As school started this year, many new faces entered the building. Some of these were freshmen and new students, but there was a change that may have gone unnoticed by returning students.
Recently, Central York School District has been working to bring students that were receiving support outside of their buildings back into their schools. In order to accomplish this goal, there have been a few changes made to the upper 600 wing. A couple of teachers, Mr. Ensminger and Mr. Carl, moved out of their rooms to provide space for the new classes that would be added to the high school. The purpose of these rooms was to provide services to students who need behavioral or emotional support.
To give these students the resources they need, Central York had to look outside of its typical staff. The district eventually found a program called Laurel Life that would be a good fit for the students’ needs. Laurel Life is a non-profit organization that provides mental health and behavioral services in home, community, educational, and office settings throughout Central Pennsylvania.
Principal Ryan Caufman explained why Laurel Life was chosen.
“We’ve contracted with Laurel Life because they can provide all of the resources that we need to provide to all of the students in those classrooms.”
There are about 30 students currently in the Laurel Life program. However, the group may grow to include more students.
Caufman clarified, “We can help if anyone else is identified or we could help a ninth grader next year or new student that moves in.”
If more students are identified, each classroom can hold up to 15 students per class period.
The goal of the program is to equip students with the resources and skills they need to work through various situations in their lives. They learn these skills through meeting individually with the teachers and participating in skills groups.
The team that works with these individuals is lead by Ms. Saige Hilsinger, who is also a therapist that works with the individuals in the program. She has been working with Laurel Life for almost three years.
Hilsinger’s job is to “communicate with our school liaison”.
“I’m kind of like the middle person between the school and our team. As a therapist, I run social skills groups and meet with students individually,” she said.
Along with her team, Hilsinger has been working to help students overcome the daily struggles they may face. The students seem to have been doing well in the program.
Hilsinger recalls, “Seeing kids do well with school and come in and tell me about some of the strategies they’ve learned to take home and deal with any issues that they’re having.”
So far, the students have been able to connect with the teachers in the program and learn from them, and the teachers have been enjoying their time at the high school.