MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) says the well-being of its students is a top priority.
As part of the district's increased efforts to support student mental health, MCPS is having all students in kindergarten through 11th grade take an age-appropriate wellness survey.
An MCPS spokesperson tells FOX 5 that "the purpose of the survey is to provide the district with county-wide student voice data that will serve to inform strategic planning in the key focus area of student mental health and well-being. Additionally, school leadership teams will have access to their school-specific data, so they can leverage it to drive their well-being planning for the 2022-2023 school year."
The spokesperson said that the survey is anonymous and is intended to produce a "bassline picture" of how students are feeling after the pandemic.
Initially, students' responses will be visible to just district leadership and school-based leadership teams. The spokesperson said that the county anticipates sharing the data with its partners in health and human services as part of an ongoing collaboration.
"We will work with our general counsel with respect to sharing the data with the public," the spokesperson explained. "When the data is shared, it will be in the aggregate so as not to be identifiable."
"We anticipate the results will be available mid-summer and that school teams will use them to identify tangible school wellness goals and formulate planning in alignment to the needs raised by their students," the MCPS official continued. "The district will use this data, as well as other multiple measures, as we engage in strategic mental health and well-being planning over the summer and into the school year. The data will assist in identifying key next steps for district leadership as we support our schools and communities."
MCPS also told FOX 5 that the school system collected student voice data on well-being "years ago" and that it’s done at any cost. Concerned parents also asked what would happen if a student gave a concerning response.
The County said, "If a child were to express thoughts of self-harm, the in-school well-being teams are prepared to develop interventions and socio-emotional supports for the student in multiple ways, including referrals to the Montgomery County Crisis Center,"