In order to support local school districts as they respond to student behavioral and mental health needs, Charlevoix-Emmet Intermediate School District has created a Behavioral Health Coordinator position. Alicia Schlehuber, currently the Special Populations Coordinator for the Public Schools of Petoskey, has been hired to fill the new role.
The Behavioral Health Coordinator will work collaboratively with school-based teams to implement behavioral health interventions and provide training, guidance, and coordination to the ISD’s 11 public school districts and two charter academies.
“I am excited to create and promote a robust, innovative and inclusive emotional wellness program that will help our schools combat the mental health crisis facing our youth. I look forward to forging partnerships along the way,” said Schlehuber. “I also hope to decrease barriers to accessing mental health services and improve services that address the social and emotional needs of our youth so students can focus on learning.”
Scott Koziol, Char-Em ISD Superintendent, said consistent state funding has allowed for districts and ISDs to address the growing mental and emotional health needs of students.
“We are very appreciative of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan legislature’s commitment to addressing this persistent issue to help our students thrive. We are excited about the opportunities Alicia will bring to districts throughout our ISD in an effort to better support the needs of our students and their families, and staff,” Koziol said.
According to a 2022 Annie E. Casey Foundation report, 242,000 children in Michigan are struggling with anxiety or depression. The same report also ranked Michigan 32nd in overall child well-being. Prior to the pandemic, childhood trauma was widespread in Michigan youth. In 2019, more than half (58%) of Michigan youth reported one or more adverse childhood experiences. The prevalence of trauma in Michigan’s school-age youth has grown since, and is presumed to be driving increases in students who struggle to participate in school, Koziol noted.
The Behavioral Health Coordinator position will be funded, in part, using Section 31n funds allocated by the state legislature for the provision of mental health and support services in schools throughout Michigan. In addition to supporting existing 31n efforts in the region, the coordinator will also provide training, guidance, and coordination to districts throughout the ISD with initiatives that support positive behavioral health such as TRAILS to Wellness, restorative practices, Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS), and student behavior threat assessment.
The coordinator will be in place for the 2023-24 school year, with Schlehuber set to begin in July 2023.