Saturday, November 20 | 9:00am-12:30pm

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NEARI Mental Health Summit 2021 Poster

The 2021 Mental Health Summit marks the fourth year that NEA Rhode Island is dedicating a day of workshops centered on mental health advocacy, building communication with students, self care, understanding the impact of trauma, and so much more.

The weight of a global pandemic and all of the associated repercussions have added more trauma and anxiety to our communities already in crisis. Please join us in building caring school communities for Rhode Island's public school students.

2021 Mental Health Summit Agenda

Session Descriptions

Ashish K. Jha, MD, MPHP

Dr. Jha is a physician, health policy researcher, and the third Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. Before joining Brown, he was the K.T. Li Professor of Global Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Director of the Harvard Global Health Institute (HGHI).

Facilitated by Jodi Miller

This session will focus on the importance of student wellbeing, why we need to measure it, and how we can do just that. As teachers know firsthand, student wellbeing is related to attendance, engagement, and achievement.

After a brief review of how stress can make it difficult for students to learn, we will discuss the value of understanding the emotional wellbeing of our learners. Participants will then learn about WellCheq, a new tool for checking in with students, as well as ways they can utilize the data collected by the app.

The goal of this session is to demonstrate the value of this type of tool and how educators can use wellbeing data to support learners and meet their needs.

Facilitated by Danielle Singh and Kristen Beland

In this session participants will engage with both a classroom and arts educators to discuss the importance of bringing the social and emotional needs of every student to the forefront of learning. This session will help explain how art directly impacts a students wellness, while how to integrate art and SEL into the core curriculum.

Facilitated by Don Laliberte

Have you ever wondered what happens when you call 911 to send a student to the emergency room after a crisis in the classroom or at school? Or, what can the ER provide and not provide?

What happens and what should you expect when you call the Kids’ Link RI hotline? What is the difference between screenings, assessments, and referrals? What does it mean when a student won’t be attending classes because they are in an “inpatient” facility, or what does a step-down program really mean?

The presenter will discuss the various aspects of the children’s system of care from the emergency room, crisis clinic, partial hospitalization programs, as well as other diversionary programs and step-down care for youth and young adults in Rhode Island.

Facilitated by Evan Whitehead

In this session, Evan Whitehead will provide participants with practical and intentional mental health coping strategies to help participants navigate their everyday lives, through his Three B's Framework "Balance, Boundaries, and Breaks" which is rooted in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), Mindfulness, Mindset, and Accountability.

At the completion of the session each participant will have an understanding on how to implement the Three B's in their daily lives by prioritizing their overall health and well being through prevention, rather than intervention.

Facilitated by Leigh Reposa

This training will provide participants with the opportunity to learn more about the QPR method - Question, Persuade, and Refer.

By the end of the session participants will learn about and be able to identify risk and protective factors, myths and facts related to adolescent suicide, warning signs, how to ask questions around suicide, how to persuade a youth to get help with adults, and to whom youth can be referred for support.

Facilitated by Glenn Miller

Why is it that some people encounter adversity and loss and become defeated, while others adapt and grow? Why are some people able to extract something positive from even the most distressing experiences? Resiliency is that ability.

COVID and all of its’ attendant changes and adaptations have impacted the working lives of educators across the country. Some have directly experienced tragedy and loss.

Others have experienced the losses and tragedies of others vicariously. It all has an impact. This training explores ways to increase resiliency and reduce the damage of trauma.

Facilitated by Karen Oliveira

The prevalence of trauma has been scientifically validated and is a core motivating factor for the need and use of trauma-informed approaches throughout diverse systems and organizations.

There are many definitions for trauma-informed care and various models for implementation across disciplines. This brief workshop will address an overall definition of trauma-informed care as well as explore the three necessary components needed for becoming a culture that is, at its core, trauma-informed.

Session Speakers

Presenting: SEL and ARTS Integration in the Elementary School Classroom

Danielle Daglieri Singh is a dynamic Integrative Arts Educator who is passionate to bring out the creativity within each and every child she teaches. She has a BS in Arts Education and trained in the SmART program, run by Brown University in 2004.

Danielle integrates art into Common Core standards and enhances the learning experiences for all students. She is a team leader, working to develop the Visual Art and Design Curriculum (K-12) for the North Kingstown Public School District. Artsonia awarded her the 2021 Art Education Leadership Award.

This year she will be working with Kristen Rhodes Beland (@RhodesBeland) to develop a program where art encompasses all aspects of the day for students including: traditional art classes, integration periods, and an Expressive Arts Open Studio to provide SEL through Art. You can find her on Twitter @ArtwithMrsSingh

Presenter: The 411 of the 401: Children’s Crisis-Services in RI

Don Laliberte is the Assistant Director for Lifespan Pediatric Behavioral Health and the Director of Access at Bradly Hospital. He serves as an Adjunct Faculty for Social Work at Rhode Island College, where he earned his MSW in 1999.

He has extensive mental health experience with children, adolescents, and adults, and has worked in clinical and administrative roles at Crossroads Rhode Island, The Miriam Hospital, Gateway Healthcare, and The Providence Center.

Presenting Resilency for Educators

Glenn Miller joined Coastline EAP in 1993 and provides training, consultation, and clinical services for our client organizations. Glenn also provides clinical supervision to the EAP Consultant staff.

Prior to his work in employee assistance, he held a variety of administrative and clinical positions in the chemical dependency treatment field.

