In collaboration with families, educators, and community partners, the Orange County Department of Education has presented a strategic vision that describes how communities can work together to ensure children thrive in all aspects of their lives.
“Enabling students to thrive in education, career and life” A comprehensive 50-page report outlining common goals for the health, well-being, and success of students. It also provides examples of effective partnerships and support currently contributing to students’ prosperity, which is defined as physical, social, emotional and academic prosperity.
The report concludes with a set of strategic priorities and indicators that can be used to measure progress.
“This strategic vision focuses on enabling Orange County students to thrive by building on their strengths and assets and working together to create the conditions necessary for them to overcome obstacles, to reach their full potential and live healthy, fulfilling lives,” said Orange County Superintendent Dr. janitors.
Building on OC’s strengths
Based on interviews with community partners, families, students, and educators—and endorsed by more than two dozen Orange County School District administrators—Enabling Students to Thrive was released in response to surveys and studies indicating higher rates of depression, anxiety, and stress-related health symptoms among youth .
While these are national trends, the report notes that Orange County has a number of advantages that can be leveraged on behalf of students, including strong parent and community involvement, abundance of social activities, and strong support systems within local schools.
“In crafting this report, we sought an asset-based approach that draws on the strengths of our students, schools, and communities,” said Dr. Jeff Hettenberger, lead author of the report and dean of the College of Education at Vanguard University. “We really wanted to start by focusing on the abilities of students and their families and support systems rather than looking exclusively at the challenges. By working together, we can create caring communities where every student can thrive.”
In response to emerging challenges, the report highlights a variety of successful strategies, student-led initiatives, and partnerships that have the potential to scale, along with effective practices that can be replicated. The report also highlights examples of students who are thriving and making a positive impact in their communities. At the same time, it stresses the importance of strengthening collaboration and communication between schools, districts, families, public agencies, elected officials, faith communities, service providers, and other groups serving children and families.
The document further calls for a concerted effort to increase the number of candidates entering fields related to student prosperity, and calls for continued support and resources for teachers and other school professionals who are already on the front lines.
While the challenges facing youth are national in scope, Dr. Megaris said Orange County is well placed to find solutions — and to provide a roadmap for other counties to follow.
He said, “This report is not intended to sit idly by, nor is it the final say on the matter.” “On the contrary, I hope this research leads to ongoing discussions in homes and schools about how they can work together to create environments in which every student can thrive.”
If you know that a child or teen is suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, there are a number of free resources that can help you. Here are a few:
- OC Navigator. Created by the OC Health Care Agency, this site connects Orange County residents to health and wellness resources and other services, such as housing, transportation, and legal support. visiting ocnavigator.org.
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1-800-273-8255 is a 24-hour toll-free number, Confidential Suicide Prevention Hotline This is available to anyone experiencing a suicidal crisis or emotional distress. It provides Spanish-speaking counselors, as well as options for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.
- Crisis text font. The Crisis Text Line is the only one that operates 24/7 nationwide Crisis intervention text message hotline. Text HOME to 741-741.
- OC WarmLine. Available 24/7, OC WarmLine is a free, confidential phone service that provides emotional support and resources to Orange County residents. Call 714-991-6412 or visit namioc.org/oc-warmline for more information.
- National Parent Helpline. This hotline provides emotional support and empowerment strategies to strengthen families. Call 1-855-4A Parent (1-855-427-2736) from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.
- 2-1-1 Overclocking. This service connects Orange County’s most vulnerable residents to critical health and human services resources. Call 888-600-4357 or visit www.211oc.org.