There is a critical connection between behavioral health & wellbeing and academic success. The Behavioral Health Services (BHS) department of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) is comprised of licensed behavioral health providers supporting all BPS schools. Our mission is to ensure that BPS students have a safe and supportive school environment where they can be successful.
The BHS department is comprised of 69 school psychologists & 8 pupil adjustment counselors/school social workers. Together, we support all BPS schools to provide student-level services (e.g. counseling & interventions) and systems-level services (e.g. climate team facilitation). The comprehensive role (aligned with NASP Practice Model, NASW Standards for School Social Work & SSWA Role Description) of BHS staff within schools is intentionally supported to ensure access to high-quality, equitable behavioral health services for all BPS students.
The BHS department is guided by the tenets and domains of practice of the National Association of School Psychologists and the Safe and Supportive Schools Framework developed by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Behavioral Health and Public Schools Task Force.
Senior Director, Behavioral Health Services
Program Director, Behavioral Health Services
The Behavioral Health Services (BHS) department provides services and supports to all Boston Public Schools (BPS). In addition to serving as leaders and internal coaches for CBHM, services and supports provided by school psychologists include psycho-educational evaluations and social evaluations; crisis intervention; Student Support Team (SST) work; individual and group counseling; non-IEP counseling and skills groups; teacher, principal, and parent consultation; and professional development. Our goal is to create safe and supportive learning environments in which students may grow and thrive academically, personally, and socially. This includes providing the right amount of services and supports at the right time when a student absolutely needs them.
Our department is an integral part of the district crisis team, responsible for supporting school communities following large impact crises. In addition to providing services & supports within all BPS schools, the BHS department works closely with various partners to strengthen behavioral health supports available to our students & schools. This includes our partnership with Boston Children’s Hospital & UMass Boston to implement the Comprehensive Behavioral Health Model, as well as overseeing the Boston School-Based Behavioral Health Collaborative (BSBBHC).
CBHM is a multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) designed to promote students' social, emotional, and behavioral wellbeing. MTSS is a three-tier model of service delivery for educational and behavioral services in a school setting. This model is also often called Response to Intervention (RtI). In BPS, the Academic Achievement Framework (AAF) is a version of RtI focused on students' social and behavioral learning. The Comprehensive Behavioral Health Model (CBHM) is focused on students' social and behavioral learning. The CBHM Lighthouse model (left) shows our systematic process for creating safe and supportive learning environments in which students may grow and thrive academically, personally, and socially.
The Comprehensive Behavioral Health Model is based on the logic that the majority of students can and will be successful when provided with evidence-informed instruction and preventative interventions. Appropriate interventions and the use of data to assess progress help ensure that students who benefit from progressively more intensive services will not need them over the long-term. Highlighting the necessary actions as well as the desired outcomes at the district, school, and student levels, this logic model acts as a roadmap for this important work.
We use data-based decisions to determine which students need which tier of support. Universal screeners and progress monitoring tools such as the BIMAS-2 are utilized. The BIMAS-2 is a brief, repeatable multi-informant (teachers, parents, self) measure of behavior/social emotional learning skills that is useful for universal screening, progress monitoring, outcome assessment, and program evaluation. The BIMAS-2 operates on a web-based platform with an online Data Management System with dynamic analysis, graphing and reporting options (see report samples below). This allows the manipulation of data in a variety of ways in real time to assist in evidence-based decision-making within an Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS) framework.
In 2020, the Behavioral Health Services of BPS were awarded the NASP Excellence in School Psychologist Services Proficiency Award, given to districts that provide evidence of a solid foundation in the implementation of a system-wide and sustainable infrastructure to support students' behavioral health.