As Uplift Education continues to focus on the social-emotional health of our students, we are excited to share that our Student Support Services department is now offering an in-house family therapy program. Staffed by licensed mental health professionals, services will initially be provided through teletherapy due to the pandemic and eventually onsite at our schools, which Uplift hopes will help families feel comfortable and safe accessing care.
At Uplift Education, we believe that mental health care and mental health education is a vital component of the overall educational process. We know that for students to reach their highest potential, they need both strong academic readiness and strong social and emotional health and acknowledge that students develop at an individual rate emotionally, socially, and academically. Uplift strives to create environments that are emotionally safe for all students and staff.
The aim of the Family Therapy program is to help address student issues such as attendance, academic achievement, and discipline at the family level. The Family Therapy program addresses the individual and systemic needs of Uplift scholars while keeping student developmental growth in mind as a framework. The program is offered as a free service to Uplift families and serves students and their families from kindergarten through their twelfth-grade year of high school. We are proud to offer this in-house service that will increase access for our families by dramatically reducing wait times, often months or years, that are encountered with other free and low-cost therapy programs.
Our two new family therapists are Dr. Maja Popovic, PhD, LPC-S and Sonia Duque-Miyashita, LPC-S, RPT-S, LCDC. These two new staff members will split coverage of our 43 schools in order to manage a year-round caseload of referrals from our school-based Social/Behavioral Counselors and will offer therapy sessions in both English and Spanish. Of particular significance, the family therapists will work flexible, evening hours as needed, and even meet at locations near a family’s home, if necessary, to accommodate families who work during the day and ensure equitable access to services.
We believe that this program will change the lives of Uplift families and achieve long term, widespread results across our network, including fewer discipline suspensions, higher academic achievement, more stable student attendance, and higher teacher retention. Our hope is that through this deeper level of involvement and whole-family strategy, our students will thrive and move forward with more confidence.
The vital Family Therapy program is made possible through a generous grant from The Rees-Jones Foundation. Founded in 2006 by Jan and Trevor Rees-Jones, The Rees-Jones Foundation works with nonprofit organizations, primarily in North Texas, to serve others and improve their quality of life in tangible ways.