Harlandale ISD, Early Alert to Launch Social Emotional Learning Student Check-In Platform
With the number of suicide attempts rising steadily throughout the country, Harlandale ISD has begun working toward a more proactive approach to supporting the mental health needs of students with the help of the Social Emotional Learning student check-in platform, Early Alert.
Since 2018, Early Alert has been a leader in preventing university student suicide, according to its website. This year, the platform is expanding to K-12 schools, with Harlandale ISD being among the first school districts in Texas to utilize it. Early Alert will send weekly text messages to students for check-ins and instant referrals to support resources.
For Harlandale Director of Student and Family Support Services Reina Gallegos, the importance of checking in with students, even when they don’t show any outward signs of distress, is key.
“We do our best to create a one-to-one environment for our students, but checking in with more than 6,300 middle and high school students on an individual level is not something we can realistically do every week,” Gallegos said. “This platform has the potential to support each one of our students and will help us identify a student in crisis who, otherwise, may have gone unidentified.”
Students interested in using the mobile platform will enroll with parent permission and receive a text message from Early Alert once a week. Each week will focus on a different aspect of wellness: emotional, physical, financial or social. If a student replies in a way that suggests they are facing a challenge, Early Alert will instantly suggest support resources, both inside and outside the school. Students in a crisis are immediately connected with a trained crisis counselor who will provide support, assess risk and activate emergency resources if needed.
“We examined a number of systems and even tried out a few of them,” Gallegos said. “Early Alert will provide the highest level of support for our students. There is nothing more important than the lives of our students, and we are proud to be taking such a proactive approach to student wellness.”
Serving more than 6,300 students in grades 6-12, Harlandale Superintendent Gerardo Soto hopes the platform will make it easier for students and their families to connect with the right support resource when they need it most.
“We are a family here at Harlandale ISD, which means that it is up to each of us to look after one another,” said Superintendent Soto. “This platform is going to revolutionize how we support our students and their mental health, and cannot stress how much this will impact our community in the long run.”
Families interested in learning more about Early Alert can reach out to their child’s respective counselor.
Early Alert will launch for Harlandale ISD 6-12th grade students in December 2022.