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Gator Wellness is a holistic approach dedicated to the mental and emotional wellness of students, families, and staff.
Through Gator Wellness, we focus on
The Gator Wellness Center is located at McAdams Junior High.
Gator Wellness is a proactive approach that is implemented from birth on and is a part of our everyday environment. The Social Emotional Learning framework supports early childhood, students, staff, families and the community. The overall vision for the program is "Wellness." Dickinson ISD is committed to the mental health awareness, education, and families of our students.
Through Gator Wellness, we focus on:
Dickinson ISD’s professional school counselors, licensed professional counselors (LPC) and licensed specialists in school psychology (LSSP) are implementing a three-tiered Mental Health Wellness Support System that includes:
Tier One - Proactive /Preventative Support and Resources
Tier Two - Mental Health First Aid
Tier Three - Crisis Response
P3 Campus allows students and families to report a wide range of concerns, from mental health situations to threats of violence. This system allows the reporter to be anonymous but gives the opportunity to identify if they choose. P3 campus can be for yourself, peers or family members. Please download the mobile app through the App Store on your device or access the direct link from any Dickinson ISD campus website.
Beginning in 2018-19, as a result of Hurricane Harvey, DISD applied for and was granted a ReBuild Texas Fund Grant in excess of $1 million dollars. We used these funds to hire an SEL specialist and a licensed professional counselor (LPC) as well as providing an extensive and comprehensive capacity building professional development program for our campus counselors and other staff.
Under the leadership of Mrs. Voelkel, DISD committed to continuing the SEL framework. Our framework is designed to help our Dickinson community gain the ability to holistically address the mental and emotional needs of our students. We help students, parents, teachers and staff in building resiliency skills for dealing with future traumas. We have received ongoing technical assistance from Mental Health America and work in close partnership with Galveston County Family Service Center.
We have developed a team that will help implement programs and become trainer of trainers so that the program is sustained.
Some of these trainings and or programs include:
Through our collaborative partnerships we will be able to:
Through our collaborative partnerships Dickinson ISD is able to provide evidence based interventions, preventative programming, and system supports that meet the individual social, emotional, and behavioral needs of our students, staff and community.
Dickinson ISD is thankful for the five Family Service Center therapists that are housed on our campuses. For more information on Family Service Center, please check out their website.
To refer your child for counseling services, please contact your campus school counselor. Family Service Center services all of Dickinson ISD.
Below are the Dickinson Family Service Center therapists.
Howdy! My name is Christopher Boulé and I am the new Family Service Center Therapist here at McAdams JHS. I am very excited to be joining this team and getting to work with the students and families here. I have been a counselor since 2011 in several different schools and residential treatment settings. I’m a Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2007 and got my Masters in counseling from UHCL. I’m married, have six kiddos and two dogs. I really love counseling and the way it can help students build positive skills, so that they can reach their full potential. If you want to chat more, feel free to stop by the counseling suite. See you around!
Communities In Schools – Bay Area (CIS-Bay Area) is a nationally recognized, nonprofit, drop- out prevention organization
dedicated to helping at- risk youth in Bay
Area Houston stay in school and successfully
learn in order to become productive future
citizens. We believe every child needs and
A personal one on one relationship with a
A safe place to learn and grow
A healthy start and a healthy future
A marketable skill to use upon graduation
A chance to give back to peers and the
Dickinson ISD has a CIS student support specialist on every campus. To learn more about Communities in Schools, please visit their website.
TCHATT is a school-based telemedicine service that will provide FREE access to behavioral health services for students.
Advantages of TCHATT:
Free – Visits are offered at no cost to the school district or student
Fast – Limited wait time between referral and initial evaluation of the student
Evidence-based treatment – Medication and/or therapy services are available
Convenient – Visits are conducted at the school decreasing the amount of time families are away from work and students are away from school to attend appointments
Secure – Health information shared over a secure telemedicine network
Community oriented – UTMB will help connect students to local mental health resources
For a referral to TCHATT services, please contact your child's school counselor.
You can find out more about services through UTMB on their website.
PREVENTION PROGRAM 1: AGES 3YRS-KINDERGARTEN-P.S. HAPPY BEAR
Our very friendly Happy Bear comes to visit schools with an instructor and together they teach a personal safety curriculum called P.S. It’s My Body! In this curriculum, children beginning at preschool age and used most often until 1st grade, are taught about welcome and unwelcome touches, saying No!, moving away and telling a trusted adult and they identify who these people are in their lives!
For the children in 1st Grade-7th Grade, we utilize the Play it Safe!® is a child abuse awareness and prevention program that incorporates age-appropriate scripts and movies to teach children how to reduce their risk of sexual and physical abuse, and sexual assault. It teaches them to recognize potentially abusive behavior, provides the tools to respond to threatening situations, and encourages them to report abuse to a trusted adult.
Play it Safe!® is an evidence-informed, age-appropriate risk reduction program for Pre-K through high school age students. Since 1983, more than 1.5 million children in north Texas have learned about personal safety from The Women’s Center’s Play it Safe!® program. Each grade level’s interactive curriculum speaks to children in a way that they can best learn and respond.
To find out more information about the Advocacy Center for Children of Galveston County please visit their website.
If you were unable to attend the presentation, here is the recording.
2021-2022 Child Body Safety Presentation
If you do not want your child to participate in the program, please contact the school counselor for an opt out form.
Dickinson ISD partners with Project Protect Our Children to provide preventative educational programs and awareness trainings to students and staff.
For more information about Project Protect Our Children please visit their website.
83rd Texas Legislature passed House Bill 1272 Texas Human Trafficking Prevention Task Force (Task Force) in coordination with TEA are charged to develop a list of key indicators that a person is a victim of human trafficking, develop a standardized curriculum and train school personnel to identify and assist victims of human trafficking.
Find More Information:
TEA: Human Trafficking of School-Age Children
Texas Attorney General: Human Trafficking
Texas School Safety Center: A Guide for Texas Education Professionals
Human Trafficking Power and Control Wheel (developed by Polaris)
US Dept of Justice Human Trafficking Information Page
National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments- Human Trafficking in American's Schools
National Missing and Exploited Youth- Human Trafficking
If you do not want your child to participate in the program, please see the school counselor for an opt out form.
Mary Valsin (aka Ms. V) is a Prevention Specialist for Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol (BACODA). She received her education at the University of Houston-Clear Lake with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Behavioral Science.
Her passion is helping students of all ages to identify the risk(s) of using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.
She plans and implements a Prevention Program, using the Positive Action Curriculum. This program encourages young people to maintain a healthy drug-free lifestyle while encouraging them to stay safe, focused and guides them towards healthy decision making.
Ms. V. as she is affectionately known is proud to announce that she has been providing services to students and staff in the Dickinson Independent School District for 5 ½ years. She has been in the field of Prevention for 8 ½ years.
Toya Jones, AA, CPS, CHW is a Certified Prevention Specialist for Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol (BACODA). She is also a Certified Community Health Worker.
Her goal is to continue to reach out to as many students as possible making them more aware of the harmful effects of tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.
She provides youth selected prevention services that promote a proactive process to address health and wellness for youth, families, and communities by enhancing protective factors that increase knowledge, skills, and attitudes for making healthy choices.
Ms. Jones is very proud of being in the Prevention Field for nearly 30 years of which ten (10) plus years have been spent on the campus of Dunbar Middle School.
Michelle Pettiett is a Prevention Specialist with Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol (BACODA). She has over 8 years working in the ATOD prevention field. She started working in prevention as a YPU. She later developed additional skills working as a YPS. Currently she provides prevention service on a YPI level in DISD. She is housed at the 9th Grade Center but will provide services to DHS as well as DALC.
Michelle brings to this position a willingness to help and offer support to students in need. She has an unwavering goal to help bring the best out of students while helping students visualize their dream’s ability to come true with hard work and perseverance.
Michelle holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from University of Clear Lake. She also is a Certified Mediator.
The Gulf Coast Center is our local mental health authority for Galveston County. For more information on what the Gulf Coast Center offers, please visit their website.
The Gulf Coast Center has a 24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 866-729-3848. Their mental health services include a 24-hour crisis hotline, emergency and stabilization services, inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care, counseling, and skills and education training. They serve adults, children, and adolescents.
The Resource Crisis Center offers a series of presentations and activities to Dickinson ISD to raise awareness, educate on the dynamics of domestic violence and sexual assault, and change social norms.
Healthy Relationships (45 minutes, ages 8-18): Learn the components of healthy relationships in your life along with setting personal boundaries.
Teen Dating Violence (Four 1-hour sessions, ages 14-18): A series that focuses on healthy relationships, building self esteem, and prevention of domestic violence and sexual assault within dating relationships.
To find out more about the Resource Crisis Center's presentations or services, please visit their website.
Dickinson ISD partners with DePelchin's Positive Parenting Program to provide a series of parenting workshops throughout the year.
ParentingHelp is a FREE program that gives parents the tools and support to influence good behavior in their children and prevent future problems from happening. We don’t tell you how to be a parent. Instead, we offer simple and proven ideas to help you deal with problem behavior, making raising your children easier and your whole family happier.
If you have a child between the ages of 0-17 years old and are feeling overwhelmed or concerned about your child’s behavior, ParentingHelp can assist. To learn more about this program and to register, call (713) 802-7777.
For more information about the Positive Parenting Program please visit their website.
For more information about DePelchin visit their website.
<< UNDER CONSTRUCTION >>
We are currently working on a series of videos to explain each of the areas listed below. Please stay tuned!
The Gator Wellness Center offers a variety of trainings to school staff and the community including:
Youth Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid
Psychological First Aid - Schools
As+K to Save a Life (Suicide Prevention)
Trauma Informed Care
Emotional Backpack Project
To participate in any of these trainings, or to schedule a training at your location, please reach out to Amy Cmaidalka at 281-229-7662.
Amy Cmaidalka is the Social Emotional Learning Specialist for Dickinson ISD. She has been in education for 18 years. Amy taught Kindergarten for 7 years , was a Professional School Counselor for 8 years and this is her third year as the SEL Specialist. Prior to her current position, Amy was the Lead Counselor for Elementary through Middle school and the Lead Section 504 Coordinator for the district. Amy earned her Master’s and Bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Amy is a trainer for Youth Mental Health First Aid, Mental Health First Aid, As+K About Suicide to Save a Life, Trauma Informed Care, and a STARR Certified Trauma & Resilience Practitioner. She is certified in Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), certified in National Organization of Victim’s Assistance (NOVA) and a member of the Red Cross Disaster Mental Health Team. Amy was the recipient of the 2018 Walter Kase Educator Excellence Award presented by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) for exemplary programming that promotes awareness and appreciation of diversity. She is passionate about advocating for professional school counselors, mental health awareness, trauma informed care and self-wellness. Amy is implementing a Gator Wellness Initiative for Dickinson ISD. This initiative is a social emotional learning model that will focus on early childhood, students, staff, and community utilizing a grant awarded from the Rebuild Texas Fund. Amy enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and family. She is a Dickinson ISD graduate and is looking forward to programs that bring enrichment and social emotional learning into our gator community.
Amy Cmaidalka, M.Ed, CTP-E
Social Emotional Learning Specialist
Amy is a Certified School Counselor as well as a Certified Trauma & Resilience Practitioner-Educator. She provides overall supervision and oversight for our Gator Wellness program.
Gator Wellness Center Presentation
A positive, safe and supportive school climate fosters safety; promotes a supportive academic, disciplinary, and physical environment; and encourages and maintains respectful, trusting, and caring relationships throughout the school community. Creating a positive, safe and supportive school environment requires schools to identify a framework for understanding school climate, measure the climate to identify areas for improvement, and develop a strategy to implement improvements. Positive school climates improve student achievement, teacher retention, and mental health, among other beneficial outcomes.
The Gator Wellness Center supports and collaborates with the resources below to build a positive, safe and supportive program.
Child Body Safety Presentation
Dickinson Independent School District
2218 FM 517 East | Dickinson, TX 77539
Inclusive of all, Dickinson ISD will cultivate excellence, producing confident, collaborative, goal-driven learners who become empowered citizens in a global society.
Dickinson ISD will equip and empower all learners with skills and experiences to achieve academic excellence and make meaningful contributions to our world.
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