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Bridget Fiore Lt. Chuck Balaj, Amy Samosky, Officer Sarah Whitaker, Emily Mongelli

Oakwood Schools is partnering with Oakwood Safety to provide another layer of protection for students who have experienced a traumatic event.

With support from the Montgomery County Educational Service Center, the District is participating in the Ohio Handle With Care program, a collaborative effort between schools, law enforcement and mental health agencies aimed at ensuring children who are exposed to adverse events receive appropriate assistance and are successful at school. The District created a similar partnership between families and the schools last year.

“Our internal Handle with Care initiative allows families to reach out to the Social Emotional Learning team as a way of requesting additional care and support for their student.  Working with Oakwood Safety is an additional layer to this process to ensure the continuity of care for our students,” SEL Coordinator Amy Samosky said.  

With the state’s program, Oakwood Safety will notify Oakwood’s SEL team if an Oakwood Schools student is exposed to violence or trauma.  The student’s teachers will be alerted to the student’s name along with a message that simply reads “Handle with Care.”  No specific information on the situation will be provided.  Teachers can then observe the student and provide support as needed.

“While we will not be receiving specifics about the situation, knowing the student was involved in an adverse event will allow our teachers to be more mindful and intentional with the student.  Our teachers have been trained to reach out to counselors or the SEL team should they observe behaviors that appear to be out of the norm for the student,” Samosky said.

If students need additional services, the District can work with the family to make sure the student has the tools and resources necessary to be successful in the educational setting despite the traumatic circumstances they may have endured.  Samosky believes this new tool will allow Oakwood Schools to partner with families and first responders to continue to do what is best for students. 

“Having an internal system in which parents and caregivers can reach out to the District along with an external system in which the District will receive notifications from Oakwood Safety will allow us to meet the needs of the whole child, prioritizing social-emotional, physical and safety needs along with academic achievement.”