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School Board is promoting mental health, equity

To the editor:

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is well-regarded research in the psychology community. Maslow’s theory is often seen in the form of a pyramid. It suggests that humans have basic needs that must be met before moving on to the next level of functioning. Our most basic needs, include our physical needs; food, clothing, and shelter. Next, we have safety needs. Followed by love and belonging; friendship and connection can be included in this need. Once these needs are each met, we can move on to esteem needs; such as respect, strength, and recognition. Only if we achieve all of these needs stated before, can we move on to self-actualization or simply put become the best we can be.

I mention Maslow’s hierarchy of needs because it is with this framework we can look at the current ISD 88’s work on mental health and equity within our schools. In order for our students to succeed they need to have their basic needs met. They can not become the best students possible until or unless their needs are met. The public school is required to educate each student to the best of their ability. This often means implementing things like individualized education plans, providing free and reduced lunches, offering mental health and counseling services, as well as paraprofessional services. The CTE Center is another recent addition that allows for equity among students and helps those that otherwise may not be able to receive additional education or training after school. These students now have a pathway to a successful career.

If we look at mental health concerns within the school, the Centers for Disease Control indicates that 1 out of 6 children in the United States currently have a diagnosed mental health disorder. Two out of 3 children will experience at least one traumatic event by the time they turn 16. Providing mental health services for our children has been shown to have positive effects on behavior, attendance, graduation rate, and academics.

The current ISD 88 School Board recognizes the importance of addressing mental health and equity within our schools. Their vision for our school community is admirable. I believe Steve Gag, Amanda Groebner and Melissa Sunderman have earned continued support. I encourage you to vote for them and the upcoming school referendum.

Katie Dorschner

New Ulm

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