Join the Forum for Student Mental Health

The Forum for Student Mental Health is hosting a series of events that focus on practices developed to proactively address mental health related issues in schools featuring district and nationally published speakers.

Previous Webinars

Session 1: Best Practice Considerations for Student Suicide Risk Assessment - Question and Answer. 

June 10, 1 pm. EST

Guest speaker: Will Gordillo, former Executive Director for Exceptional Student Education for Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Palm Beach County Schools.

In his four decades in K-12, Mr. Gordillo has developed extensive expertise in the provision of programs and services for students with emotional behavioral disabilities, autism spectrum disorders and other learning differences.  He has taught special populations of students at risk including those receiving special education services and English language learners.  Mr. Gordillo was also a principal of a high school devoted to students with behavioral health issues.  He now serves a senior associate at Public Consulting Group.

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Session 2: Dallas ISD Shares their vision for reorganizing student mental health services.

June 17, 1 pm. EST  

Guest speaker: Ms. Connie Rodriquez of Dallas ISD is the Director of Psychological and Social Services and has led a visionary effort to reconfigure how Dallas ISD provides mental health services to students.

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Session 3: Mental Health and Threat Assessment; the Salem-Keizer framework for comprehensively addressing school safety and prevention. 

June 30, 1 pm. EST  

Guest speaker: Mr. John Van Dreal, is an author, psychologist, and architect of the Salem-Keizer Model for Threat Assessment. 

Mr. Van Dreal has more than 30 years of experience in threat assessment, management, psycho-educational evaluation, crisis intervention, behavioral intervention, and security and risk management systems consultation. He is recognized internationally as an expert in threat assessment and as a pioneer of multidisciplinary and multi-agency threat assessment that enlists community services in a holistic process. His model includes an equity lens, restorative practice, trauma informed prevention, and safeguards against implicit bias

His book Assessing Student Threats: Implementing the Salem-Keizer System 2nd Edition is recognized as a leading guide to implement a comprehensive threat assessment approach to student and school safety.

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Session 4: Equity and Teamwork in Portland: District Procedures and School-wide MTSS for Suicide/Threat Prevention.

July 8, 1 pm. EST  

Guest speakers: 

  • James McGee, Grant High School Principal Fall of 2020; Lincoln High School Vice-Principal and Brothers of Color group facilitator 2017-2020.
  • Ryan McCants, Lincoln High School Social Studies Teacher; Equity Team Member.
  • Jim Hanson, School Psychologist Lincoln High School.
  • Mila Rodriguez-Adair, Portland Public Schools district-wide social worker focused on supporting students of color and LGBTQIA+ students and families at all systems levels including suicide prevention and intervention.
  • Amy Ruona, Portland Public Schools Student Success and Health Department.
  • Joel Warnock, Portland Public Schools Threat Assessment Coordinator.


Join a Portland Public Schools (PPS) team from Portland, Oregon as we walk through suicide and threat prevention and intervention efforts with a focus on multi-tiered systems of support and cultural responsiveness. We will examine the critical relationship between district-wide protocols as they translate into a school's MTSS program including Student Intervention Team (SIT) mechanisms for providing supports to students. Real life scenarios will be discussed and opportunities for some group interaction will be provided. PPS is the largest school district in the state of Oregon.

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Session 5: Mental Health Considerations for Schools.

July 22, 1 pm. EST

Guest speaker: Stephanie Peterson, Texas School Safety Center (TxSSC), Mental Health SME.

Stephanie Peterson is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) who earned her Master of Arts degree at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. She has extensive clinical experience working with various populations including children, adolescents, families, and adults in a variety of settings. Stephanie has a passion for sharing her expertise through training and speaking on topics related to children’s mental health; she has provided these trainings for school district staff, law enforcement, military personnel, parents, professionals, and students. She is currently at Texas State University in the Texas School Safety Center and serves as their mental health Subject Matter Expert training specialist.

The COVID-19 pandemic and absence from school has impacted the mental health of students and staff and has brought unprecedented changes to schools. With the return to school, whether in-person, or a mixture of remote and in-person instruction, what can be expected and planned? This presentation will give an overview of topics that affect student mental health and will provide key takeaways for staff.

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Session 6: Tackling the Unfunded Mandate

Expanding Reimbursement for Mental Health Services in Schools: Opportunities, Obstacles and Outcomes

August 5th, 1 pm. EST

Guest speaker: Dr. Melinda Hollinshead, Jessica Rod.

Uncover how, at all levels of government, momentum around access to mental health services for school aged children has driven decisions around program expansion, and how the current COVID crisis is further accelerating those discussions. Delve into real world examples of how school districts are adapting and managing reimbursement in this rapidly changing landscape.

Dr. Melinda Hollinshead holds a PhD in Public Administration and has more than 25 years of health policy and program experience at the national, state and local levels, both in direct program administration as well as in research and program analysis. Dr. Hollinshead joined PCG in 2015 as a Senior Advisor and works closely with PCG project management teams around the country. Prior to joining PCG, Dr. Hollinshead spent 12 years overseeing the administration of the School Based Claiming program for Arizona Medicaid.

Jessica Rod has been with PCG for over 15 years, working with school districts and state agencies on Medicaid fee-for-service claiming. Her current role supports PCG’s Medicaid claiming efforts with 1,650+ school districts across 26 states, to include compliance, product development, and program expansion.


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About the Forum for Student Mental Health

The Forum for Student Mental Health is a virtual community featuring events and activities hosted courtesy of Public Consulting Group (PCG) on the Microsoft Teams platform. It features content by district practitioners and leaders who wish to share best practices and programming with their fellow peer school districts and mental health organizations.