Three Ways Meeting Street Schools Prioritizes Mental Health For All

Story by Meeting Street Schools / May 3, 2022

One of the few good things about the COVID-19 pandemic is that it has highlighted how integral social and emotional support for students (and adults!) are to the school environment. Newspapers nationwide have been inundated with headlines screaming about the mental health crisis that we are facing in our country as a result of the prolonged pandemic and the move to virtual schooling.  At Meeting Street Schools (MSS) we take the warnings seriously and are always looking for ways to better support our students, families, and employees who benefit from mental health support. I am proud to say that Meeting Street held this holistic view before the pandemic and that we remain committed to supporting our communities as we look forward to the 22-23 school year.  Below are some of the ways that Meeting Street Schools have prioritized mental health for all:

  • We have 1 Mental Health Professional (MHP) on campus for approximately every 175 students at each of our schools.  The state of South Carolina requires 1 guidance counselor for every 800 students in elementary school and 1 for every 300 students in middle and high school.  We know that it is necessary that we hire and rely on mental health clinicians with a multitude of backgrounds (including school guidance counselors, social workers, and licensed professional counselors) to support the diverse needs of our students.  We also make it a point that our MHP’s time is oriented to prioritize time directly with students providing whole class social-emotional learning (SEL) lessons, small group skill building, and/or individual therapy.  We also make sure that our MHPs have access to professional development opportunities aligned to their needs and a weekly check in with a Clinical Supervisor who helps them grow their brains and practice.  Oh, and our MHPs are all dabomb.com!
  • We build strong partnerships with external providers.  We know that some of our students and families have needs that expand beyond the school building.  Over the past few years, Meeting Street has developed relationships with external partners in our communities that provide consistent, high quality wrap around services for students and families.  Sometimes this can look like direct access to a child psychiatrist, while for others it can be in-home behavior modification and family counseling.  Our partnerships with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the National Youth Advocate Program (NYAP), and the South Carolina Youth Advocate Program (SCYAP) have given our students with the most specialized needs access to supports that they need to stay healthy.
  • We recognize that adults have mental health needs, too.  Our teachers and staff work incredibly hard for our kids and families.  We recognize that they are juggling multiple roles outside of school, too.  To better support our team’s mental health needs, we are pioneering an external partnership to provide increased access to counseling services for our employees during the 22-23 school year.

The rest of this month my colleagues will continue to highlight some of the specific ways Meeting Street addresses the needs of our students and families on this blog.  I hope that you’ll read their insights and I encourage you to connect with us to learn more about what we do to prioritize mental health at Meeting Street or give us ideas on how we can continue to strengthen the supports we have in place for our community.

-Michael Beare

Director of Student Support – Meeting Street Schools

 

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About Meeting Street Schools

Meeting Street Schools (MSS) is an innovative non-profit where schools, families, and the community collaborate to create environments where all children can achieve their full potential. With a network of schools across South Carolina, including MSA-Charleston (Charleston, SC), MSA-Spartanburg (Spartanburg, SC), MS-Brentwood (North Charleston, SC), MS-Burns (North Charleston, SC), and MS-Jasper & Beaufort (Jasper, SC), we are committed to providing students with the rigorous education they deserve.

Founded on the principle that every child deserves an excellent education regardless of their socio-economic background, Meeting Street Schools has been a beacon of hope and a testament to what's possible in education. Our schools are driven by a strong focus on student achievement, evidence-based instruction, and relentless support of our students and their families.

While united by our shared mission, each MSS campus, is unique in its character, tapping into the local spirit of the communities they serve. Explore each of our schools and discover how they're creating a brighter future for students in South Carolina.

News & NotesFrom Clemson University to Master Teacher and Player Coach: Emily Godwin

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Our Schools

MSA – CharlestonDowntown Charleston, SC - Independent School - Since 2008 - 364 Students

Nestled in the heart of Charleston, South Carolina, MSA Charleston is more than just a school—it’s a hub for innovative learning and community engagement. As part of the Meeting Street Schools network, MSA Charleston embodies a commitment to excellence through its rigorous academic programs, inclusive culture, and focus on developing the whole child. With a curriculum that emphasizes both academic and personal growth, MSA Charleston prepares students to be curious learners and active citizens of their community.

MSA – SpartanburgDowntown Spartanburg, SC - Public School - Since 2012 - 323 Students

MSA Spartanburg stands as a pillar of educational innovation in the Spartanburg community. The school’s dedicated educators and supportive learning environment ensure that each child receives a high-quality, personalized education with exceptional faculty and teachers. MSA Spartanburg is distinguished by its emphasis on community partnership, fostering relationships that extend beyond the classroom to build a strong foundation for lifelong learning and success.

MS – BrentwoodNorth Charleston, SC - Public School - Since 2014 - 694 Students

MS Brentwood is a place where education meets opportunity. Serving the Brentwood area, this school is a testament to the transformative power of education. With a student-centered approach that celebrates diversity and encourages excellence, MS Brentwood is dedicated to equipping students with the skills they need to thrive in the 21st century. MS Brentwood also serves as a hub for the Brentwood community to access educational and wellness services. The school’s commitment to innovation, coupled with a warm, welcoming environment, makes it a standout in the MSS network.

MS – BurnsNorth Charleston, SC - Public School - Since 2018 - 478 Students

Located in a community rich with history and culture, MS Burns is renowned for its dynamic educational approach that intertwines traditional learning with modern teaching techniques. The school’s focus on experiential learning ensures that students at MS Burns are not only recipients of knowledge but also active participants in their educational journey. MS Burns exists to spark an educational revolution for the students and families in the Dorchester-Waylyn Neighborhood in North Charleston. With a commitment to creating a supportive and challenging academic environment, MS Burns is forging a new path in public education.

MS – Jasper & BeaufortJasper County, SC - Public Charter School - Fall 2023 -

MS Jasper represents the Meeting Street Schools’ dedication to community-based education with a global perspective. The school provides a nurturing environment where students are encouraged to explore their potential and cultivate a love for learning. With its diverse programs such as Eureka Math, and Wit and Wisdom, MS Jasper puts a major emphasis on character development, specialized learning and equips students to become thoughtful, engaged members of society, reflecting the MSS ethos of empowerment through education.

CommunityVoices

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“Meeting Street Academy is my family. They taught me that I am valuable. I am an asset to the world…They asked me, ‘What is your dream?’ I had never been asked that before. The MSS community gives me the strength to pursue my dreams.”

— Kadelyn SteedStudent

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“We come into work everyday truly believing that our students are capable of achieving anything that is put in front of them. Here at MSS, students are provided the opportunity to achieve success through the facilitation of well-educated teachers, resources, and a responsive classroom school environment.”

— NikToshia GilesTeacher

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“MSA is a family. Once you’re in, you’re in. They said they would follow our kids from K-3 to college and they actually lived up to what they said they would do. Not only did MSA challenge my daughter academically but it also exposed her to new things that she probably wouldn’t have been exposed to at our previous neighborhood school. Our journey at MSA was exciting and rewarding. They actually walk the walk.”

— Tyeka GrantParent