A Student Wellness and Family Facilitators Program Overview
By Amy Riccio, Fargo Public Schools Student Wellness and Family Facilitator
The development of Student Wellness and Family Facilitators (SWFF) evolved as part of the Fargo Public Schools (FPS) Strategic Plan, STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 5: Community Outreach and Communication:
As a result of our efforts, Fargo Public Schools will establish partnerships and relationships with non-profit agencies, area businesses, and local college and university teacher preparation programs to support student academic success. External partnerships with the community provides additional support and enrichment opportunities for students and staff.
And more specifically, Goal 6 – Mental Health, Dropout Prevention, and Youth Risk Services:
As a result of our efforts, Fargo Public Schools will implement a K-12 Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) process, for Academics as well as Behavior, to identify and assist students who experience mental health and alcohol/drug issues, are in need of additional support for academic and social/emotional development, or are at risk of dropping out of school. The FPS Positive Student Behavior Action Plan includes staff utilization, policy implementation and professional development in support of improving student self-regulation skills. Fargo Public Schools will collaborate with community agencies to help secure needed assistance for students.
FPS school counselors, administrators, school social workers, and area service coordinators are able to complete online referrals of students to the Student Wellness and Family Facilitators. Data is also collected through this online referral process to better assist FPS in providing appropriate and effective supports for students and families in need.
Student Wellness and Family Facilitators offer support to families and their child(ren) to reach a level of functioning at school and home. They meet with students and families to better understand the situation, connect them to resources in the community for ongoing support, and provide follow up assistance. The role of Student Wellness and Family Facilitators includes:
- Coordination of services/resources to:
- Alleviate barriers to learning and achievement
- Collaborate to strengthen home, school, and community partnerships
- Support and enhance the learning, health, social and emotional well-being, and safety of students
- Provide prevention and intervention services:
- Crisis response
- Home visits
- Conflict resolution
- Assistance with obtaining insurance
- Awareness of on track school completion (graduation progress)
- Facilitate team meetings
- Referrals to resources: Initiate and follow through for referral of students and families to resources both inside and outside of the school setting.
- For example, family referral for therapy: this includes help to make the appointment, attend sessions with the family, and also keep communication channels open with the therapist, to relay information to the school that might be helpful for the student’s overall success.
- Connect families to basic resources (food pantries, health insurance, primary health provider, utility bills, rent, and any other basic needs that are missing and thus impacting the functionality of the family).
- Chemical Use Education (NDCC 15.1-24): Provide student with information regarding chemical use/abuse and school and community services available.
In October 2016, six Student Wellness and Family Facilitators were actively engaged across the entire Fargo Public School District. More than 500 student and family referrals to the SWFFs have been received since September 2016. The Fargo Public Schools administrators, instruction staff, and support personnel have embraced this new position and welcomed the student wellness and family facilitators into their buildings with understanding and support. Together, we can fulfill Fargo Public School’s mission to educate and empower all students to succeed.
The FPS Student Wellness and Family Facilitators for the 2017-18 school year are as follows:
Amy Riccio — Student Wellness and Family Facilitator and Dropout Prevention Consultant; serving South High, Carl Ben Eielson Middle School and the following Elementary Schools: Lewis & Clark, Lincoln, Clara Barton-Hawthorne*, Jefferson*, Ed Clapp*, and Eagles*.
Sarah Bernstrom — Student Wellness and Family Facilitator; serving South High, and Carl Ben Eielson Middle School.
Bethany Zimmerman — Student Wellness and Family Facilitator; serving Davies High, Discovery Middle School and the following Elementary Schools: Bennett, Centennial, Kennedy, Ed Clapp*, and Eagles*.
Alexis Rinas — Student Wellness and Family Facilitator; serving Davies High, and Discovery Middle School.
Jamie Benson — Student Wellness and Family Facilitator; serving North High, Ben Franklin Middle School and the following Elementary Schools: Longfellow, Washington, Madison, McKinley, Horace Mann-Roosevelt, Jefferson*, and Clara Barton-Hawthorne*.
Mary Krueger — Student Wellness and Family Facilitator; serving North High, and Ben Franklin Middle School.
*Shared building, due to school boundary lines.