Former Norwalk High School Principal Dina Wilson is in the process of hiring psychologists for the fall semester as part of her job in the newly created position of director of intervention and mental health support services in the Norwalk-La Mirada School District, aimed at counseling students with problems.
Posted: Thursday, July 26, 2012 6:06 pm
Wilson to oversee mental health for Norwalk, La Mirada students
Los Angeles Wave
NORWALK — With the mental health of students, especially teenagers a growing concern of many, the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District has moved to meet the issue with the creation of a new post, director of intervention and mental health support services.
The school board has appointed Dina Wilson, former principal at Norwalk High School, to the post. Wilson, an administrator in the district for 12 years, has a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences with a minor in psychology from UC Irvine and a master’s degree in administration from Pepperdine University.
She assumed the new post in May.
“Wilson has worked with special education and at-risk students throughout her career and is looking forward to developing much-needed counseling and support services to enable those students to adapt successfully to the school environment,” Superintendent Ruth Perez said.
The position is fully funded by state funds under AB 114, she added. That law gives the responsibility for mental health services to the schools instead of county mental health agencies as was the case before the law took effect June 30, 2011, Perez said.
It means that school districts are responsible for the assessment, placement and monitoring of students with disabilities that were previously administered by county mental health services for students with individual education plans under the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, Perez said.
California is redirecting the federal funds from the counties to school districts, she noted.
The Norwalk-La Mirada district will work with the neighboring ABC Unified School District based in Cerritos on a transition of county services to the schools under a special education local area plan.
Perez said Wilson will coordinate and develop mental health services such as counseling, crisis management, dropout prevention and placing special education students in non-public school settings.
“She will lead the district’s efforts to create and implement a positive behavior intervention system in connection with timely academic interventions and will coordinate programs with community agencies by hiring additional psychologists, social workers and counseling staff as well as training non-special education staff.
“[Wilson] will work with parents, staff and students to ensure compliance in monitoring and increased student achievement through the effective implementation of each student’s [individual education plans],” Perez said.
Wilson said this week that some efforts have begun but most of the program will go into action when school resumes in the fall.
Thursday, July 26, 2012 6:06 pm.