Boston Public School students are in the homestretch of the academic year. Under the best of circumstances, looming final exams and grades are a stressful time for students. Enter the complexities and life stressors that many students in our school system face, and the challenge to achieve and thrive becomes much more difficult.
Traumatic events, both in the headlines and outside of public view, happen every day, affecting students and impacting their ability to learn. Half of the students in the Boston Public School system live in economically disadvantaged homes. At least 4,200 are homeless. Facing a steady drumbeat of abuse, neglect, hunger, unresolved immigration status, or housing insecurity, our students bring to school many challenges. These obstacles can stand in the way of successfully completing their year and achieving the outcomes they should.
Importantly, these different circumstances point to the vital role psychologists and social workers play in helping students to be ready and able to learn in the classroom. For too long, these professionals have been thought to be an expendable, nice-to-have resource. The truth is that many students in urban schools simply cannot function without the crucial services provided by skilled — and licensed — mental health professionals.