Introducing realigned classroom education and a new level of programming…

In early 2020, Erika’s Lighthouse published our new strategic plan: Vision 2025: Expand, Empower, Engage. We are thrilled to demonstrate how we are fulfilling our ambitious vision – starting with our classroom education programs.

Realigned Efforts

The Erika’s Lighthouse team first focused on improving accessibility, understanding, and implementation of our programs. Through a new and continuously improving Resource Portal design, new and updated resources, and offering formalized staff training, we are meeting those goals.

But, another challenge was to determine how to better leverage our hundreds of resources to be more efficient and effective for school communities. Our program realignment effort has helped tremendously to show districts, schools, and educators how they can more practically use our resources in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.

We ensured all of our resources work seamlessly between our programs:

  • Handouts and information sheets can be used by educators, students and families without any updates or customizations,
  • They can be viewed as “levels” and work as standalone opportunities or together to create a comprehensive program year after year that advances learning and understanding,
  • Are evidence-informed and skills-based to integrate and build from other lessons and curricula,
  • All have a shared vocabulary supporting every stakeholder at every level at every school.

Going Upstream

But those have not been our only enhancements. Launching this summer, Erika’s Lighthouse is proud to offer a new program – even more “upstream” than our existing classroom education – called Level I: We All Have Mental Health.

This new level to our already existing lineup is ideal for grades 4-6 and helps students understand the difference between everyday feelings and overwhelming feelings. This program is ideal for schools looking to bridge their existing social-emotional learning curriculum with focused mental health education. And, just like our other efforts, this program is free – always.

We are thrilled to extend this opportunity to every school in the country looking to support younger students that are grappling with mental health challenges post-pandemic. By partnering with the Anna Freud Centre in the United Kingdom, Erika’s Lighthouse is bringing their phenomenal animated video to American classrooms with our own culturally competent lesson plans.

Leveraging Levels

In addition to Level I: We All Have Mental Health, Erika’s Lighthouse is offering districts, schools, and educators a suite of programs designed to support inclusive school environments. This new program will sit beside our existing classroom education efforts with our middle school Program being rebranded as Level II: Depression Awareness and the high school program as Level III: Depression Education & Suicide Awareness. As always, our resources are geared towards every stakeholder in the building: staff, educators, families and, of course, the students we are all working to support.

I encourage you to get a sneak peek by visiting our website with teaser videos, program materials, and more – all designed for school communities.

We know the 2021-22 school year will be a transition for many – but it can also be transformative. An opportunity to take a new approach to school mental health with a focus on prevention, education, and empowerment. Every child deserves good mental health – so join us to #GetDepressionOutoftheDark!

Author: Brandon Combs, Executive Director