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Partners in Education: Bringing the Yale Child Study Center into Local Schools

September 20, 2016
by Rachel Horsting

The Yale Child Study Center (YCSC) is well known for its work in early childhood education and promoting the social and emotional development of children in schools. What is less known is that our faculty actually provide onsite training and consultation to area schools, on topics developed through collaboration with the school's leadership and professional staff.

Called Partners in Education (PIE), the mission is to collaborate with schools to optimize the mental health, educational and overall developmental potential of students. We contribute by offering professional development based on child and adolescent developmental principles and evidence-based clinical care.

Mary Gunsalus, now entering her third year as Coordinator of Partners in Education, is passionate about clinicians and educators working together. She has decades of experience in special education, partnering with public schools (including New Haven Public Schools), and teaching children with a range of mental health needs in YCSC's School in the Children's Psychiatric Inpatient Service which she has directed since 1999.

Because of the philosophy of partnership, schools determine the information the teachers and leadership are interested in. The faculty who come to work at the school create opportunities for highly relevant discussions relevant to teachers' experiences, providing both a theoretical foundation and practical classroom strategies from their clinical work.

Highlights from the 2015-2016 Academic Year, with thanks to the faculty who dedicated their time and expertise.

West Haven Public School Speaker Series

YCSC collaborators included Dorothy Stubbe, MD; Denis Sukhodolsky, PhD; Megan Tudor, PhD; Leah Booth, MA, CCC-SLP; Jean Adnopoz, MPH; and Michelle St. Pierre, LCSW

Topics included:

  • Risk Assessment
  • Understanding Disruptive Behaviors,
  • Strategies for Social Communication in Mainstream Settings
  • Parent Engagement

North Haven Public School:

  • Ongoing training in Executive Function Skills, Disorders and Interventions for special and general education staff, provided by Denis Sukhodolsky, PhD
  • Early childhood education consultation for Preschool teaching and paraprofessional staff provided by Nancy Close, PhD and Carla Horwitz, EdD
  • ASD Assessment and Interventions led by James McPartland, PhD, Kathy Koenig, MSN, APRN and Jennifer Foss-Feig, PhD

The best part of the work is getting feedback from our school partners that our services were valuable to their practice and their students.

"Excellent information with a great balance of factual information and real life examples. I can apply this learning within my classroom. Wish we had more time."

"I have a broader understanding of Executive Function and how it can impact behavior within my classroom. Learned helpful strategies."

"This is a great step forward. The more we can learn from our Yale partners the more we can grow in our profession.

Moving forward for 2016-2017

In addition to continuing the West Haven Partnership and Speaker Series, PIE is forming a partnership with South Windsor around school avoidance and refusal.

Submitted by Rachel Horsting on September 19, 2016