Battle Ground school initiatives keep tabs on student mental health

The centers help implement new remedial strategies in the district, such as its Positive Behavior Intervention and Support Methods, which provide step-by-step counseling for students struggling with repeated behavioral problems.

“Before, you would see the same child over and over again,” said Tom Adams, director of student services at Battle Ground. “Now with these rooms, where we have the opportunity to reflect and have restorative conversations, you get to know the child better through the guidance of an adult trained in working with these children.”

The multiple levels of the program aim to start students off with simple reminders and restorative exercises, then engage in more individualized discussions about mental health practices and counseling if issues persist, Adams said.

In 2014, Battle Ground received a $2.5 million grant under a five-year program called Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education involving the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and two other Washington school districts.

Although the grant money ended in 2019, Battle Ground has sought to maintain these programs in its schools, primarily through levy funding. Just before his replacement levy was passed in November 2021, Superintendent Denny Waters listed the upkeep and expansion of the district’s social-emotional learning centers as an absolute necessity included in levy funding.

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