Nationally, 20% of all students have an identified need for mental health service but only 1/3 receive any help (PBIS, 2016). At NKCES, we recognize the critical importance of supporting all students’ mental health and well-being. In keeping with state and national initiates in supporting positive mental health, we have implemented the following initiatives:

1. Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)

2. Trauma Informed Care (TIC)

3. Youth Mental Health First Aid

4. Interconnected System Framework (ISF) (part of the Response to Intervention (RTI)/ Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)


Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) focuses on helping schools build and implement a multi-tiered approach to social, emotional, and behavior supports. PBIS supports directly impact social, emotional, and academic outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities.


Trauma Informed Care (TIC) utilizes the framework from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) to support all students who have experienced trauma. TIC recognizes that the impact of trauma and recovery has widespread impact and focuses on responding to that impact, facilitating healing, as well as actively resisting re-traumatization.

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Youth Mental Health First Aid gives teachers and administrators the tools they need to support individuals experiencing mental health difficulties. Just like CPR and first aid training help us assist those in medical distress even though we don’t have clinical training, Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to give us the tools to help an adolescent (ages 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addiction challenge or is in crisis. Topics include anxiety, depression, substance abuse, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behaviors including ADHD, and eating disorders.


Interconnected System Framework (ISF) is a structure and process to integrate PBIS and School Mental Health into the school system. It is part of the national Response to Intervention (RTI)/ Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) focus. ISF helps educators and administrators develop and maintain a connected plan to support the whole child, including academic, behavior, and mental health strengths and needs. ISF focuses on utilizing the continuum of comprehensive mental health service both in and out of the school system, utilizing a multi-tiered system of support, and using data for decision-making.

Training & Technical Assistance Available…

If your district or school would like to explore how collaboration and co-teaching can be implemented to best support the learning of students with disabilities, please contact us to discuss support opportunities including:

  • Professional development (training)
  • Professional Learning Community development
  • Book study support
  • Administrative support for implementing PBIS, Youth Mental Health First Aid, Trauma Informed Care, and the Interconnected System Framework

Training offerings include overview and implementation sessions for:

  1. PBIS
  2. Youth Mental Health First Aid
  3. Trauma Informed Care
  4. Interconnected System Framework

Helpful Resources

KY ISF One Page Information Sheet

Understanding Childhood Trauma

Helpful Websites

KY Behavior RTI

National PBIS site

Midwest PBIS network

UK Center on Trauma and Children

SAMSHA Trauma Informed Care Resources

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Contact US!

Dr. Laura Clarke has over 10 years of experience supporting students with disabilities, teaching pre-service and practicing teachers at universities in the tri-state area. Laura has her Director of Special Education, Learning and Behavior Disorders, Moderate to Severe Disabilities, Interdisciplinary Early Childhood certifications and has taught in self-contained, resource, and co-teaching classrooms.

Laura has presented at regional, state, national conferences and has published articles in Teaching Exceptional Children, Beyond Behavior, Teacher Education and Special Education, Kentucky Teacher Education Journal.  She looks forward to sharing her experiences supporting teachers and students with disabilities with the Northern Kentucky community.

Laura Clarke