Universal Screening for Behavioral and Emotional Needs - An Overview for Students, Parents, & FamiliesWhat is Universal Screening for Behavioral and Emotional Needs?Universal Screening is a SCASD initiative that aims to identify and support students who may be experiencing behavioral or emotional challenges that could become obstacles to learning and positive school experiences at State High. Screening is conducted via a non-mandatory self-reporting survey in which students rate their personal experiences at school on a confidential Likert scale questionnaire once in the fall semester and once in the spring semester.Why is Universal Screening being introduced at State College?In 2015 and 2017 SCASD students in grades 6, 8, 10 and 12 completed an anonymous survey called the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS). PAYS is funded and promoted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to gather information about students' knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that may pose a risk to students' well-being.The PAYS report from 2019 can be found here: 2019 PAYS ReportThe findings in this report indicated that a high number of State College students reported being at elevated risk for anxiety, depression, low self-efficacy, and suicidal ideation. Of particular note, close to 24% of State College Students in grades 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th reported feeling sad or depressed most days and close to 40% of seniors reported feeling "no good at all" at times (p. 60). Close to 11% of students in these grades reported that they have considered suicide and close to 5% of students in these grades reported having completed a suicide attempt (p. 61). In response to these findings the SCASD School Board and administration sparked an initiative to address the increasing concern for the well-being of SCASD students. Universal Screening is an effort that the district believes may proactively address student distress related to school experiences and hopefully prevent student self-harm or problematic distress at school.What is the content of the Universal Screening survey?The Universal Screening survey consists of 30 self-reporting questions related to students' self-perceived behavioral and emotional strengths and weaknesses. The questions used in this survey are all directly drawn from the BASC-2 Behavioral and Emotional Screening System, an empirically supported measurement tool used widely by school psychologists and other adolescent development professionals. An extensive amount of research has been conducted over many years to ensure the validity and reliability of this tool.More information on the screening tool and the BASC-2 can be found here: Screening Tool: BASC-2.A list of the questions included in the survey can be found here: Student Survey QuestionsWho will be participating in Universal Screening?All grades will participate in Universal Screening either by parent completion, student self screen or teacher completion. Students are not required to participate in the screening. Parents and guardians will be provided with an opportunity to opt to have their students excused from the screening in advance of the implementation.What will you do with the results?After completing the survey, students will be scored and divided into a three-tier distribution, which aligns with the Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTII) model already being used by SCASD for academic skills. More information about the RTII model can be found here: RTII Model.Students in Tier 1 (approximately 80-85% of the population) are considered "not at risk" and will have access to all of the resources that currently exist in the school system (tutoring support, counseling services, extracurricular opportunities, etc.) to support healthy personal and academic growth.Students in Tier 2 (approximately 10% of the population) are considered at "potential risk" and will have access to some additional services if warranted (i.e. Student Assistance Program, educational support groups, individual counseling programs, etc.).Students in Tier 3 (approximately 5% of the population) are considered at "elevated risk" and will be provided with access to more intensive interventions, which may include a referral to a therapeutic provider in the State College community.Students that fall in the Tier 2 or 3 brackets will be contacted by their school counselor to discuss the results of the survey. Parents and guardians will be contacted immediately for any student in the Tier 3 range.Who will have access to the results of the screening?School counselors and administrators will have access to the results. Teachers will not have access to this information and will be consulted only if a support system is put in place in collaboration with the student and his or her family.Will the results of the screening be kept in students' permanent academic file?No. The information gathered through this process will not be part of any student's academic records. All data related to Universal Screening is confidential in nature and will never be shared with outside parties (i.e. prospective post-secondary schools).
Last Modified on September 21, 2020