For this webinar series, participants will automatically be enrolled in all 5 sessions.


  • Sheilah Gauch, LICSW, M.Ed.

This webinar series examines the current mental health crisis, as well as other crises currently facing schools, including school refusal; anxiety; previously unconsidered diagnoses that may provide a better roadmap to health; high caregiver need; and the challenge of transitional planning for students with significant mental health needs.

To receive PDPs and CEUs, participants must attend all 5 sessions and successfully pass a quiz following Session 5. Following the live webinar, registrants will be emailed a link to view the recorded webinar. The recording will be made available for 7 days after each session.

This session discusses the mental health system: identifying important shifts that have happened; reviewing the impact to schools; and identifying how school professionals can interface with the system and access necessary support for students. 

This session reviews the prevalence of school refusal/avoidance; discusses the neuroscience of anxiety to better understand the possible root cause (as well as explore other possible root causes); and explores tools to help students re-engage in school.

This session explores PANS/PANDAS and other immune mediated disorders and identify how being able to identify potential missed cases can support schools and allow students to regain health.

This session focuses on the science behind why caregivers of students with high needs are often stuck in acute stress/trauma reactions and why it can be challenging to partner with them. By understanding the trauma that this key group of stakeholders experiences – and how to respond to the behaviors that it manifests – we can better implement strategies to help our students make effective progress.

This session explores the challenges in transitional planning with students with mental health needs and how to support students (and their caregivers!) in preparing for life after high school. We will focus on preparing students to set attainable goals, including how these students can best prepare to attend college.

About the Speaker

Sheilah Gauch, LICSW, M.Ed., holds a Masters in Educational Organizational Management and is licensed as a Principal, Special Education Administrator and School Adjustment Counselor through the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Sheilah has been working with children with significant mental health needs for over 20 years. She is currently the Principal of Dearborn Academy, a Chapter 766 Private Therapeutic Day School. Dearborn Academy serves students with significant social/emotional and learning challenges. She has supported the school in the creation of a robust academic and clinical milieu to support students with the highest level of need. Sheilah began her career working with children, ages 5-18, in an outpatient treatment setting. Sheilah then moved to work as a clinician at a residential treatment program, where she stayed for close to ten years. From there, she moved to join a public school setting as a Special Education social worker. Here she supported students in sub-separate programming and went on to develop and oversee the district’s Tier 3 off-site transitional program. Sheilah serves as the Chair of her local Special Education Advisory Council (SEPAC). She has two children of her own children who have required special education services. Both of her children were ultimately diagnosed with Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Strep (PANDAS). Sheilah is an active advocate for PANS/PANDAS awareness. She co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for PANS/PANDAS legislation. This group led the grassroots advocacy effort in Massachusetts that supported the passage of S2984, a health care bill that included both the creation of a PANS/PANDAS Advisory Council and a mandate that insurance companies must provide coverage for the disease. Sheilah attended the University of Texas where she was an All-American swimmer as well as an Olympic Trial participant. Her experience as a collegiate athlete reinforced for her the value and importance of teamwork, perseverance and resiliency – all values she feels are essential to her work in supporting children, and their families and systems, with complex mental health needs.

Participants must attend all 5 sessions, either live or recorded, to receive PDPs and/or CEUs. If you are not eligible for PDPs and/or CEUs, you may apply for a Certificate of Attendance.

Membership Information

Most MPY webinars are available ONLY to current staff from member districts and organizations. Public school memberships include police and fire personnel. Former and retired employees and members of committees, including but not limited to, PTO/PTA, PAC, School Improvement Councils, Health Councils, Drug/Alcohol Councils, and school volunteers, are not considered MPY members.

PDPs and CEUs

MPY is an approved Professional Development Provider through the Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education (Provider No. F20180079). Professional Development Points (PDPs) are offered for most MPY professional development webinars. PDPs are issued in 10 hour increments, per DESE requirements.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for clinical staff through the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association, Inc. (MaMHCA). The NASW and the MaMHCA approve each event individually. CEUs may be given in hourly increments.

To receive PDPs and CEUs, participants must pass the quiz.

Event Cancellation Policy

If you are unable to attend a MPY webinar you must cancel, through Bonnie Mullen at, one business day before the webinar.

For MPY hybrid conferences, the date in-person registration closes will be posted on MPY’s website. Virtual conference registration will close one business day before the hybrid conference. You cannot cancel or switch your registration from in-person to virtual after in-person registration closes. Please email Bonnie Mullen at with any questions regarding registration.

  • Enrollment in this course closed on 10/16/2023.

If you are seeking to receive CEUs and/or PDPs, please click Register Now. Once you complete the webinar series, you will be able to take quizzes for CEUs and/or PDPs. Upon completion of each quiz, you will receive a certificate.

All sessions are 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

  • Session 1: October 16, 2023, Supporting Students in our Current Mental Health Crisis
  • Session 2: October 30, 2023,  Understanding and Supporting Students with School Refusal/School Avoidant Behavior
  • Session 3: November 13, 2023, Understanding the New Frontier in Mental Health and its Impact on Schools 
  • Session 4: November 27, 2023, Caregiver Trauma and Why it Matters 
  • Session 5: December 11, 2023, Transitional Planning and Mental Health