The COVID-19 pandemic made it abundantly clear that schools are playing an increased role in the health and well-being of our communities. As the world emerges from the pandemic, we're having more open conversations about the mental health of our students.

For Steel Valley, enhancing the health and wellness of our community means taking the next step in several key areas. Through our partnerships with health providers in the area, Steel Valley is determined to provide the resources our students, staff and families need in order to thrive.

A student hugs a teacher

Dr. Elizabeth Miller, the Division Director of Adolescent and Young Adult Medicine at UPMC, a professor, and the co-lead of the Pittsburgh Study, has helped Steel Valley forge a partnership with UPMC and Children’s Hospital in order to provide more resources to our community. In presentations to the Steel Valley school board and community, Dr. Miller has touched on the shift in conversations about mental health for students and the importance of providing programs to them in an educational setting.

"There's a lot more of an open conversation about the mental health needs of students, and the impact of trauma and violence on so many of our students and their families," Dr. Miller said. “We have an unprecedented opportunity to be really strategic about how these dollars get spent in a way that's going to really sustain an ongoing commitment to health and wellness.”

A session of the Expect Respect program

The Steel Valley School District currently offers social and emotional development programs for students across grade levels:

  • Coaching Boys Into Men is a dating violence prevention program
  • Expect Respect, currently offered at the middle school with plans to expand to the high school, helps students understand what healthy relationships look like, learn how to set boundaries and understand why those boundaries are important, learn how to communicate effectively, and how to develop leadership tools within their community.
  • 3Rs (Reading, Relationships and Racial Equity) helps connect young children with racially affirming statements and helps educators become more comfortable with answering questions from their students about race.

The district partners with Steel Valley Wellness Group, Mon Yough Community Services, the RESOLVE Crisis Center and with UPMC Children’s Hospital for a variety of counseling services and programs. Steel Valley also has a student assistance program for any students or families in need. All of these programs can be accessed via the website or by reaching out to a school counselor.

Steel Valley also benefits from a connection with Children's Hospital and their healthy schools program, regular visits by the UPMC Care Mobile to schools in the district to provide healthcare services in the community, vaccine clinics, and regular blood drives put together by the high school student council in partnership with Vitalant.