HISD supports necessary commitment to mental and physical health for district families

HISD is working to continue its expansion of non-instructional supports for students. These efforts continue to be informed by research, including a survey that pinpoints urgent needs of families across the district.

The survey from Rice University Kinder Institute’s Houston Education Research Consortium found mental and physical health support are among the highest need areas for students and parents.

“This year, HISD has prioritized supplemental resources to address mental and physical health through a variety of programs,” said Dr. Candice Castillo, Executive Officer of Student Support Services. “Additionally, HISD has increased the counseling and social work support and completed the expansion of having at least one wraparound specialist at every campus.”

In early November, the HISD School Board approved an investment to provide on-campus telehealth services for all students—to be rolled out in phases. The service will include access to licensed professionals for physical and mental health support. A one-time parental consent will need to be provided for students to be able to utilize this service on campuses.

In addition, these efforts are key in helping HISD identify organizations and community resources that can expand access to critical services.

“Our students deserve support beyond the classroom,” said Superintendent Millard House II. “This data collected will be crucial moving forward so that we can best help address these challenges our students and families are facing, and which continues to be exacerbated by the current environment we face.”

The HISD Student Needs Survey was sent to nearly 43,000 students in grades 3-12, 8,000 parents of students in grades pre-K-12, and 5,600 HISD staff across 269 campuses during the 2021-2022 school year. Participants were asked to identify needs across five categories: health, mental health, basic needs, home learning environment, and enrichment activities. Parents were also asked about legal services.

The findings show where additional resources are most needed. You can read the full report here: https://kinder.rice.edu/centers/houston-education-research-consortium.