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Confronting the New Reality of Today’s Student Mental Health Crisis

Confronting the new reality of today's student mental health crisis webinar image

School districts are facing an all-hands-on-deck moment as the reality of today’s worsening student mental health crisis sets in. For districts like San Marcos USD in California, technology is providing the opportunity to augment staff resources and allow teams to develop collaborative solutions to better identify and support students.

Hear how California’s San Marcos USD addressed common challenges and implemented a community-wide program that ensures a safe and nurturing environment for students and a healthy work-life balance for staff.

Christi Frias, Director of Student Safety Services and Stephanie Casperson, Executive Director of Technology will share:

  • Insights surrounding challenges like legal liability, staff work-life balance, and site-level buy-in for student safety technology.
  • Tips for using data to secure more funding and support for mental health and safety programs.
  • An overview of how to collaborate across functions to ensure student safety 24/7.
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Read the Transcript

Hi, everyone, welcome to our webinar, We’re going to give everyone about 30 more seconds to
join us, and then we’ll dive in. Thank you.
Hello, welcome everyone. Thank you for joining us today. My name is Sheryl Black, and I’m the
Vice President of Marketing here at Lightspeed.
Before we get started with this presentation, I just want to cover a couple of housekeeping items
for you. Today’s session is being recorded, and you will receive a copy of that recording by
We’ll have a Q and A session at the end, but at any point in the webinar, if you have questions,
please submit them, and we will save them up for that time. But don’t, don’t wait until the end. So
you don’t want to forget them.
Finally, we will have a short survey at the end that will pop up on your screen We really
appreciate if you can take the time to fill that out. It helps us understand What the most
interesting and important topics for you are as well as the next steps to help you learn more.
Let’s start today by meeting our speakers.
Amanda, would you start by giving us a little bit about yourself?
Sure Thanks everybody for joining. I’m Amanda Center. I am the Vice President of Product here
at lightspeed, so all of our solutions roll up to me and my team.
And Matt, you introduce yourself, please?
Hi, I’m Mark McClellan. I’m the Administrator for IT Beaverton School District.
Well and June.
Good afternoon, everybody. My name is June Kim, I’m the Director of Technology for more
public schools in Moore, Oklahoma.
Thank you. We’re very excited to have all three of you here today.
Today’s conversation is part of lightspeed, ongoing commitment to K 12 districts, specifically
focusing on our efforts to provide you with effortless equitable education for your students.
A lot of these, they’re for one person.
We know that the Digital Learning Divide refers to inequitable access to technology and digital
resources for learning.
And this has long been a challenge for K 12 students and their educators, despite wide adoption
of 1 to 1 programs across the country and students having returned back to campus at the
It’s telling that still in 20 23, this continues to be a focus for districts. And arguably, this divide
has widened all the way to a canyon.
So for the start of today’s webinar, we’re going to talk about why has that happened?
one of the clear reasons is the proliferation of digital learning so the student doesn’t have access.
It provides a larger challenge than it did when more things were done on pen and paper
compared to today.
Let’s start our discussion with more about parent surveys.
Parents surveys are a long standing method for understanding which students need support, and
we want to hear how y’all are dealing with those. So, we’ve got a quick poll that we’re going to
launch for you. And we want to know what are the response rates that you’re getting on your
parent surveys.
So, you just click right there.
Great. We see a couple answers coming through.
All right, let’s go ahead and close that survey, Thanks for responding.
So, 80% of our audience today said they have less than 50% response rates on their surveys.
All right.
We’ll go back to sharing the screen.
Um, June, can you share with us what your experience has been with parent surveys?
I want to know who got 75% or better because that’s phenomenal.
We’re lucky to get 20% think at the most, we got was around 0.25% of that.
But the thing about the surveys that when covert Hitt, we didn’t know what, we didn’t know what
we didn’t know, we didn’t know what questions to ask.
So, we’re missing information. So, yes, you got connectivity, but what’s connectivity cell? Is it an
ISP provider? Is that enough connectivity? How many kids are connected to that device or to that
to that ISP?
All those factors were unknown when all this happened, and even now trying to get those kind of
questions answered or through survey, is very, very challenging.
