SSPS:Crisis Intervention Team
Dealing with crisis and death are an inevitable part of living. Schools must be aware of the threats that exist which can create a school-wide crisis. At the school level it is important not to ignore the impact of death or a catastrophic event in order to assist in the healing process and stabilize the school function. School staff, students, and their families are impacted by these events that can be significantly disruptive and debilitating to the normal equilibrium of a school community. It is important that school district staff are organized, knowledgeable, trained, and skilled to respond to and provide appropriate crisis, grief, and trauma intervention services and programs to students, families, and staff in need. To effectively manage grief and/or trauma responses, following a death/crisis, it is critical that school staff be proactive in the delivery of services. Schools must have systematic procedures, trained/skilled staff, and a broad-based understanding of grief, trauma, and crisis intervention practices to effectively handle a crisis event. It is important that schools not wait until a tragedy occurs to develop procedures or train staff. Proactive thinking, planning, and organization are key to normalizing a crisis and returning a school to safe and calm operations. The program structure and procedures that follow allow our school district to be sensitive and responsive to the impact of death/crisis on students, parents, staff, and community.
PROGRAM STRUCTURE and SERVICE DELIVERY
The Pasco County model for crisis intervention is proactive and systematic in its delivery of services to schools. School-based and itinerant Student Services (SS) staff--in consultation with district and school administrative staff--provide grief counseling, trauma intervention, and postvention (i.e., after a death/crisis has occurred) services to the schools. The Pasco County model has TWO levels of intervention: SCHOOL-BASED/ITINERANT SS TEAM services and DISTRICT CRISIS INTERVENTION TEAM services. Each school has, in essence, their own SCHOOL-BASED Crisis Intervention Team (CIT), which includes their administrators, school counselors/career specialist, and their regular itinerant SS team members (school psychologist, school social worker, and school nurse). This school-based team is always the FIRST to be mobilized to deal with a crisis impacting a particular school. Often, a death or crisis event can be sufficiently handled by the school—based counseling staff and itinerant Student Services team members that serve a school. It may not be necessary to call out additional support from the District Crisis Intervention Team. The DISTRICT Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) is mobilized if the nature, intensity, scope, or impact of a crisis event or death(s) requires a broader level of crisis support services than can be provided by the school—based counseling department and itinerant SS team members that serve that school. The principal and the District CIT Coordinator determine the need for District CIT services as they consult and discuss the specifics of the crisis event (Refer to flow chart). The DISTRICT CIT consists of four (4) regional/GEOGRAPHIC TEAMS with 6-8 members per team. Geographic teams are assigned and provide services to a cluster of schools in their region. These teams include staff from the four areas of Student Services: school counseling, school psychology, school social work, and school nurse services. Each geographic team functions with a TEAM CAPTAIN(s) who consults with and assists the school principal and school / itinerant student services staff in the organization and delivery of CIT services. CRISIS INTERVENTION TEAM members--in conjunction with school—based counselors and itinerant Student Services team members--may provide the following services to schools and/or at the district level:
- LARGE GROUP PRESENTATIONS to students and staff: classroom presentations, faculty presentations, and group debriefing sessions.
- Structured GROUP COUNSELING and TRAUMA intervention services with students and staff.
- INDIVIDUAL GRIEF COUNSELING and TRAUMA intervention services with students and staff.
- PARENT notification, support, and resource/referral services to help them families work through the grief/trauma responses.
- REFERRALS to appropriate community resources; e.g., mental health centers, crisis centers, Red Cross, private practice therapists, Hospice , and etc.
- TRIAGE services to identify and assist at-risk, and ‘most’ exposed students, sibling, peers, and staff (i.e., individuals most impacted by the death).
- CONSULTATION with school-based and district office administrative staff regarding the need for District CIT services and to assist with the application of the CIT process.
- CONSULTATION with the EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM on staff needs related to death and crisis.
- MEDIA Consultation: consult with the principal and district office staff (Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent and Director of Communications as appropriate) on best practices for media access and interviews.
- DEBRIEFING sessions with school staff and CIT members.
- CIT TRAINING for school administrators and staff.
- CIT TRAINING for Student Services staff.
- CIT RESOURCES: providing CIT, Grief, and Trauma guides, manuals, and books to district, school—based staff, students and families as needed.
- DATA ANALYSIS: maintaining and analyzing data on district deaths and crises and improving or expanding crisis team and other district support services to meet those needs.
Communication Loop When A Crisis Occurs
- Principal contacts the regional LCED.
- District CIT Coordinator (Sr. Supervisor, Student Services) is back up
- Principal (or LCED*) contacts Regional CIT Coordinator.
- District CIT Coordinator (Sr. Supervisor, Student Services) is back up
- LCED may contact Regional CIT Coordinator in lieu of principal when needed.
- Regional CIT Coordinator completes the Initial Contact Sheet with principal (or LCED) to determine the scope and impact of the crisis. Even if it is determined that District CIT is not needed prior to step 3, inform Region CIT Coordinator of crisis and supports so that it can be documented and communicated to district.
- If it is determined there is no need for District CIT:
- The Regional CIT Coordinator summarizes the information from the initial contact sheet and sends in an email to district administration (District CIT Coordinator, (Sr. Supervisor), Director of OSSPS, ASSA, Communications).
- District CIT Coordinator sends FYI email to SS Supervisors, CIT Members.
- The initial contact sheet is emailed to the designated OSSPS secretary.
- The principal communicates with School Based Staff and Student Services Team to inform them of the crisis incident and coordinate within school supports.
- If it is determined there is a need for the District CIT:
- The Regional CIT Coordinator completes the remainder of the initial contact sheet to gather more information and coordinate the intervention team(s).
- The Principal initiates the school phone tree and Connect Ed, which includes itinerant student services staff, as well as other necessary communications.
- Regional CIT Coordinator contacts District CIT Coordinator (Sr. Supervisor) and initiates Call Out to CIT Captain for the affected region(s). The CIT Captain contacts the team members. District CIT Coordinator contacts Director of OSSPS, other SS Supervisors, and sends FYI email to all District CIT members and Communications. LCED contacts Assistant Superintendent Student Achievement (ASSA). ASSA contacts Superintendent Staff as needed. The SS Supervisors follow up with school based SS team at the affected schools.
Communication Loop During a Crisis
- The Principal, LCED, Regional CIT Coordinator, and CIT Captain are in ongoing contact through the intervention process. The Regional CIT Coordinator is in regular communication with the District CIT Coordinator (Sr. Supervisor of Student Services) who communicates with Superintendent Staff and Directors.
- Information is communicated to others as needed.
Communication Loop After a Crisis
- The Regional CIT Coordinator summarizes initial contact sheet, call out procedures, and intervention services and sends email District CIT Coordinator (Sr. Supervisor of Student Services) who communicates with Superintendent Staff and Directors. All Documentation (including CIT Summary and Principal Feedback) is emailed to the designated OSSPS secretary with cc to District CIT.
- The secretary records the documentation in the database.
- CIT Coordinator emails list of faculty who may need additional support to EAP.