Weekly roundup: OCDE and partners unveil mental health toolbox, teacher pens acclaimed novel, and more

Seeking to buffer some of the pandemic’s impact on children and teens, the Orange County Department of Education has collaborated with CHOC and the nonprofit Western Youth Services to develop a new online toolbox packed with self-paced trainings, apps and other mental health resources.

RESET Toolbox homepageAs the Daily Pilot reported this week, the RESET Toolbox was created to engage and support young people as they cope with social isolation, toxic stress, economic hardship and other adverse experiences. The longterm goal is to help participants build resilience and become better equipped to succeed during and after the COVID-19 era.

RESET stands for “Resilient: Essential Social Emotional Trainings.” The initiative is funded by the Orange County Health Care Agency with money from the federal CARES Act.

“We surveyed teachers, parents, community members and community-based organizations on what it is that they need, and then we found resources to provide them in the RESET Toolbox,” Lorry Belhumeur, chief executive of Western Youth Services, told the Daily Pilot.

You can check out the toolbox yourself and sign up for a tour or trainings at www.resettoolbox.com.

And here are some of the other stories we’ve been following this week.

  • English teacher Ernesto Cisneros set out to write a book that was relatable to his students at Mendez Fundamental Intermediate School. What resulted was “Efrén Divided,” an acclaimed novel about a boy whose mother is detained by immigration agents. The fictional work was inspired by his own family and experiences in Santa Ana.
  • With its limited COVID-19 vaccine doses, county health officials have prioritized candidates who are at least 65 years old after concluding that age group is particularly vulnerable to complications. Educators and food service workers can expect to wait at least two more weeks, County Health Officer Dr. Clayton Chau told supervisors.
  • The 30,000-student Anaheim Union High School District has approved a tentative calendar that could reintroduce in-person instruction in a hybrid model on March 31. The plan is pending a review of health conditions and clearance from the school board on March 4.
  • In the Huntington Beach Union High School District, which currently offers in-person instruction through a hybrid model, a number of teachers have taken a leave of absence, citing medical reasons or child care issues.
  • Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Newhope Elementary fifth-grader Vivian Nguyen recently requested a new sound system to amplify the voices of student performers in her school’s multi-purpose room. It was an act of altruism that will reverberate throughout the campus for years to come.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.