I wish I could say, I’m surprised, but that’s very consistent with what we hear when we talk to
other district leaders. Not only is the data incomplete in terms of getting responses from the
parents, but also incomplete, as you describe that it’s just not deep enough and what the problem
Another thing that Amanda and myself and the team have heard, and we talked to district
leaders, is it self reporting has similar challenges.
Due to the stigma around self reporting. A lot of students don’t self identify.
And then, especially among younger students, even if they are self identifying, they’re just not
fully capable of communicating their needs, and what the circumstances at home.
So lots of challenges there with the reporting and the self identification by students.
When I was speaking with Matt a couple of weeks ago, he also talked about, because of those
challenges with self reporting and student identification, they were using what I think of as proxy
The Free Lunch Program during coven 19, undoubtedly had many benefits for students and their
families. But it also created some data challenges.
Matt, can you tell us about how you were using that? As proxy data, and the challenges it created
for your district?
Yeah, so, you know, with the free and reduced lunch, it gave us a least a baseline of people we
knew who were indeed. And, you know, during coated with all of the stimulus money that came
out, we were able to offer families, you know, free lunch, no fees.
So, kind of reduce that incentive for families to identify, and families are being able to get that
benefit without having to identify there, like you separate the stigma of A were free and reduced,
or, you know, were less economic, Lee Challenged.
Dan, know, why do that if you’re already getting those benefits. So, for us, and, you know, it’s
great for our families, but at the same time, for us as a district, can provide an challenge because
now we’re not getting that data on where those families are that we need to reach out to help.
Right, right, Yeah, I mean a lot of benefits from having that stimulus money, but there were
probably some challenges like you just described that weren’t weren’t necessarily anticipated.
It makes a lot of sense that you were using that as a proxy because we know that across the
country one in four socioeconomically disadvantaged students are also below the guidelines for
connectivity. Outside of school hours. I think that was a really smart use of the data that you all
did have at your disposal.
So, we’ve got all these challenges of getting accurate data, and I want to talk about what position
does that put district leaders in. June, can you talk about what that did for your district and your
data quality?
It put it, put us in a very big tailspin. Is the data accurate? Do we have enough information?
Do we plan for the worst case? Fake?
You know, if you used free and reduced count, your, you potentially could be overbuying
because not everybody that’s free and reduced, um, is lacking Internet connectivity. They may
have something at home.
Um, so it was a lot of spend in the beginning, getting enough hotspots or connectivity through an
outside source based on your assumptions, right.
Because the surveys were so inaccurate.
So, what you’re seeing now is that you have districts that went from one thousand hotspots down
to maybe 5200, whatever that number is, because they’re finding that information is there not
using it.
Both parents or vice versa. You may have provided a hotspot.
but, or parents said, Hey, we have Internet connectivity, but then you have both parents working
from home.
You have four kids working from home, so the bandwidth wasn’t enough, so, or they were
reaching that cap, so it created a lot of other issues.
We work aware.
So there’s a lot of spend, I think I won’t say wasted money, but money that we didn’t know we
needed or didn’t really need to use and providing hotspots, because that What does that number
look like?
It’s hard to find Or identify those individuals Because of that self reporting, they may not want to
be stigmatized as in need.
So, it’s, it’s created, a lot of good conversation, but no solutions.
Know, I also think about the self reporting and how quickly that data can become outdated,
right? A family can be in a really good position.
one day, there’s a job loss in the next week, they’re not in a good position, and if the week that
their situation changes is not the week when the survey is running, then you may not have the
full picture.
June, one thing that we had talked about the other day was also that your district had pulled back
on assigning digitally dependent homework as an approach to making sure that every kid had
equal access. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?
So what we were finding was that there was a big disconnect on kids.
Even though they have hotspots, it wasn’t enough for a family of 3 or 4 kids.
Being able to do XOOM work with four kids in the household, just wasn’t working.
And then trying to balance that out when high school kids do they follow their schedule
elementary. What, what?
What is plotted?
And even nowadays, for us in Tornado alley here, we don’t know when they’re going to be
here. We don’t know when they’re going to be gone.
So, it’s one of those situations with the unknown.
So, what are districts has done is try to minimize the amount of homework that is going home,
especially our at our elementary and junior high levels, and providing an opportunity to make it
up the next day. or when they return back to school.
Same thing for our staff. If you’re not teaching craik, if you don’t have internet connectivity,
don’t worry about teaching those classes.
Just check back in when you can. So, there’s a lot of give and take.
