Virtual coaches train teachers to help at-risk students

Teachers at Round Rock ISD are strengthening their skills in recognizing red flags in a student's mental health. Kognito allows teachers to pick an avatar and choose their own adventure.

The program simulates a variety of scenarios where teachers interact with students.

LaShanda Lewis, RRISD Counseling Services Coordinator said the district provides mental health training for faculty and staff year-round addressing dating violence, academic stress and suicide prevention. "I can tell you that suicide for teenagers in the number two cause of death," said Lewis. "One of the reasons I like it is because it allows teachers or educators or whoever is going in time to do it at their own pace."

The virtual coach teaches users what to say and what not to say to a student who may be at risk. It takes about an hour and the district reports about 95 % of instructors find it more effective than any other program.

Lewis said the goal is to encourage teachers to build a relationship with students.

If they feel they need additional assistance they’ll recommend counseling services. The program has been used for first hires but the district hopes to use these training services with staff and faculty.



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