Student Services Grants Updates

Project AWARE and Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grants

In the fall of 2015, staff at each building received a general overview of two of the grants that the Adams-Friendship Area School District has received. This monthly email update will serve as a forum for updating school staff and community partners on grant-related programs, activities and opportunities. Additionally, within the next few months, a Student Services Grant Webpage will be launched, which will maintain in-depth grant information. Your interest, support, guidance, input and collaboration is critical and valued as we work together to improve school safety, school climate, mental health awareness and access to school and community-based mental health resources.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Courses

Youth Mental Health First Aid is the second component of Project AWARE. From December 2014-January 31, 2016, the Adams-Friendship School District has trained 157 school staff, parents/guardians and community members as Mental Health First Aiders.

See below for the most recent flyer about upcoming trainings, as well as a "save the date" for a summer training. We still have a few spots open for the March 2016 training!

YMHFA Description:

Youth Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or crisis. Training is geared toward individuals who do not have any background as a mental health professional, but who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.


Anne Fimreite, since November 2014

Floyd Lindsey, since March 2015

Kristen Fischer, since November 2015

Krista Welke, since November 2015

Heather Stiltz, since November 2015


Staff who attend the February or March Youth Mental Health First Aid Course will be compensated.

Parents/guardians who attend will receive a $30 gas card for participating.

Lunch or dinner is provided at all trainings.


"I have seen a lot of youth problems and know how I may be able to help now."

"I am thankful that this issue is no longer in the closet."

"Timely and extremely helpful-empowering."

"This was wonderful! All staff and parents would benefit."

"Great course, I wish I had it sooner."

"I feel the content can be related to a lot of people."

"I feel much more comfortable in recognizing situations or a crisis."

"Very informative, anyone who works with young people in any setting should have this."


You will receive a monthly email asking you to complete a brief survey. The survey is the tool for keeping track of the number of youth helped by First Aiders in Wisconsin. After you complete each survey, you will receive a link to additional resources. We appreciate your cooperation in filling out this very important survey each month!

SAVE THE DATE...Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

Wednesday, June 29th, 8am-5pm

AFASD Board Room

Maximum 30 participants

Staff will be compensated through Project AWARE. Lunch will be provided.

Positive Action 4K-8 Social Emotional Learning Curriculum

Positive Action is a program that promotes an intrinsic interest in learning and encourages cooperation among students. It works by teaching and reinforcing the philosophy that you feel good about yourself when you do positive actions. There are six units: Self Concept, Positive Actions for Body and Mind, Managing Oneself Responsibly, Getting Along with Others, Being Honest and Self-Improvement.

Classroom teachers provide approximately 2-3 lessons per week in grades 4K-5. At the middle school, lessons are presented 1-2 times per week during PAL. Elementary School Counselors, Dave Bassan and BriAnne Gordon, are implementing Positive Action Bullying Prevention Lessons in grades 3-5 twice per month. Various components of Positive Action are funded through Project AWARE, the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grant and the AODA Grant.

Click here to see how students are learning the relationship between thoughts, actions and feelings.

AFASD Positive Action Coaches provide general implementation support, training, leadership, evaluation and program improvement support. If you have any questions about implementation, feel free to contact the following Positive Action Coaches:

AFE: Melissa Osborn and Julie Wysocky

GM: Sharon Nokovic

RAC: Dayle Rhinehart

AFMS: Katy Anderson and Gretchen Wetzel

Positive Action...In Action!

Quotes from teachers around the district:

"We refer to this lesson often when we are having everyday challenges within the classroom. We combat negativism with this idea."

-Grand Marsh Elementary School Teacher

"...topic that the kids found relevant to their personal lives."

-Adams-Friendship Elementary School Teacher

"Applicable to kids' lives. Many may be or will be facing these challenges in the future."

-Grand Marsh Elementary School Teacher

"I am excited to see the growth of Positive Action in the next few years and how it should become almost habit to our students as they continue to grow with it from elementary on. With anything, I think we need a few years to establish routine, but I am excited to see it progress and our students grow and actively participate."

-Middle School Teacher

Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior Therapy

During the fall of 2015, Pupil Services Staff completed this ten-hour online course. This is an approach in which children/adolescents (and parents) learn new skills to help process and resolve distressing thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Those who completed this course include: Barbara Gransee, Dr. Dave Keller, Julie Goers, Dave Bassan, BriAnne Gordon, Erica Rado, Laura Confer, Tim Jensen, Cali Opsahl, Jason West and Anne Fimreite. For more information visit the TF-CBT website.

