Rearranging space no longer in use, Sackets Harbor Central School District is offering an area for students to receive help with various issues.

District officials created the Sackets Support Center. It takes up the space previously used by a computer lab and the former Distance Learning Room.

“In the spring of 2020, the [novel coronavirus] pandemic threw everyone for a loop, including teachers, students and school administrators. Going into this new school year, learning loss aside, the biggest concern for educators at the moment is mental health and the well-being of students who, for some, the emotional toll of the pandemic is still unknown,” according to a story published Sept. 11 by the Watertown Daily Times. “This fall, some schools are using stimulus money to bolster mental health supports, either adding hours for existing counselors, hiring more or creating safe spaces for students in need. The Sackets Harbor Central School District is not only shifting things around so the school psychologist has more time to do her job, it has also repurposed the computer lab that was basically made obsolete by individual Chromebooks as well as the former Distance Learning Room into a space known as the Sackets Support Center. A place for students to go for help with academics as well as to talk through the things they’re dealing with in their personal lives, the center was a direct result of school stakeholder feedback that kids need more emotional and academic support, a more concerted focus to meet kids where they’re at.”

This is an excellent idea, one we hope proves fruitful for Sackets Harbor Central School District. Providing students with one area where they can get help with classroom work or talk about some personal problems they’re experiencing is an effective way for administrators, faculty members and staffers to let children know they care.

Some districts across the country overdue it, in a way, with offering support. Virtually every aspect of schooling for students is presented as a crisis. What used to be routine phases of student life now come off as traumas, and many young people come to believe they are.

But at the same time, monitoring the mental health of children is essential. Identifying their concerns without planting unwarranted fears in them is the best method of ensuring they have access to good resources.

“A lot of kids will come in and out of the Sackets Support Center in a day, and many of them will visit the ‘puzzle table.’ Imagine a thousand puzzle pieces spread out on a card table, and kids hovering over them, trying to find just the right piece,” an article published Monday by North Country Public Radio reported. “It’s something to do while talking about an issue, a less stressful way for kids to socialize. In the two-room Sackets Support Center, there’s also has a hot chocolate station, lots of tables for working and playing games, and a plethora of seating options: pillows, rocking chairs, beanbags. It’s designed to be a haven, a place for middle and high school students to go when they need space, quiet, connection …”

We commend authorities at Sackets Harbor Central School District for their innovative method of serving their students. This new facility should be embraced by the young people there as a place to work out problems and attain some peace of mind.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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