Crystal Criswell and Tiffany Pittman from Marshall University’s School Health Technical Assistance Center, Department of Family and Community Health, School of Medicine participated in the 2023 Project AWARE I Conference which took place July 19 and 20 at the Stonewall Resort in Roanoke, WV. WV AWARE Teams from Cabell, Clay, and Harrison counties traveled to attend sessions about trauma-informed education, wrap-around and crisis mobile response services, vaping prevention and intervention, transitioning students from intensive services back to school, suicide prevention, and more.
State Leadership Team members from WVDE, MURC, WVDHHR’s BBH attended the conference alongside the LEA Coordinators, teachers, administrators, counselors, social workers, and mental health professionals from Cabell, Clay, and Harrison County schools. There were approximately eighty-six (86) people in attendance representing nine (9) grant funded schools and one (1) unfunded school. Therapy dogs Nutmeg, Sammie, and Ollie made celebrity appearances to co-facilitate sessions with their schools. Several agencies set up exhibit tables with resources and materials.
In addition to participating in a variety of educational sessions, the county teams spent over four (4) hours working together with MURC teams to plan out their 2023-2024 school year. They worked one (1) hour with the PBIS coordinator, one (1) hour with the state AWARE coordinator and two hours with Crystal Criswell or Tiffany Pittman, from Marshall University’s School Health Technical Assistance Center, to work on their AWARE Strategic Plans for next year. Teams updated those plans to recognize goals accomplished and lessons learned over the last two years, incorporate data gathered from the AWARE evaluation team and from within the schools, add sustainability goals, and integrate best practices shared during conference sessions.