How the QC Area Superintendents hope to tackle mental health

MOLINE, Illinois-- Thursday, August 8 was a special day on Good Morning Quad Cities. Angie and I don't get to sit down with four superintendents from across our area at the same time very often, but that was exactly what happened Thursday.

Angie and I were part of a back to school special on Good Morning Quad Cities. There were many things we discussed, but two of the topics we touched on a lot were mental health and school safety. The superintendents say their staff need to make students feel more comfortable both in and outside of the classroom, and there are more people than just the teachers who can do that.

"Many times that has to be initiated by an adult to say, 'Hey how was your weekend? How have you been?'" Davenport Community Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Kobylski said Thursday. "We're focusing a great deal of our attention on building our relationships with students, so that we can have that ongoing dialogue."

"We have a great partnership with Vera French, school based therapists in our building, so we have different mechanisms for students if they see something going on that we can assist them and give them the help they might need," Pleasant Valley Schools Superintendent Brian Strusz said.

"We have a partnership with a newly formed QC Behavioral Coalition where several of our members of my cabinet sit down," Dr. Reginald Lawrence, Superintendent of the Rock Island-Milan School District said Thursday. "They work on what the needs and supports will be for not only our students, but for our families."

"We definitely have a professional development plan to continue training our staff to not necessarily be trained to have to know how to diagnose to treat but to know their kids well enough and be able to recognize those warning signs and give those kids the help that they need," Superintendent Dr. Rachel Savage, Superintendent of the Moline-Coal Valley School District said Thursday.

Out of the four, Strusz is the only one with experience in the Quad City area. He's been with PV Schools for 22 years now.

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