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California Department of Education
Official Letter
California Department of Education
Official Letter
August 19, 2021

Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and High School Principals:

2021 Annual Student Mental Wellness Conference: Promoting Student Mental Wellness and Improving School Climate

We invite you to participate in the annual Student Mental Wellness Conference: Promoting Student Mental Wellness and Improving School Climate. The conference is co-sponsored by Wellness Together School Mental Health and the California Department of Education and will take place on September 8–10, 2021.

Before COVID-19, we were keenly aware that many of our students were struggling with their mental health. We recognized that there was a high percentage of students whose issues went undetected, undiagnosed, and unaddressed. The impacts of COVID-19 and social unrest have magnified the need for supports and services. The delivery of these supports and services has also changed, and there are new barriers we face as we attempt to connect to them. Our Wellness Together partners have been providing telebehavioral health services before COVID-19 and are leaders in the state on this practice.

Without a doubt, we must lean in and find effective and equitable ways to support our students so they are empowered to unpack the myriad challenges brought on by our current health and racial crises. As we join together to navigate these challenging times, we must place mental health as a top priority.

This year’s conference will feature Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, President of the California State Board of Education (see the CDE California State Board of Education web page at https://www.cde.ca.gov/BE/); Dr. Pedro Noguera, the Distinguished Professor of Education at the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and Faculty Director for the Center for the Transformation of Schools at the University of California, Los Angeles (see the UCLA Center for the Transformation of Schools web page at http://transformschools.ucla.edu/); Angie Thomas, New York Times best-selling author; Dr. Marc Brackett, Founder and Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and a Professor in the Child Study Center of Yale University; and many other renowned speakers.

The principal focus of this three-day virtual conference is to identify successful ways to support students who may have mental health needs and to discover new ways to keep them engaged in learning despite any behavioral difficulties they may be experiencing. This conference will help us learn strategies to improve mental wellness for students, staff, and families.

Our collaborative efforts to support student academic success are more effective when individual mental health needs are met. This conference will both inspire and assist education and community partners to identify systematic strategies that support student and staff mental wellness. State and national subject matter experts will share the latest research, evidence-based programs, and promising practices designed to create safe and nurturing environments.

Together, we will continue to advocate for the mental wellness of California’s students, families, and educators!

For more information on the conference, please visit the Wellness Together Conference web page at https://www.wellnesstogether.org/conference.

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact Monica Nepomuceno, Education Programs Consultant, School Health and Safety Office, by email at mnepomuceno@cde.ca.gov.

Sincerely,

Tony Thurmond
State Superintendent of Public Instruction

TT:mn
2021-01874
Last Reviewed: Thursday, August 19, 2021

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