Thursday, March 18, 2021
Oklahoma schools serve about 700,000 students with varying social, emotional and mental health needs. Untreated mental health issues in students impact educational success, as well as social and emotional well-being. In a post-COVID-19 world, addressing this unmet need where children are — in school — is critical to Oklahoma’s education and economic future.
To address these issues in a sustainable, systemic way, Oklahoma must pursue multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS). This approach is the best practice for aligning student needs with available community resources, connecting schools and communities in a shared cause. Only around 19% of students attend a school or district receiving funding to implement this framework, but significant effort has been made by state agency leaders to reach this point.
Solidifying the role of MTSS in Oklahoma requires additional alignment of local and state efforts, funding, and expansion of training and technical assistance capacity.