Because of the unknown situation, You can’t just dictate, This is what you shall do and will
do. And you will not Turk.
It doesn’t work in education at any level.
So we were we, we are, we adjust accordingly and trust our families to know what’s best and
what they can and can’t do. Can we trust or staff to help them re-engaged when they do get back
and do have connect?
I think that’s a very creative and empathetic approach to the situation.
I can imagine, though, that it’s, it’s not perfect because then you’ve got instruction time during the
day that is lost for students to be doing what was maybe ideally, homework.
Oh, absolutely.
It’s not a perfect answer by any means, but if we’re in the business, kids, we gotta do what’s best
for kids.
And what’s probably not easy for the rest of us.
I said, it’s the 1, 1 stop answer.
It doesn’t work from one classroom to the next much less, a district of 36 different sites.
The loss of connectivity at home can definitely present a lot of challenges.
What have you found in Beaverton that having this imperfect data as resulted in what kind of
accommodations and things I have all been doing?
I think, like June said, it’s not knowing and not knowing that, you know, what a family has at
home whether they, you know, like you said, they have Internet but you know, it may not be
adequate for Mom and Dad doing stuff. You know working evenings at home and then or
multiple students. During the pandemic we saw a lot of families that had to move in together.
So, on that one little Internet connection, you had multiple families using it as well. So we’ve
done kinda similar, you know, especially in our elementary, we’ve tried to cut down on electronic
homework, especially because we don’t want, you know, obviously the connectivity, but also the
issues of, now parent has to help a kid who may not be comfortable, that comfortable with
So at our high school levels, we’ve kinda kept it. We’ve tried to keep some of the homework
down a little bit and try to get some of the afterschool stuff.
Not as part of that, as he said, is a requirement. But there are still those times where students are
going to have to go home and we still have hotspots.
We still, you know, try to direct them to some of it, lower cost internet places.
Because one of the things we found here in our study was when we are part of the … study or
internet activity is we have and beaver scenario, we have availability.
We don’t have affordability for a lot of markets.
I think that’s an important distinction, And different communities struggle with different parts of
those challenges, or combination of it.
This is definitely something that’s a frustrating situation for everyone, and it’s, it’s hindering our
students’ learning and their ability to succeed.
Clearly, we need reliable, incomplete data so that district leaders such as yourselves, can strive
toward digital equity and help serve those students’ needs.
We have Amanda with us today, and she’s going to talk about how lightspeed has found and
created new opportunities to get that information. Amanda?
Yeah. Thank You, Cheryl. So, yeah, we just heard from knocking June about the challenges of
getting information about connectivity when students are off campus, and while, as they spoke
to, there are some ways to get that data. It’s a very manual process that often leaves districts with
incomplete or inaccurate information.
So, we know it’s hard to get the whole story, is their Wi-Fi, but low bandwidth is their poor
Internet access due to a device issue, or their students in neighborhoods that just can’t get good
And our new digital equity module, as part of the Light Speed, digital, Incyte product, and it
helps answer all of these questions with real-time visibility and insights on both an individual
student and neighborhood level. So, I’ll jump in and walk through some of the key features.
And we’ve designed this module with feedback from clients, including from Mac, keeping in
mind the myriad of different equity issues that districts face.
It’s made up of three key components, and the first is the internet access report, which you see on
the screen.
So, this is accessible from the new Digital Equity drop-down in the top navigation bar, and the
report was designed to give you an overview of digital equity across the entire district.
So, at the top of the Internet access report, you see a quick district snapshot of the total number
of students with four Internet, and that’s in the top left.
No Internet, which is in the middle box, and then you see that for the last seven days, that’s the
default. It tells you exactly how many students are experiencing connectivity issues outside of
school, and really eliminates the manual outreach and effort involved with sending home
surveys, which can quickly become outdated, or, as we saw, has low response rates.
And then while seven days is the default, you do have the ability to change that time period,
along with a number of other filters.
So, if we expand and see all the filtering options, you will see that you can change the time
You can filter to specific schools or grades. You can specify the download speed, and many
more options.
Then below the filters, you see the User Level Details. So, the student’s name, their e-mail grade
campus, Along with the internet connection speed and additional info.
And, if you click into the individual user, here, you’ll see the second component of the digital
equity module, and that is the user profile.
