Plan Components

PSU Improvement Plan for Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and School Mental Health (SMH) 
(per NC SBE Policy SHLT-003)

Each K-12 public school unit (PSU) shall adopt and implement a plan for promoting student mental health and well-being and for assessing and improving upon the effectiveness of supports for the mental and social-emotional health and substance use needs of its students and staff by July 1, 2021.

Note: PSUs whose District MTSS teams have completed the Core SEL Practices course and developed a Core SEL implementation plan around instruction, curriculum, and environment will be well situated to develop a compliant local improvement plan for promoting student health and well-being by July 1, 2021, per SHLT-003 requirements.  Visit NC SEL Implementation

In addition, it is strongly recommended that a local needs assessment and resource mapping be conducted prior to completing the improvement plan below. Completion of the SHAPE Quality Assessment and/or use of the needs assessment and resource mapping tools will provide the data needed for the targeted improvement planning below.

PSU Compelling Why & Vision for SEL and School Mental Health Improvement

Plan Template document available for download at the bottom of the page.

CORE SEL and Mental Wellness Supports

SEL and MH Prevention Strengths & Needs
Action Items / Status Helpful Resources


YRBS (Youth Risk Behavior Survey)

Annual School Health Services Report

Healthy Active Children Report

PowerSchool Data

Say Something App Data

SHAPE (School Health Assessment and Performance Evaluation)

ECATS MTSS Early Warning System data

District Report Card data

Describe existing PSU SEL/ MH prevention initiatives
Action Items / Status Helpful Resources
(e.g., MTSS, trauma-informed schools, restorative practices, character education, WSCC framework, bullying prevention, etc.)  
Build/Align Infrastructure
Action Items / Status Helpful Resources
  • Adopt/implement mental health training program which includes adult SEL and mental wellness (include a hyperlink here or an appendix to your training plan).
  • Adopt/implement sucide risk referral protocol (school personnel who work directly with students [teachers, instructional support personnel, principals, and assistant principals; this may also include, in the discretion of the PSU other school employees who work directly with students] in grades 6-12 [required] and K-5 [recommended])  Include a hyperlink here or an appendix to your suicide risk referral protocol.
  • Improve SISP staffing ratios
  • Engage relevant stakeholders, including families, students, community providers, and cross-system partners (e.g., county agencies, faith-based organizations, professional associations, etc.), with the goal of building school, family, and community partnerships to strengthen SEL and MH prevention


SEL in Homes and Communities 

Align with Academic Objectives
Action Items / Status Helpful Resources

NC SEL Standards Mapping Documents

Webinar Series Recordings: Integrating SEL into the Content Areas

Aligning SEL and Academic Objectives

Aligned SEL Sample Lesson Plan

SEL/MH prevention curriculum
SEL/MH prevention instruction
SEL/MH prevention environment
Action Items / Status Helpful Resources

Evidence-based Programs Decision Tree

NC Professional Teaching Standard II

CASEL Supportive School/Classroom Environment 

SEL and MH prevention Data Evaluation  
- student data (screening)
Action Items / Status Helpful Resources

Create SEL/ MH Data Evaluation Plan

School Mental Health Quality Guide: Screening

MTSS Assessment Guidelines 

System of Interventions for SEL and Mental Health

Early Intervention
Action Items / Status Helpful Resources
  • Identify students who are at risk of developing SEL and/or mental health issues at school
  • Identify students experiencing SEL and/or mental health issues at school
  • Provide intervention for at-risk or struggling students
  • Annually review of crisis intervention policies, practices, and personnel
  • Annually review of discipline policies, practices, and personnel
  • Ensure PSU is included in local community emergency preparedness plan

MTSS Module 2.4 Develop a Behavior/ Social-Emotional and Attendance Component to System of  Interventions

ECATS Early Warning System

Treatment, Referral, Re-entry
Action Items / Status Helpful Resources
  • Improve access to school-based and community-based services for students and their families
  • Improve transitions between and within school and community-based services
  • Formalize protocol for students re-entering school following acute/residential mental health treatment
Resources for Early Intervention and Treatment

Plan Template document available for download at the bottom of the page.


Memorandum of Understanding

In addition, each PSU shall offer to enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Local Management Entity/Managed Care Organization (LME/MCO), and/or, to the extent deemed appropriate by the PSU, with local mental health and substance use providers serving the geographic area in which the PSU is located. The MOU should address the parties’ respective roles and relationships and how the parties will coordinate referral, treatment, and follow-up to individual students. This requirement is not intended to impose on PSUs any obligation or responsibility to provide, or liability for failure to provide, referral, treatment, follow-up, or other services beyond those already required by state or federal law.

School Mental Health Initiative MOA/MOU Samples

Additional MOU sample available for download at the bottom of the page.


Suicide Risk Protocol

To ensure timely and effective response to suicide threats, PSUs will adopt a suicide risk referral protocol that is provided to school personnel who work with students in grades 6-12 (required) and K-5 (recommended) and includes both of the following:

  • Guidelines on the identification of students at risk of suicide.
  • Procedures and referral sources that address actions that should be taken to address students identified in accordance with this subdivision.

Sample suicide risk protocol available for download at the bottom of the page.