MHS Welcomes New Social Emotional Behavior Specialist

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MHS Welcomes New Social Emotional Behavior Specialist

As freshmen began the year with getting lost in the halls, meeting new teachers and being introduced to MHS’ traditions, a new social emotional behavior (SEB) specialist, Jacklyn Floyd, started the year with similar experiences, a new office, getting to know the rest of the guidance department staff and introducing herself to the students.

On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays she is here to meet students who are struggling, whether that be from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety or anything else that troubles them.

“I work with kids…to help them build tools that they need to be able to figure things out,” Floyd said. “My door is always open, so if a kid is having a hard time, they can come in.”

She said she helps them by listening and finding out what is bothering them. As a clinical social worker, Floyd said she has learned different skills that help her to develop a relationship with students and to help them through whatever is going on.

On days she’s not at MHS, Floyd is at Crestview Middle School and Selvidge Middle School. She is one of the four SEB specialists in the district, which are split up by the district quadrants.

Before coming to MHS, Floyd worked with kids at the BJC Behavioral Health on mental health case management for seven years.

“I was ready for a change,” Floyd said. “I’ve always wanted to work at a school, so for me it just made sense.”

However, Floyd said her career was not always so clear. After she graduated high school, she wanted to be an archeologist. After a year of college, she decided anthropology wasn’t for her and owning a bookstore would become her new dream, landing her in business school. Finally, after a recommendation from a family friend, Floyd started looking into counseling.

“For me, really being in college and taking those first social work classes, it just really fit for me as who I am as a person,” Floyd said. “I always knew I wanted to help people.”

Social Worker Brenda Casey said before Floyd was hired, two other specialists worked at MHS from a Children’s Service Fund grant from the St. Louis County. They were at MHS for four days a week.  

“It’s an impossibility for me to help everyone who needs help,” Casey said.

So the two specialists added a lot of help. Casey said between the two of them, they saw at least 35 students a week.

“They really helped a lot of kids,” Casey said. “They positively affected a great amount of students and by them being there, it was also helping me to be able to help more students.”

However, last December, MHS lost both of the specialists, after the Children’s Service Fund made cutbacks to the grant. Casey said it was very frustrating because MHS seemed to be the only school who lost their specialists, despite other schools, including some of the Parkway schools and Lindbergh, still having them.

“It was a huge disservice, considering we are the largest high school in Rockwood and also the most diverse high school in Rockwood,” Casey said. “Losing them put a huge, huge hole in our guidance department.”

It was especially bitter, Casey said, because the community around MHS pays more in taxes than most other places and that is where the money for the grant comes from.

“I wish the people in the community had a better grasp on what they are doing with these tax dollars,” Casey said.

Casey said having Floyd be a part of MHS guidance this year brings a lot of help and makes it a lot more secure since she is a Rockwood employee.

“Having her here…helps us to get the needs of students who need more than just a quick intervention,” Casey said. “This is for kids who don’t have the ability, be it financial, if they don’t have insurance, be it that their parents can’t take them to appointments, to get their outside help.”

While right now she only is at MHS for three days, but Casey said that in the future she hopes Floyd can be at MHS for the whole week.

“My hope is… that she can be a full-time employee only at MHS,” Casey said. “I think we are big enough that we can definitely support a full time person.”

Casey said she wants to emphasize that the first step for students to take to seek help is to see their guidance counselor. After meeting with their guidance counselor, students can get referred to Casey if the counselor sees that fit and then Casey can potentially refer students to Floyd.

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