnerships, spoke about the transformative impact that the robust Counseling Program has had on the lives of RCSD students. Last school year alone, mental health clinicians provided 9,918 services to 6,500 students across 12 schools. 

“Every day, our mental health clinicians touch the lives of many children, setting our students on a path towards success,” she said. “Their dedication, compassion, and unwavering commitment to the well-being of our students are truly commendable.” 

“At the heart of our program lies a profound belief in supporting and accepting the whole child. We recognize that academic success is inseparable from emotional well-being, and our program reflects this by nurturing every aspect of our students’ growth.”

Born out of a proactive commitment to the well-being of our students and a recognition of the importance of providing comprehensive mental health support within our educational community, the Counseling Program has seen tremendous growth and progress in its first few years of implementation. 

Through partnerships, collaboration, and feedback, work is continuous toward a common goal of improving student mental health and overall well-being. The implementation of this program includes a coordinated effort between counselors at each school site, district leadership, and collaborative partners from Stanford University. 

Superintendent Dr. John Baker extended gratitude to district partner Stanford University and to the collaborative team for dedicated efforts that have “flourished as a systemic, proactive, powerful, and perhaps life-saving program.” 

“Throughout the nation, mental health challenges are a barrier to accessing a quality education, but we are working together, as a team, to keep that from happening in Redwood City. By reducing mental health needs, we are increasing engagement in the classroom and therefore student learning.”

Dr. Baker and Ms. Griffith were both on hand to accept the Kent Award on behalf of the RCSD Counseling Program during a May ceremony. Named after past San Mateo County Superintendent of Schools, J. Russell Kent, the award program was initiated in the 1980-81 school year.

RCSD Leaders Accept 2024 Kent Award for Counseling Program

Michelle Griffith (bottom row center), RCSD director of community schools and partnerships, accepts the Kent Award on behalf of the district. She is joined by RCSD Superintendent Dr. John Baker, RCSD leaders and trustees, Stanford University representatives, and San Mateo County School Boards Association representatives.