NP Partners with Montco Mobile Crisis Unit

North Penn Partners with Montco Mobile Crisis Unit to form Traumatic Event Response Team
Posted on 05/07/2021
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To support mental health and traumatic event needs of students and staff, the North Penn School District (NPSD) has recently partnered with Access Services’ Mobile Crisis Program to build and implement a Traumatic Event Response Team (TERT). TERT provides coordinated, mobile, mental health crisis support during traumatic events at the building, district and community level within NPSD.

“As educators, we are committed to teaching and supporting the growth of the whole child,” said Kyle Hassler, Principal of Penndale Middle School and TERT administrative support member. “North Penn has seen the growing number of students who are struggling with mental health, especially caused by trauma, and has responded with the creation of the Traumatic Event Response Team.”

TERT provides a coordinated response from North Penn’s 26 member team of administrators, board certified behavior analysts, school psychologists, counselors, and Montgomery County’s mobile crisis team. The team offers various supports which could include short term counseling support to staff and students impacted by the trauma, support to the administrator during the crisis, linkage to mobile crisis resources, and ongoing follow-up and support long after the initial trauma might end.

“When we are called to respond to a crisis, TERT provides immediate support,” said Ann Marie Lucas, NPSD Special Education Supervisor and TERT administrative support member. “The immediate, ongoing and mobile supportive services - including the partnership with Montgomery County’s mobile health crisis team - are what we feel will be most effective and valued by those who receive the services.”

TERT was developed using the framework of PREPaRE, a comprehensive curriculum model by the National Association of School Psychologists that encompasses safety and crisis management in schools. Team members are representatives of the entire district that are trained in the PREPaRE crisis model. TERT meets monthly for crisis planning and collaborates with community resources, which led to the establishment of a partnership with Access Services Montgomery County Mobile Crisis Unit.

“No matter what hour of the day, Mobile Crisis is available for consultation and immediate support,” said Trish Pike, North Penn High School (NPHS) Guidance Counselor and TERT liaison.

Access Services’ Montgomery County Mobile Crisis Unit not only helps during the crisis, they also participate in debriefing, aftercare follow-up plans, and referral status.

“We have benefited from our close relationship with the Montgomery County Mobile Crisis Unit, and have relied on their insight and feedback as we engaged in the process of forming our team,” said Jim Galante, NPSD Supervisor of Pupil Services and TERT administrative support member. “As our team has come together over the course of the past year and a half, we continue to look to them in crafting our procedures and protocols to ensure that we are engaging in appropriate best practices in responding to traumatic events that occur in the North Penn school community.”

Access Services’ Mobile Crisis Program shares in the excitement for the partnership and its commitment to supporting North Penn and its school community.

“We are thrilled to partner with NPSD on what we feel is a groundbreaking effort to maximize meaningful and immediate support to the students in their district,” said Jessica Fenchel, Access Services Vice President for Behavioral Health. “Schools are often the frontline responders to student crises. It is a privilege to be a part of North Penn’s effort to increase their role in driving student, family and community wellness.”

North Penn’s newly developed Traumatic Event Response Team was selected to serve on the Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Panel for the Delaware Valley Association of School Business Officials (DVASBO) Regional Reframing School Summit on May 7, 2021. The team enjoyed representing NPSD, sharing their experiences and learning more about how they can best serve and support the students and staff at North Penn.