District expands mental health support for students

In January and March, the Fayetteville-Manlius School District welcomed three student engagement specialists to help support elementary students’ social, behavioral and mental well-being.

Each of the district’s three elementary schools, Enders Road, Fayetteville Elementary and Mott Road, has one student engagement specialist who works with the school’s student support team to supplement existing mental health services.

Student engagement specialists, provided through the district’s partnership with Onondaga County, identify and provide support to students with emotional or behavioral challenges. The specialists also assist with implementing targeted interventions and focus on collaborative problem solving, in-class support, and de-escalation.

“Mental health is a critical piece of early childhood development and we are pleased to offer this extra layer of support to help ensure the success of our younger students.” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Craig J. Tice. “While our breadth of services continues to expand, we remain steadfast in our efforts to enhance the emotional health and wellness of our entire school community.”

The addition of the student engagement specialists is part of the district’s growing list of mental health initiatives.

New supports at the middle schools and high school

Student Assistance Counselors

In fall 2023, the district established drop-in mental health services with student assistance counselors at F-M High School and Eagle Hill and Wellwood middle schools.

Two licensed social workers, (one who serves the high school and one who serves both middle schools), help offer students social and emotional support, and improve access to substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services. Students can schedule appointments and families/staff can also make referrals to the social workers. Additional information is available in each building’s counseling office. 

Mental Health Clinics

Through the district’s partnership with Onondaga County, the high school and middle schools will host mental health clinics provided by ARISE.

Students who are seeking therapeutic support outside of school will be able to receive that support in school, in an effort to minimize travel time for students. The district will supply the space for the clinics, but clinicians will bill families’ insurance plans for services rendered.

In February 2024, the county approved the district’s designated space for the clinics. The district is awaiting the arrival of county-hired clinicians to operationalize the clinics and begin providing services.

A portion of the district’s 2023-24 budget, approved by voters in May 2023, is allocated to maintaining and expanding the district’s mental health program and services.

More information about the district’s mental health resources and services are available on the Counseling Services page of the district website, including the 2023 Mental Health Brochure (Please note: student engagement specialists are referred to as Promise Zone specialists in the brochure).