The Rowland Unified School District provides the Early Mental Health Initiative program at ten elementary schools in the district. Some schools refer to it as PIP, STEPS, or SHIPS, but at its core the program focuses on helping children adjust to school. EMHI paraprofessionals, under the guidance of an elementary counselor, provide students in grades TK-3 with positive, one-on-one attention which helps them feel good about themselves, builds their self-esteem and helps make for a good start in the elementary school years. Each student spends 30 minutes in the activity room with a trained adult paraprofessional one day a week for about twelve sessions. Sessions are spent with small groups of 2 to 3 students. The sessions consists of lessons teaching classroom skills, friendships, empathy, anger management and coping, aimed at developing more socially competent students.
Trained adult aides are carefully selected to offer children a supportive caring relationship and how to listen and communicate with children. They respect and value children and are motivated to help children adjust to school as well as possible. They teach lessons that help children strengthen social skills.
All children in Transitional Kindergarten through 3rd grade in RUSD schools are eligible. Teachers identify children who would most benefit from this program.