So, by clicking into the student’s user profile, you get an instant view of their complete Internet
You can see the student activity data and that shows activity per day, most used apps, and helps
you understand which programs might be contributing to access issues. So, it’s not really enough
to know, oh, they have poor internet connection, right? But, what if that?
because, as they’re using, you know, Minecraft and it’s taking up all their bandwidth, that’s an
important data points. So, you have visibility into those types of apps that might be, you know,
high bandwidth apps and helps you just better understand how they’re using the device in and out
of school.
And, then, when we scroll down further on the user profile, you see details about Device
Activity, device health, and Internet connectivity outside of school, so, that gives you the
granular details to troubleshoot more quickly than ever before.
And the device area gives you information about the student’s district level device or district
issued device, so you can better understand if there’s a problem with that device that can be
affecting Internet accessibility.
Then, on the right hand side of this piece of this page, the Internet Access pain gives you
information, like the connectivity, status, the meeting speed, and the service provider. So, you
really don’t have to rely on students or parents to give you that information anymore.
So, for example, let’s say you have a student who’s having a connectivity issue, even though they
have good device howls and they have a Wi-Fi connection.
When you look at this panel, you can see that there’s a high number of users on their IP address,
and it’s being shared with, you know, a thousand users.
So a lot of people sharing on the network, and that maybe not sufficient enough to get school
homework done, and that could be an indicator that this is a student that needs their own hotspot
to help support that digital learning at home.
OK, and then, um, The third component of digital equity, is the Internet Access Map.
So this is accessible from the third box, on the top of the report. And the map is really designed
to help you drive large-scale community level solutions.
The map shows a neighborhood neighborhood level heat map, and outlines geographic areas
with poor or no internet connectivity.
So that’s especially valuable for identifying needs, like community center partnerships or other
strategic investments.
For example, if you’ve got rural areas with internet dead zones, or, you know, maybe you have
migrant camps for students, don’t have access to good internet, just kind of shows you at that
neighborhood level where you’ve got poor and no connection.
And then each of those, honey calms, you can see a little bit more detail when you hover over
them. It represents a neighborhood of region.
So you can view additional insights about service providers, device OS’s that are being used, and
how many networks are being shared with others.
And you can filter the map by details, like time intervals, schedule, so in and out of school,
provider, or upload and download speeds. So really kind of customize into what’s most important
for you to see.
Um, Excuse me.
So, another kind of example use case for this map, and just how, how valuable it is, right?
It’s like, if the districts don’t know where to open community centers gage, you know, existing
ones, that might be overwhelmed. But now they have this combined data of this three part
And you can really access those insights and communicate with stakeholders, parents, district
level, administrators, and make more informed decisions.
Then, just to give you a view of the agent settings and how you enable these reports. So, from a
top level navigation, if you go to Reports.
and then Agents, you can see the Agents settings, you can set your school’s schedule and break
schedule and then the hours outside of that will default to out of school on the reports.
Then, by device type, you can also select if you want to collect data outside of school hours. And
you can enable or disable that for Internet Speed Data collection, which speeds the Internet
Access report, and then location data for the map.
Then, finally, down at the bottom, you can set your Internet speed thresholds. So, whatever value
you search will be used to determine poor internet for your district, and then anything below that
will flag as a poor connection.
So, there’s a lot of configure ability options there to customize and best fit your district.
Wednesday, I, throw it back to you.
Cheryl: Yeah, thank you, Amanda. That was a great overview.
Before we go to Q and A, I want to select Makin June, share a little bit about some discussions
we’ve had on early thoughts about what they’ll do in this data, is accessible to them. So, June, I
know you and I discussed a triage approach, so to speak, to the districts connectivity needs.
Hopefully it’s under your eyes, as well as from what our discussion, but can you talk us through
an idea that you might use to tackle this?
So, one of the areas that this could assist us is future planning with our city, um, managers, as
well as our ISP providers, and Telco companies, to use that overlay map, possibly with the GIS
We talked about data at exports and creating this free and reduced layer, whereas all are Free and
Reduced Kids, or where’s all the connectivity hotspots or ISP providers for future planning?
What’s the city doing to create a mesh network for students who are users?
And we can use this data to say, hey, this is where a lot of our kids are struggling or we’re bulk
Laura hotspots are being utilized or there’s not enough connectivity.
