Dear County and District Superintendents, Charter School Administrators, and School Principals:
Seventh Annual Student Mental Wellness Conference: September 7–8, 2023
I am excited to invite you and your staff to the seventh annual Student Mental Wellness Conference, Promoting Student and Staff Mental Wellness and Improving School Climate, which is hosted by Wellness Together School Mental Health in partnership with the California Department of Education (CDE). The international conference will be held in person at the Anaheim Convention Center in Orange County on September 7–8, 2023, with an option for virtual attendance.
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has declared our children’s mental health crisis a national emergency. The compounding stresses that our students and their families face, combined with the lasting trauma of the global pandemic, elevate the imperative to ensure California schools offer comprehensive mental health services.
Student health and wellness is a top priority of my administration; we all understand that students must be healthy—emotionally and physically—before they can thrive academically. Simply put: We must ensure that our schools prioritize student and staff wellness as the essential prerequisite for academic achievement. This is the reason our partnership with Wellness Together is so important. The evidence-based tools, programs, and approaches that will be highlighted throughout this conference can be adapted to meet the specific needs of communities throughout our state. Perhaps more importantly, this conference gives us the opportunity to learn from each other. The connections forged during the conference can become the type of energized communities of practice that create real models for change in our field and beyond.
The conference includes workshops, panels, and presentations from leading experts at the intersection of education and mental health. Conference attendees will have a chance to learn how to expand best practices, establish and strengthen support networks, and expand school-based community mental health resources.
Keynote speakers include California Surgeon General Dr. Diana Ramos and Deputy Assistant Secretary Katy Neas from the U.S. Department of Education’s Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and more speakers will be announced as we approach the conference dates.
I am grateful to partner with Wellness Together to host this event, and I encourage the participation of local educational agencies from across our state and beyond. For more information on the conference, please visit the Wellness Together Student Mental Wellness Conference web page at https://www.wellnesstogether.org/conference.
I hope you will consider sending a team from your county, district, or school site to this conference to help build a foundation of wellness for our school communities.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction