Health and Wellness
Prioritizing the physical, mental, and social/emotional health and well-being of our students will enable them to thrive academically and reach their full potential.
Mental Health Support
The global pandemic, resulting school closures, and economic insecurity for families have had a devastating impact on many young people, leading to a silent epidemic in mental health. Although in the last David Douglas School District budget we prioritized hiring more school counselors, this was before the COVID-19 pandemic. It wasn’t enough then, and it certainly is not even close to enough now. We must work with Multnomah Education Service District (MESD), Multnomah County, and the State of Oregon to work with school districts to fund more mental health support. We know there are likely new dollars coming through federal COVID-19 relief, and I will be looking to put those funds to work immediately for students' mental health needs, which will require more than just hiring specialists (there aren’t enough of them, as anyone who has tried to get a counseling appointment for their kid knows). We’ll need wrap around support that includes community-based organizations and other culturally-specific responses to address this silent epidemic.
Physical Activity and Sports
Too many of our district's children have been inactive and sedentary over the past year, with schools, playgrounds, and sports facilities largely closed. As weather is now warming and COVID-19 cases are on the downturn, David Douglas School District has an opportunity to encourage physical activity and partner with youth organizations, sports clubs, SUN, community gardens, culturally specific organizations, and other services to get our kids moving again. We must seek to provide universal play for all of our kids at every grade level. I will advocate for these programs to immediately commence, ensuring we adhere to health guidance to reduce coronavirus spread.
Sexual and Reproductive Health
When I first joined the David Douglas Board of Directors in 2017, ours was the only district in the greater Portland / Tri-County area that was not providing full reproductive services and birth control in our school-based health clinics. Thankfully, our Board—which represented opinions across the political spectrum—unanimously voted to overturn this policy and we now provide a full range of health services in David Douglas School District. We have seen teen pregnancy rates decrease as a result.
In adopting a new health curriculum, we also ensured all genders and sexual orientations were truthfully and respectfully represented, changed our dress code to address sexism, and strengthened policy around sexual harassment, an issue that has been (and still is) an ongoing problem within the David Douglas School District as it is throughout the country.