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The first in a series of free professional development webinars for teachers and other education professionals based on a statewide survey of needs will kick off Tuesday, February 7, with “Surviving the Mental Health Crisis: A Toolkit for Teachers.” The session will be presented by Steve Hoff, a licensed psychologist and associate professor of school psychology at Saint Rose.

The session will take place from 3:30 to 5 p.m. February 7 via Zoom. Registration is required to receive the link, and can be done via the Saint Rose website.

The free, five-webinar series, called “Teach On: Hot Topics and Practical Strategies for Today’s Classroom,” offers 90-minute live webinars that allow participants to earn required Continuing Teacher and Leader Education (CTLE) hours.

The series is part of the Build the Teacher Pipeline Initiative, a four-prong plan to address the statewide and nationwide teacher shortage, announced by Saint Rose at a news conference with New York Lt. Gov. Antonio Delgado on October 27. The plan also includes free on-campus housing for new undergraduate education majors beginning in fall 2023, grants for career changers who pursue teaching, more flexible program delivery for graduate programs in education, and professional development that will help to support current teachers and administrators and keep them in the field.

“We must keep our teachers teaching, and to do that, they need support,” Saint Rose President Marcia J. White said of the professional development efforts during the October 27 news conference.

Webinar topics were selected based on a May 2022 survey of nearly 700 educators statewide to determine the most pressing needs. The survey, conducted by Saint Rose and Prescience Associates, a market research firm, revealed the most desired topics for both teachers and administrators.

Topics were rated on a one to five scale with five being “Extremely Important.” The five topics with the highest percentage of “Extremely Important” ratings were:

  • Creating a safe and equitable learning environment: 70%
  • Building classroom community: 57%
  • Inclusive teaching: 56%
  • Developing empathy: 55%
  • Culturally responsive education: 55%

Hoff’s February 7 session will offer practical strategies for educators, school counselors, school administrators, and other school professionals to support mental health of students and staff, including the issues of anxiety and trauma.

When not teaching at Saint Rose, Hoff has presented nationally and internationally on the topic of youth mental health and is also co-founder of Barrington Psychology Inc. in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, which specializes in child and adolescent mental health issues and provides consultation to schools and agencies. Previously, Hoff spent several years as a school psychologist and crisis response trainer in the New York City public schools.

Upcoming “Teach On” webinar sessions include:

  • March 14: Practicing Culturally Responsive and Sustainable Teaching
  • April 25: Strategies for Successfully Working with Language Learners in the K-12 Classroom
  • May 24: Social Emotional Learning: From Theory to Everyday Practice in Schools
  • June 7: Navigating Parent Communication

Each webinar is free and begins at 3:30 p.m. via Zoom. The webinars will be recorded, and the recording link and additional resources will be emailed to registrants after the event.