You are on page 1of 5

Lizbeth Ramirez

Psychology 689 B
January 23rd 2015
Community Collaboration Write-Up
Paradise High School is an interesting school. Paradise itself is an
interesting town and both the town and high school have unique needs.
When thinking about having to work on this community collaboration project
I saw an opportunity to bring something to the school that would help the
students who have the most need. Unfortunately, many parents in Paradise
use illicit substances or drink excessively. Many are also in abusive
relationships and these factors negatively impact the kids at the schools in
the area. I thought that having a representative from Butte County
Behavioral Health come in and explain their services, how to access them
and how to identify students who may benefit for counseling would be
helpful. I also considered having a representative from catalyst come in and
talk about ways to help children of domestic violence survivors. Because at
the high school, morale is particularly low and there is little sense of
community as well as a lack of team work between staff and teachers, I
thought that having someone come in to explain the importance of self-care
and how to prevent burnout would be helpful. Finally, I thought that maybe
having a representative from the American foundation of Suicide prevention
may have been interesting for teachers since at the high school level, kids
struggle with a lot issues but in Paradise, some kids have it especially hard.

All of these topics were included in a needs assessment survey that was sent
out to all of the teachers at PHS. Also included was a place for teachers to fill
in their own choice.
Unfortunately, of all the surveys that were sent out, only seven were
returned. Based that data, it appeared that teachers would be interested in
attending a presentation from a representative from Butte County Behavioral
Health. I began reaching out to BCBH at the end of November and that was a
lengthy process. The person I was in contact with explained that BCBH
comes to PHS every year and explains to the teachers how to refer students.
I explained to her that I would like a counselor to do more of a teacher
education presentation to explain how to identify students who may benefit
from counseling (i.e., what to look for). I thought this would be extremely
helpful not only for teachers but for myself as well so that I could better
understand which services are appropriate for which students. I know that
there is ERMHS, BCBH counseling, Youth4Change counseling and a few other
options. I though clarification would be extremely helpful for everyone in
attendance. In my many conversations with one of the BCBH
representatives, I was explained that although they had no problem coming
in to speak, they had shortage of counselors since they do not have enough
to meet the need for services that they have. Finally, after a few phone
conversations I was put in contact with Helena Meyer, one of the counselors
who comes to PHS to see students.

Helena and I worked with Becki Nelson, one of the academic

counselors at PHS and coordinated a date in January that would work for us
all because Becki was going to come to the presentation to share her piece
regarding what services the guidance office provides. Helena put together an
updated list of counseling services for the area. I put together a brief
PowerPoint and a handout for teachers to keep at their desk with hotlines,
textlines and websites that their students could use should they need to. I
was able to use one of the special education teachers room, I posted ads in
the teachers lounge room, the principal approved staff development hours
for attendees and I sent out a schoolwide email reminder the day before the
presentation. The process once the date had been scheduled was pretty
The following is a summary of the presentation: I began by introducing
the topic and who the presenters would be. Unfortunately, Becki Nelson the
school counselor was unable to attend but she sent another counselor,
Debbie Dodson. Because Debbie had to leave early she shared her piece
first. She explained which types of cases would be best suited for her or
other guidance counselors to handle and which types of cases would be
more appropriate for the crisis counselor. She the shared what teachers can
make direct referrals to BCBH or can contact them if they need help making
a referral. Following Debbies presentation, Helena Meyer from BCBH
explained that she had a handout that discussed the signs and symptoms of
mental illness and then she proceeded to discuss these in detail and she

provided examples. Her piece was nice because the teachers were able to
ask questions and this were I think I got a lot of clarification on questions I
had regarding how students can access counseling services. Finally, Carly
describes a three tier system for behavior and mental health ranging from
methods of behavior modification to intense services like weekly counseling.
Finally, the teachers were asked to complete a rating scale for the
presentation and were given the handout I created.
I think that I did a good job identifying the schools needs and
assessing them with the survey. I also think that I was very professional,
organized and demonstrated leadership skills in coordinating this project.
Finally, I am proud of my mini handout and I think that if used, it can give
students some good resources. However, I believe that all that I do is always
a work in progress and can be improved. One thing I would change is I would
have sought out teachers and maybe give them chocolate as an incentive to
get a higher return rate for the surveys. One thing I thought was quite
unfortunate was the fact that there were few attendees at the presentation. I
put in a lot of work and Helena as well as Debbie took the time to come and
present. Furthermore, the information was extremely relevant for the
population at PHS. I know that one of the teachers who was going to attend
had a previous engagement and two others had a training in Orland. I found
out after the presentation that an opportunity for staff development had
been available the previous day but Carly and myself were unaware of this.
In addition, even if I had found out the day before, it would have been

difficult to coordinate a new date. I would have had to cancel last minute on
both Helena and Debbie. I think that in the future I will plan my projects for
the fall semester and I will ensure that I personally invite and remind
teachers so that maybe they will be more inclined to attend a presentation
that I coordinate. In the meantime, I plan on distributing my handout in
teachers boxes so that they can have the resource even though they missed
the presentation.
Overall, I think I did well. I am happy with the work I put and my ability
to get the participation of BCBH and the guidance counselors. I do regret the
small number of participants but I am hopeful that the attendees will see me
as a resource from now on since I shared that I can find information for them
on topics they might be interested in. One teacher shared he would like to
learn about the effects of poverty on achievement. I think that the more
difficult part is getting teachers and staff to attend these types of events. I
think getting to know more teachers and building rapport with them might
be helpful in the future.