LifeSkills Training (LST)

This curriculum is proven to reduce the risks of alcohol, tobacco, drug abuse and violence by targeting the major factors that promote substance use and other risky behaviors. It provides youth with the confidence and skills necessary to successfully handle challenging situations and strengthen personal self-management, social and drug resistance skills. It promotes healthy alternatives to risky behaviors. Click here to see the program components.

Topics include Self-Image & Self-Improvement, Making Decisions, Smoking: Myths & Realities, Smoking & Biofeedback, Alcohol: Myths & Realities, Marijuana: Myths & Realities, Advertising, Violence & the Media, Coping & Anxiety, Coping & Anger, Communication Skills, Social Skills, Assertiveness, and Resolving Conflict. LifeSkills Training is an evidence-based curriculum identified through the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grant and the AODA Grant.


This curriculum is being implemented at the middle school in the 6th grade "Positive Transitions" course (taught by Tim Jensen), as well as the 7th and 8th grade Health classes (taught by Gretchen Wetzel and Lance Fritz). It will also being implemented in Shawn Groshek's 9th grade Heath class. Pre and post surveys are being utilized with each student cohort to measure program impact.

Safe Schools Ambassadors

  • Bullying and violence prevention will be addressed in this bystander education program.

  • SSA is a school-wide and student-driven peer support approach designed to address peer mistreatment, violence and bullying.

  • A socially-influential team of Student Ambassadors will be trained in each school with nonviolent communication, intervention and conflict resolution skills. They will receive training in observation skills to notice the exclusion, put-downs, teasing, aggression, bullying, harassment and other forms of mistreatment, as well as training in how to interact with peers to prevent, intervene, and stop mistreatment when it occurs.

  • 4-5 adults in the middle school and 4-5 adults in the high school will be trained as Family Group Facilitators who lead Family Group Meetings twice per month. During these meetings, Student Ambassadors discuss their interventions, practice their skills and receive feedback, support and guidance.

  • Timeline

    • Staff presentation January (MS) & February (HS)

    • Interested MS & HS staff submit Family Group Facilitator Agreement Form

    • Staff nominate students

    • SSA Student Orientation, Permission slips

    • Training March 15 & 16 (MS), March 17 & 18 (HS)

    • Additional training through Counseling Grant in Years 2 and 3

Safe School Ambassadors MS Video (Kern County)
Safe School Ambassadors HS Video (Kern County)

Community Workshops

Community Workshops will be held quarterly, beginning in February 2016, to increase awareness, capacity to identify, understand and appropriately address mental health issues and warning signs. A variety of professional trainers and/or consultants from universities, mental health agencies, and other professional organizations will provide training and professional development to staff, parents/guardians and community members.

The workshops will address various topics related to mental health issues (depression, anxiety, bipolar, reactive attachment disorder, autism, obsessive compulsive disorder, suicide, non-suicidal self injury, etc.), early warning signs of mental health challenges, screening and referral processes, substance abuse prevention, impact of military on families, influence of poverty and more.

Join us for the first Workshop (info below)!

Community Workshop: "What Kids With Emotional or Behavioral Disorders Really Need"

Monday, Feb. 22nd, 5:30-7pm

Adams Friendship Elementary School

Participants will gain an understanding of the key needs that drive the behavior of children with mental health issues and how those needs should impact our approach in dealing with challenging behavior.

Dinner will be served at Lighted SchoolHouse at 5:00 p.m. Childcare will be provided during the workshop. To register, click here.

There will be a drawing for $20 gas cards at the end of the evening!

Wisconsin Family Ties will be presenting the workshop.

Presentation and childcare funded through Project AWARE

AFASD Parent Climate Survey

Through Project AWARE, all parents/guardians in the Adams-Friendship School District will be invited to complete a parent/guardian climate survey. Once completed, parents/guardians can enter their name for one of 10- $10 gas card drawings at each school.
Kudos to the following staff members who devoted one or more evenings to assist with the parent/guardian school climate surveys at AFE during APTT! Angie Lory, BriAnne Gordon, Laura Confer, Dave Bassan, Janna TenBruggencate, Sam Schmitz, Shanna Cote, Joel Johnson, Michelle Bulin, Kristen Fischer, Jessica McCracken and Garret Gould

Trauma Sensitive Schools Trainings

Early adversity impacts the development of the growing brain and those physiological changes may lead to impaired cognitive, social, emotional and behavioral functioning. Without intervention from caring adults, these children are much more likely to struggle in school. Schools and communities can help many children who struggle with the impacts of trauma.

