Heroes for Health: Lolli Hawes

This spotlight series is designed to profile members of the Racine Collaborative for Children’s Mental Health. Over the coming months, the series will feature individual Collaborative members, each of whom is integral to the group’s efforts to forge stronger connections and establish new approaches to strengthen the social and emotional development of our children.

This series is an opportunity to highlight and recognize the diverse individuals, services and resources available to the Racine community.

Who: Dr. Lolli Haws, Superintendent of the Racine Unified School District

Website: http://www.racine.k12.wi.us

Email: lolli.haws@rusd.org

Phone: (262) 631-7064

Twitter: @RacineUnified

About Racine Unified School District: Located in southeastern Wisconsin, Racine Unified School District (RUSD) is the fifth largest school district in the state, serving more than 20,000 students. The District has 20 elementary schools including 3 magnet elementary schools, 7 middle schools including 1 magnet middle school and 1 charter middle school, and 5 high schools including 1 magnet high school and 1 charter high school.

RUSD’s mission is to educate every student to succeed. The District’s North Star Vision – that all students graduate career and/or college ready – guides its highly qualified educators in providing rigorous and engaging learning experiences for students. RUSD offers a wide variety of choices and programs that create opportunities for all students to excel, and the District’s culturally diverse schools prepare students to thrive in a global community.

Words from Lolli, a Hero for Health:

We, who have taught multiple generations of students, have watched the role of educational institutions change over the years. Our schools are more diverse, our parenting techniques are different, and the role of the teacher has changed. Teachers today are not only tasked with focusing on the academic needs of children, but we must also look after their social and emotional well-being.

The role of parents, too, has changed. Many parents are working overtime to provide for their children. They need more from their child’s school than an academic education. They also need a school that will provide social and emotional care for their child.

The school-based mental health model could be just what we need to bridge these two important areas. If we can provide mental health resources in school, it will be easier for busy parents to participate in the process. We can eliminate the burden of multiple phone calls, appointments and provider searches, all of which hinder access to care. School-based mental health care can also provide a welcome resource for our school’s social workers, building a team of committed adults focused on supporting the social and emotional health of students.

A more comprehensive approach of school-based care can also support teachers in further adapting to their ever-changing role – providing access to a broader perspective on a student’s classroom behavior and with what underlying issues he or she may be struggling.

We are building toward a day when the parents of Racine can send their children out into the world confident that they are fully prepared - socially, emotionally and academically. We want only the best for the young people of Racine. When our children are thriving, we will know we have done our job.

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