Championing Students Through Change: Welcoming Youth Transitioning To and From School

August 20, 21, & 22, 2024
2:30 - 4:00 p.m. PT 


Navigating life's transitions can be challenging, especially for students moving between different educational and institutional settings. This August, the Pacific Southwest MHTTC invites you to join us for a three-part series dedicated to supporting students through these critical periods of transition.


Throughout the series, we'll take a deep dive into trauma-sensitive and culturally responsive strategies for welcoming students back to school from special education programs, juvenile justice system involvement, hospitalizations, and more. Our goal is to equip you with the tools and knowledge needed to create nurturing environments that uplift students and foster their resilience as they navigate these significant transitions.

We'll explore practical strategies for supporting students transitioning to and from programs and institutions, and provide participants with the skills to promote a sense of belonging and resilience among students during these pivotal times. Key questions we'll address include:

  • How can school staff prepare themselves and students to welcome youth back from institutional settings?
  • What unique challenges do students face when returning to school?
  • What unique strengths do students bring to us as school leaders when returning to their school?

Join us to build your capacity to champion students through times of transition. Whether you're an educator, administrator, school mental health professional, or youth advocate, you'll walk away with deepened empathy, practical tools, and a network of support.


Register for one, some, or all sessions by Monday, August 19, 2024.
Please visit the event pages to sign up for each session. Click through using the links below!


Session 1: Welcoming Students Through Transitions (e.g., Special Education, Suspensions, Weekends, School Breaks, Bereavement)

Tuesday, August 20, 2024
2:30-4:00 p.m. PT 

Led by Melissa Smith & Oriana Ides
> Register now



Session 2: Facilitating Successful Returns to School Following Hospitalization

Wednesday, August 21, 2024
2:30-4:00 p.m. PT

Led by Amanda Lipp
> Register now



Session 3: Supporting School Reentry After Juvenile Justice System Involvement

Thursday, August 22, 2024
2:30-4:00 p.m. PT

Led by Melissa Smith & Oriana Ides
> Register now


About the Faculty


Amanda LippAmanda Lipp (she/they)

Amanda Lipp is a filmmaker, multimedia artist, and speaker working at the intersection of mental health care, storytelling, and technology. Ms. Lipp has created over 100 short documentary films and educational comic books elevating complex mental health and social impact topics like youth psychosis, mass trauma, recreation therapy, and alternative living. As a passionate advocate, Ms. Lipp has delivered over 150 workshops and keynotes sharing mental health resources, films, and her own personal story. She currently serves on the Mental Health Advisory Panel at Google, and the Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Committee (ISMICC) created by Congress to advise on federal policy. Ms. Lipp formerly served as the youngest board member of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Amanda graduated from UC Davis with a B.S. in Human Development. Ms. Lipp identifies with the LGBTQ community, and has passion for social awareness, and systems access for this population. 



Melissa SmithMelissa Smith, M.S. (she/her) 

Melissa Smith is the newest member of the Pacific Southwest MHTTC team. As a licensed collegiate and postgraduate professional, Melissa comprehends the immense influence education can have on cultivating safe, inclusive, and engaging learning spaces that amplify voices which often go unheard. As a licensed collegiate and postgraduate professional, Melissa understands education's profound impact on ability to challenge existing norms and perceptions, amplifying the voices of those from marginalized communities.

As a Change Consultant with Change Matrix, Melissa crafts transformative learning experiences that foster personal and professional growth. Her commitment extends beyond conventions as she envisions landscapes where everyone feels valued, heard, and empowered to thrive. She uses her scholarly knowledge to create safe, inclusive, and engaging learning environments.  Her methodology empowers people and organizations to question the status quo, utilize data-driven insights, and take tangible actions to create more equitable and inclusive environments.

A passionate professional with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education and a Master of Science in Reading from Radford University, Melissa encourages us to move beyond comfort zones to dismantle systemic barriers hindering social, emotional and mental health.


Oriana IdesOriana Ides, MA, APCC, PPS (she/her)

Oriana Ides is a School Mental Health Training Specialist at CARS (the Center for Applied Research Solutions) and approaches healing the wounds of trauma and oppression as core elements of social justice. She has worked with young people across the life course from elementary school to college, and has served as teacher-leader, school counselor, classroom educator and program director. She is committed to generating equity within school structures and policies by focusing on evidence-based mental health techniques and institutional design.



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