A Trauma-Sensitive School is a safe, respectful, and culturally-responsive environment that enables students to build caring relationships with adults and peers, self-regulate their emotions and behaviors and succeed academically, while supporting their health and well-being. Staff and community training will include principles of Trauma-Informed Care, impact of trauma on learning/development and signs of trauma. The following trainings are offered through Project AWARE and the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grant.

Professional staff will attend this training on either February 12 or February 19th. Paraprofessionals and secretaries will attend this training on April 22nd.




Seven Essential Ingredients to Trauma Sensitive Schools

Friday, Feb. 19th, 9:30am-4pm

A-F Middle School Cafeteria

This training is an introduction to the model of trauma informed care that SaintA has developed over the past seven years and has implemented across a variety of school environments.

Participants who attend this training will be able to:

  • Describe the prevalence of adverse experiences and the scope of their impact.
  • Define and respond to behavior from a trauma informed perspective.
  • Describe how trauma affects the brain and influences development, behavior and learning.
  • Identify factors that enhance the capacity for positive relationship for students who have adverse experiences.
  • Describe how purpose, belonging and safety enhance client well-being.
  • Identify techniques that enhance caregiver capacity and connect them to client outcomes.
  • Identify action steps to create a trauma sensitive school environment for all students.

Lunch will be provided through Project AWARE!

Parent Focus Groups

Parent Focus Groups will take place at AFE, GrandMarsh, Roche-A-Cri, AFMS and AFHS in April (dates TBD). During the focus groups, suggestions will be solicited from parents/guardians on ways to improve school climate and school safety, as well as exploring how the school can support their needs.

If you know of a parent/guardian who would be interested in participating in the focus groups, please contact Anne Fimreite. Fifteen parents/guardians at each school will be identified for participation. Parents/guardians who participate will receive a $20 gas card for participation!

Restorative Practices...Save the summer dates!!!

Restorative Practices emphasizes positive relationships as central to building community and works to restore relationships when harm has occurred. It is used to foster a more caring and responsive school climate, as well as proactively reduce disciplinary issues. Restorative Practices training is offered through Project AWARE and the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grant.

When? June 20 and 21 (Day 1 & 2)

Who? Middle and High School Regular & Special Education Teachers, 4K-12 Administrators and Pupil Services Staff

When? June 22 and 23 (Day 3 & 4)

Who? MS and HS Special Education Teachers, 4K-12 Administrators and Pupil Services Staff


Grant Teams... Time and Talent!

The following staff members and community partners are active members of grant teams. Their support, dedication and guidance is critical to the success of this work!

Project AWARE Core Management Team and/or the Student Supports Advisory Council:

Jason West, Barbara Gransee, Jeff Weissinger, Erica Rado, Kristen Fischer, Julie Goers, Floyd LIndsey, Krista Welke, Julie Wysocky, Tanya Kotlowski, Linda Stage, Garret Gould, David Keller, Cali Opsahl

Student Supports Steering Committee:

Dave Bassan, MIchelle Bulin, Joel Johnson, Tim Jensen, BriAnne Gordon, Laura Confer, Kristen Fischer, Shanna Cote, Barbara Gransee, Linda Stage, Roxi Irey, Tanya Kotlowski, Angie Lory, Jessica McCracken, Janna TenBruggencate, Theresa Rake, Sam Schmitz

Thank you to our community partners and parents who are valuable members on our grant teams!

Adams County Health and Human Services, Lutheran Social Services, Northwest Counseling & Guidance Clinic, St. John's Lutheran Church, University of Wisconsin- Extension, Compass Counseling, Drug-Free Adams County, Moundview Memorial Hospital, Wisconsin Family Ties, Hope House of South Central Wisconsin, Forward Service Corporation, Prevent Suicide Adams County


Please welcome Kristen Fischer to the Adams-Friendship School District! Kristen will serve in many roles through Project AWARE, but one of her main roles will be as Trauma Sensitive Schools Internal Coach.

An excellent YouTube video...

"Every kid is ONE caring adult away from being a success story."

Every Kid is ONE Caring Adult Away From Being a Success Story

For more information or to become involved