Summer Resource Fair 2010
Ann Collaco coordinates school district mental health professionals
for the Mental Health Collaborative Program.

SPOTLIGHT 


Mental Health Collaborative Program Key Part of After School Success

Positive school attitudes and behaviors is a cornerstone of a successful after school program. To support students in academics, attendance, staying off drugs, promoting non-violence and family involvement is a program in place since 2010 called the Mental Health Collaborative Program (MHCP).

Leading this charge is Ann Collaco, a full-time school social worker dedicated to coordinating all aspects of this successful program whose preliminary findings look promising.

“I coordinate school district mental health professionals who are implementing activities that have a high need for mental health support at ten ExCEL sites,” said Collaco. “We provide support and resources to ensure activities are carried out. These mental health professionals serve as the liaison between the normal school day and the after school program creating alignment between the two.”

The program goals for 2011 12:

  • Provide mental health support for targeted elementary, middle, and high school students participating in the after school program.
  • Model healthy behaviors which will positively impact program climate and create safe emotional and social environments in the after school program.
  • Provide after school staff with access to direct consultation, including resources for students they work with and at least one professional development workshop.
  • Provide parents/caregivers with access to direct consultation, including linkages to citywide resources and at least one psycho-education workshop.

Collaco points to Wallenberg High School as a success story. “Our program gave them an opportunity to provide meaningful services around mental health supporting newcomers to our country who are Latino and Chinese,” said Collaco. “A group of 16 students were sponsored for two months by MHCP. They were introduced to the school culture and we provided them with resources to navigate the system. They began attending the after school clubs and were exposed to academic enrichment, social opportunities and they found friends through peer support. They enjoyed it so much that after their sponsored time was over, they continued with the program.”

She said that the intent of the program was working beyond expectation, a win-win across the board for everyone: the after school program, for MCHP, for the school, and more importantly for the students. “When you think about folks coming to America and not knowing the language, it so important to have an adult ally,” said Collaco. “We helped these marginalized students through their cultural barrier to succeed in school and that feels great.”

 

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  Student, Family and Community Support DepartmentSan Francisco Unified School District