California Educator

December/January 2022

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I N O C T O B E R , state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond announced Angst: Building Resilience, a film-based youth mental health support program available in Spanish and English at no cost to all public and charter mid- dle and high schools in California through June 30, 2022. The 75-minute program includes a 43-minute film that highlights the pervasive anxiety among our children and youth, discussion guides, classroom activities, and homework assignments to foster discussion with parents and caregivers. "With [students'] mental health needs at an all-time high, our goal is for Cali- fornia schools to have robust and historic levels of mental health programming to provide critical support to students and families," said Thurmond in announcing the initiative. "Angst and its accom- panying easy-to-use curriculum will help elevate the voices of students who are living with emo- tional distress so they will feel heard, validated and supported." The COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges to students, educators and parents. Children already coping with mental health con- ditions have been especially vulnerable to the changes. Experts are now examining the broad impacts on students as a result of school closures, physical distancing guidelines and isolation, among other changes to their lives. The goal of Angst, a partnership of the California Department of Education (CDE), iNDIEFLIX Education, the Department of Health Care Services' CalHOPE program, and Blue Shield of California's BlueSky initiative, is to raise awareness, connect students with support, and provide hope and coping strategies. The pro- gram offers resources and exercises to help youth build resilience and emotional well-being, and equips educators with tools to support students. For details, including how to view Angst and bring a screening to your school, go to "This will help elevate the voices of students who are living with emotional distress so they will feel heard, validated and supported." —Tony Thurmond, state superintendent of public instruction Building Resilience New program offers students mental health supports Survey: SEL as Important as Academics With the pandemic, the role of school counselors in identifying and addressing students' social and emo- tional needs has become even more critical. A new survey, "School Coun- selors' Perspectives on the Social and Emotional Development of Students," finds a growing consensus among educators and administrators that K-12 students' social-emotional skill development may be nearly as important as cognitive ability for education and workplace success. The report, from ACT and the Amer- ican School Counselor Association (ASCA), was released in November. The findings are no surprise to high school counselor Josh Godinez , president of the California Association of School Counselors and Corona-Norco Teachers Asso- ciation member. "Social-emotional learning goes hand in hand with academic success," he says. "Anxiety, stress, depression and other challenges have always been there, and the more that we incorporate SEL strategies and normalize conver- sations around how to overcome them within our classrooms and our schools, the more we empower students with strategies of success for life." For the full report, go to And remember your school counselors during National School Counseling Week, Feb. 7-11, 2022! Visit for ways to recognize and celebrate. Indieflix Education 45 D E C E M B E R 2 0 21 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 2 Teaching & Learning

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