He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Springfield College, Springfield, Massachusetts (1993), a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services from the University of Rhode Island (1990), and is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Professional (1989) and a Certified Employee Assistance Professional(1995).

Glenn develops and conducts many Coastline EAP seminars and is also a trainer for the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Association.

Presenter: WellCheq: A Quick Morning Check-in For Student Wellness

Jodi Miller is a PhD student at The Johns Hopkins University in the School of Education and the creator of WellCheq. She is a former high school teacher who is passionate about supporting students and cultivating their potential.

Her research focuses on how stress affects the brains, bodies, and achievement of students. She also examines how we measure stress and what schools can do to buffer against the negative effects for children. Her secondary interests include teacher wellbeing and how it is important for student outcomes.

Jodi graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with her BA in the Biological Basis of Behavior in 2014 and with her Master’s degrees in Education Policy and Secondary Education in 2015. After leaving Penn, she taught 10th grade biology and 12th grade anatomy in Philadelphia for three years.

During her tenure, she loved watching her students thrive. Together, they achieved a 400% increase in proficiency on the state Biology exam. Jodi’s experience teaching inspired her to pursue a PhD and create WellCheq. Jodi loves working with students and teachers, whose roles are complex, crucial, and extremely rewarding.

Presenting The 3 Underlying Elements to Becoming a Trauma-Informed Entity

Karen Oliveira has extensive practice working with adults and youth impacted by trauma. She has committed much of her work experience to the area of domestic violence and mental health, with a specific focus on victims of trauma, providing individual and support group counseling.

She recently began a private practice where her specialty focus is working with individuals recovering from trauma, using trauma-informed and other evidence-based strategies in her approach.

For 13 years, she was an assistant professor at Rhode Island College School of Social Work, teaching in the Master’s Program. During that time period she also worked as a campus-based faculty supervisor for Central Falls School District.

Within the district, she taught practice skills as a supervisor in the field of school social work, providing mentoring and guidance to BSW, MSW, and counseling student interns. Ms. Oliveira was also a community organizer for the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s task force and served for two years as vice president and three years as board president of Sojourner House of RI, a non-profit agency serving survivors and families impacted by domestic violence.

Ms. Oliveira has also volunteered as a development and training consultant for various organizations in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Presenting Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business

Leigh A. Reposa, MSW, LICSW has been with the Rhode Island Student Assistance Services (RISAS) and the Rhode Island Youth Suicide Prevention Program (RIYSPP) since 2009.

Leigh and members of RIYSPP using an evidence based training intervention called QPR- Question, Persuade, and Refer, educate adults and youth throughout the state about the warning signs for suicide, risk and protective factors, and how to get a young person/peer connected with help.

Leigh also serves as an active member of the RI Medical Examiner’s Office Child Death Review Team. In addition to her work in this field, Leigh is also an adoptee and adoption advocate and has a post graduate certificate in Adoption and Foster Care from Rhode Island College. Leigh enjoys spending time with her husband and their two dogs, visiting area beaches, hiking, and running.

Presenter: SEL and ARTS Integration in the Elementary School Classroom

Kristen Rhodes Beland is a fourth grade teacher at the Suzanne M. Hensler Quidnessett Elementary School in North Kingstown, Rhode Island. Previously, she served as an integration specialist implementing the SmART program developed by Brown University.

She is currently a fourth grade educator. She is also a teacher leader providing Arts and SEL Integration for her district. Kristen sits as a member of the Rhode Island Council of the Arts.

In 2018-2020 Kristen was a Teach Plus Policy Fellow and now is part of the Teach Plus National Cohort. She believes, “Every child is capable of achieving academic greatness if they know they are loved”.

This philosophy has been the catalyst for developing a team at her school to become trauma informed, given testimonies to state leaders advocating for stronger mental health in schools, and collaborating with NEARI on the annual Mental Health Summit for Teachers.

Kristen has published Op-Eds on empathy through Medium, the importance of relational trust as the key factor driving student relationships on Transforming Education, and our lasting impact as teachers handling COVID-19 on Project Forever Free.

In 2020 she collaboratively created @AnchorED creating and providing a 12-week wellness program through PBL Matters.

Kristen was a 2013 Golden Apple Recipient. She graduated with a BA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Salve Regina University and is a Trauma Support Specialist through Arizona Trauma Institute. Kristen holds a firm belief in continuous learning creating a powerful impact.

Presenting: The Three B's :Balance, Boundaries, and Breaks

Evan Whitehead has been an educator for more than 20 years spanning three decades in private, public, and state level education. Over the course of his career, he has held positions ranging from special education paraprofessional and teacher to assistant superintendent. Most recently Evan was named in the Top 50 Culture Builders of 2020 by Award Winning Culture.

Evan is also a certified Mindset and Accountability Coach, National Consultant, Trainer, Presenter with Dr. Ruby K. Payne’s aha! Process, Inc.; Author;Speaker; Frequent Podcast Contributor; Mental Health Advocate; Mindfulness Practitioner; Coalition of Schools Educating Mindfully (COSEM) Board Member; and proponent of Equity, Diversity and Intercultural competency.

Evan’s 3Bs” Balance, Boundaries, and Breaks”(#BalanceBoundariesandBreaks) promotes a lifestyle and self -advocacy in the areas of mental health, mindset, self-care, and wellbeing.Currently, Evan is the director of special services for a PK–8 school district in Illinois. In his current role, Evan oversees special education, English learners, early childhood education;(MTSS); SEL, equity, diversity, and cultural competency. You can connect with Evan on Twitter @evanwhitehead00.