And we can also use that to talk to our ISP providers, saying hey, the minimum bandwidth that
you’re providing for the, for example, kocsis connect to compete, hey, the bandwidth you’re
providing at that rate is just not enough.
You know, so we can get into a lot of different conversations with a lot of different agencies to
help support this process.
I love it. You’re thinking about it from a community perspective, right?
And so how do we really help the whole, the whole district at scale, I think there’s also, for some
of our conversations, the opportunity for student by student support.
And, you know, identifying those students who are not connecting, and combining that with
understanding from a curriculum perspective, if we’re expecting them to connect to already, or if,
if they’re not connecting, but they’re not collecting because they haven’t been asked, Right.
So, the data, you know, we can actually go in and pinpoint, Hey, you’ve been given homeworker,
you’ve been given assignments, or are they not doing it because the device is messed up?
Or is it just no got enough bandwidth if we’re asking them to join a webinar like this, and it’s
Blue Screen of death, or the spinning wheel of death?
What’s happening, so we can start gaging that and providing alternatives, or talking to our
curriculum providers are, You know, whatever that company X may be saying?
When you provide video Instruction, you need to bring that resolution down to where it’s
manageable, right? So, a lot of good conversations.
And then being able to, are they not connecting, because they’re just not home, or what’s
happening, you know.
So it just, it raises more questions to really start drilling down instructional methods, are we
teaching to the kids into and change looking at our processes Because the way we’re teaching
now with digital curriculum is gotta change from the way we’ve done it traditionally.
And to your point, you can do this much more quickly at scale.
And without having to rely on that outdated data to inform it.
Thank you. And Mac, you brought up a use case that I hadn’t even thought of until our
conversation about using this, to understand your infrastructure, investments that are coming up
this summer. Can you just share a little bit about that?
Yeah, so, you know, anytime we get data, we’re always looking at how can we use this data in
different ways, And one of the things we hit kinda conceptualizes.
Can I use this same data?
we’re using first kids out of school, but can I use that same data in school to see where, you
know, my deficiencies are within my network infrastructure?
If I see a bunch of kids having an age issue, that might be able to tell me that, Hey, I don’t have
enough access points in this era, or they’ve reconfigured the school.
And you’re using different rooms. so we didn’t know about that.
We don’t have enough bandwidth or access in those specific areas, So it’ll be interesting to see
how we can use that to help better plan for our future infrastructure.
I love that you’re thinking about not just the afterschool, but the in school, so it really becomes a
24 7 resource for your district.
OK, great. And at this time, we’re going to switch over to Q&A. So for everyone who joined us,
please type them into the questions.
We’ve gotten a couple already so I will get us started on that.
Amanda, you mentioned poor internet connectivity. Can you describe what constitutes for
internet connectivity in that report?
Yeah. So we have a default setting of 25 megabits per second that we did receive district
feedback. We kind of shopped out, you know, what we were thinking in the prototype that
schools would like the ability to customize that. So, that’s the default, but then you have the
ability to go in and change that setting. You can set it to: greater than, or less than or equal to, 5,
10, 25, or 50. And so whatever threshold you set within the product, anything below that will be
designated as poor internet.
Perfect, thank you.
Then, another question about how to manage school breaks, This is particularly timely. I know
my fourth grader gets out of school. In seven days, he’s counting down.
So, what’s the school break plan here?
Yeah. For sure. So, you might have noticed in the demo that we have the ability to set the school
hours, so that works when you’re in school, right? You can say, school starts at eight ends up for,
but then below that, there is also the option to add in breaks.
So, you can set in, like winter breaks, spring breaks, summer vacation, all of that, and anything
that you can figure as a break will registers out of school time as well, OK?
That’s a great Some parts of the country are just days away. I’ve heard Louisiana has got some
schools getting out tomorrow, so I know those kids are excited to be on break, and it’s also good
that we can, during school breaks, like winter break and spring break at the appropriate data.
All right. Well, yeah, we are at about the top of the hour. And we have racked up our
questions. So thank you everyone for joining us today. Matt, June, Amanda, really appreciate
your time with us.
Very excited to get this product out for other districts and to start collecting the data that we need
to serve our students. As a reminder for everyone who joined us, you will receive the recording,
and there is a short poll when we close the webinar. So, thanks, everybody. Have a great day,
and we look forward to talking with you soon.

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