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Sown to Grow: A Big Leap in Improving Students Mental Health.


Sown to Grow is an app that was introduced at Roseville Area High School last year that gives students opportunities to assess their mental health and point out areas of need more clearly. The Sown to Grow team includes: school psychologists Emily Reibel and Clare Hartjes, social workers Brianna Murphy, Michael Garcia, Adam Tancabel, media specialist Gregg Martinson, and school nurse Kelly Feneis.

Reibel had the idea of bringing Sown to Grow to RAHS.  She said, “It started at a professional development meeting when I had watched a presentation by Goldie Hawn…when students are feeling safe and they feel grounded in himself, that they are able to demonstrate learning at a higher rate. I have been pushing this for our school. How are we creating a climate so that we aren’t responding to the crisis, but instead, how do we get ahead of the crisis?”

The entire purpose of Sown to Grow is to track students and reach out to those who need it. Hartjes said, “We have five domains, which are sense of belonging, self management, self awareness, social awareness and responsible decision making, and we can see how each student is doing on a scale of 1 to 5 when it comes to these domains. So if a student says something that indicates that they might need more support, somebody on our team will check in with them.”

Sown To Grow first started with ‘pilot classes’ last year, where selected teachers were instructed to give their students these surveys. Murphy said, “It has been way more integrated than last year. It was only a couple of classrooms, and we are so grateful for them for taking that chance because I know they have got a lot of work and a lot going on.”

After the test runs last year, Sown to Grow was then used with the RAHS Swim Team in Fall 2023. Some students have mixed feelings about Sown to Grow. Senior Sophia Inks said, “Even though I personally don’t like Sown to Grow, I think it could be really helpful if we fix some of the issues. Sown to Grow seems like an easy way for someone to reach out if they need help with their mental health, but it needs to be more consistent. If we just use it at random times I don’t think it will be helpful. I also think if we are going to use it in class we need to spread out when we’re using it so it doesn’t take up a lot of class time, like every two weeks.”

Some students don’t use Sown to Grow often. Senior Max Kirscher said, “I think I’ve been told I had to take the survey once or twice by one teacher, but other than that I’ve never been told I have to take it, and I think most teachers generally forget about it.”

Statistics provided by the Sown to Grow team show that the app has had a total of 3200 responses in the overall program.  As a result of Sown to Grow the team has been able to reach out to 13 at-risk students.

One potential short-coming with Sown to Grow is that some students may not answer honestly; Hartjes thinks it’s only in their benefit to answer truthfully. She said, “We don’t always see those, because if the system is flagging that something is wrong, or something that needs to be followed up with, that’s what comes to us, otherwise it goes to your teacher… I think there is a personal benefit to the weekly check-ins, but there is definitely a benefit to check in with yourself, and you’re not really given that opportunity at school much.”

Teachers that have been participating with Sown to Grow have found it to be useful. English Teacher Josie Boyum said, “I have my connections class do the weekly check-ins on Sown to Grow and to put down their third trimester goal…Something I like is we got sent, as teachers, a bunch of anonymous examples of students saying positive things, some with teachers names, and when I saw mine, it made my day.”

In addition to Sown to Grow, students at RAHS have a selection of mental health resources to access. These resources include two school psychologists, three social workers, and seven school counselors. Visit https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-kaNt7G1ojmk1DRCEn0Z-z1y_yLFBMSNispvRoAhquQ/edit to schedule an appointment and see any further resources.

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About the Contributor
Naima Sheikh-Mohamed
Naima Sheikh-Mohamed, Editor-in-Chief
I’m a co editor in chief and this is my third year on The Ville. I’m a senior, and some things I like to do are cook, take walks, and watch TV. A fun fact about me is that my birthday is on Halloween.

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