Strategic Supports Implemented by School-Employed Providers

Based on the results of the Tier 1 trauma screening, students who require targeted behavioral health interventions will be provided services by school or community professionals. Eklund and Rossen (2016)2 remind school based professionals that knowing a particular stressor does not necessarily predict student outcomes.  From the data, school teams can determine which students will receive strategic supports implemented by school-based mental health providers and/or school personnel. Strategies at this stage of intervention may include:


Roles of School Professionals

Role of School Counselor and/or School Psychologist:

Tier 2 partners include schools, educational cooperatives, and Community Mental Health Centers.  The Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC) has been identified as a key assessment strategy to help evaluate acute and chronic posttraumatic symptoms in children aged 8-16 and will be administered by either the LEA/Community Project Manager or by a qualified CMHC-based mental health professional. For children aged 5-7, the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children (TSCYC) will be used. Both the TSCC and TSCYC were selected due to their standardized and normed approach in measuring trauma exposure (e.g. child abuse, peer assault, community violence). In addition, the Global Appraisal of Individual Needs (GAIN-SS) may also be used to quickly identify students who may have one or more behavioral health disorders. Screening tool usage will be at the discretion of the mental health professional providing Tier 2 services to the student. Check In Check Out (CICO) has applicability to situations where a student is struggling with various behavior problems and/or emotional issues (e.g. anxiety, frustration), among other issues, and has been show to provide a structure by which the student can improve and/or establish communication and organization routines that lead to responsible behaviors, habits and effort. This research-based intervention was selected for its adaptability to various situations and settings, its integrated school-home communication pathways, and as it builds upon the PBIS-framework previously described.

Role of Occupational Therapist:

The role of an occupational therapist within the school is that of a change agent, educational enhancer, and mental health promoter – to assist teachers, other school support staff, administrators, and families in promoting successful participation and enjoyment during academic (classroom, art, PE) and non-academic (recess, lunch, after-school) times of the day for children/youth with and without disabilities and mental health challenges 1. Occupational therapists are skilled in knowing how to help individuals participate successfully in their daily activities by enhancing skills or modifying the environment or the activity. OT’s analyze the social, emotional, physical, and sensory aspects of participation in order to make the modifications needed for successful participation.

Role of the School Administrator




Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children

Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children

Check In Check Out


South Dakota Behavioral Health Models in Schools

South Dakota schools use the following models in their school district:

South Dakota Multi-tiered Systems of Support Project. A Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) is a continuous-improvement framework in which data-based problem solving and decision making are practiced across all levels of the educational system for supporting students. To ensure efficient use of resources, schools begin with the identification of trends and patterns using school-wide data. Students who need interventions beyond what is provided universally for positive behavior or academic content areas are provided with targeted, supplemental interventions delivered at increasing levels of intensity.

Project AWARE

The South Dakota Department of Education and Department of Social Services Project AWARE model has three tiers that were the model for the recommendation on this site.  The first tier is universal preparation activities where a new staff member will be trained to recognize if there are mental health difficulties and issues or if there are specific students who many need mental health services. The second tier involves more targeted interventions with specific students. This would involve a local community mental health center.  The third tier would involves referring students who need more help to mental health professionals who can provide that help.

Avera eCARE.

Avera eCARE School Health partners with K-12 school districts to provide nurse and behavioral health coverage for the entire school day and ensure immediate response to student needs. Using high-definition video technology, school faculty and staff are able to connect with dedicated providers at eHelm – the Sioux Falls hub for Avera eCARE.


Other Resources

Calm Moment Cards

Social Emotional Learning– Making Connections and Learning Together

Every Moment Counts  Model Programs and Toolkits


1Bazyk, S. (2014). Occupational Therapy. U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs.
2Eklund, K. & Rossen, E. (2016). Guidance for Trauma Screening in Schools:  A product of the defending childhood state policy initiative. Delmar, NY: The National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice