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First Lady Casey DeSantis Announces Next Steps in Florida’s First-In-The-Nation Approach to Create a Culture of Resiliency and Incentivize Parental Involvement in Schools

Tallahassee, Fla. – Today, First Lady Casey DeSantis held a roundtable at Florida State University to discuss Florida’s nation-leading efforts to reframe mental health education to focus on resiliency. Following the roundtable, the State Board of Education adopted the First Lady’s recommendations as new standards for resiliency education in Florida. The newly adopted standards incorporate key resiliency skills, including: grit, perseverance, gratitude, personal responsibility, volunteerism, critical thinking, problem-solving, empathy, citizenship and honesty. At the event, First Lady DeSantis also announced more than $21 million in dedicated funding to create and distribute resiliency curriculum, including parent and teacher toolkits.

As a part of Florida’s focus on resiliency, the state is also taking a first-of-its-kind approach to incentivize parental involvement in schools. As announced by the First Lady and Commissioner Manny Diaz, Jr. the Department of Education is going to immediately create four new pathways for parents to serve in their schools and for educators take resiliency to the next level as resiliency coaches, mentors, school counselor apprentices, and resiliency educators.

“As a mama of three little ones, I am proud that Florida is leading the nation in education, and I am thrilled to see how our efforts to reframe and rethink mental health will equip our students and future Floridians to be more resilient,” said First Lady Casey DeSantis. “We also know that by incentivizing parental involvement in schools, our students will benefit academically and culturally from the positive influence of mentorship.”

“First Lady Casey DeSantis continues to champion Florida’s students and families,” said Florida Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz, Jr. “Because of her leadership, the State Board of Education passed innovative resiliency standards today, that will help students in all grades develop personal responsibility, grit and other important skills to help them succeed in school and life.”

Resiliency Standards

The revised Resiliency Education Standards are intentionally designed to impart the value of resiliency skills in early grades, such as volunteerism, responsibility, and goal setting, and then support students as they demonstrate those concepts in higher grades. The standards embed concepts of civic responsibility through citizenship and mentorship to not only help students understand the value of these ideas, but to actively engage in activities and exercises that will prepare them to be upstanding, responsible citizens.

In October 2022, the State Board amended Rule 6A-1.094124, F.A.C., to shift the focus of the 5 hours of required instruction from mental health to Resiliency Education, and include key skills such as: perseverance, gratitude, volunteerism, empathy, responsibility, mentorship, citizenship and honesty.

Bringing Parents and Mentorship Back to the Forefront of Education

To support the new standards and further invest the community into the school, the Department of Education is developing the following four pathways of student support and mentorship.

Resiliency Coach: Resiliency Coaches serve as a first layer of support to students facing day-to-day challenges. Moms, dads and community members will be able to take training covering counseling standards and resiliency education standards to achieve a certification as a resiliency coach.

Certified School Counselor & Endorsement of School Counseling Mentor: These counselors and mentors will support all students in building the characteristics of resiliency. Parents and professionals in the community will be trained in the new school counseling standards as well as the resiliency education standards, in addition to holding state certification. School counselors who plan to oversee the work of a School Counseling Apprentice may seek the endorsement of School Counseling Mentor.

School Counseling Apprentice: Apprentices will support students experiencing challenges and in need of additional mentorship. These individuals will work under the guidance of a School Counselor. Apprentices will be trained in all school counseling standards, resiliency education standards, and other topics that would support students in building the characteristics of Resiliency.

Resiliency Endorsed Educator: These educators will receive additional training on counseling standards and resiliency standards to be endorsed as resiliency educators. This endorsement provides an additional layer of support for students facing day-to-day challenges.

Resiliency Curriculum

The $21 million in dedicated funding for resiliency curriculum aims to maximize the reach and impact of materials by getting them in the hands of parents. This effort includes:

  • Production, promotion, and distribution of resiliency materials in schools, out-of-school time programs and other student-related community organizations;

  • Coordination of school and community-based events that centralize around parental involvement with student education, with a focus on resiliency and civic and character education; and

  • Purchasing of materials aligned to the FDOE Resiliency Toolkit.

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