Mental & Behavioral Health

The Black Hole of School Avoidance: Strategies to Move Ahead

May 16, 2022 | 10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Registration is closed

Speaker: Nancy Rappaport, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Webinar Description
School avoidance describes students whose chronic absence from school is associated with some degree of psychiatric symptoms. Chronic absenteeism is a risk factor for a number of behaviors including suicidality, substance use, unsafe sexual behavior, and school drop-out. Early recognition of school avoidance, diagnosis and treatment of any underlying concerns, understanding of school and family dynamics, and targeted accommodations and interventions are vital to prevent increasing problems. Using case examples, Dr. Rappaport will give an overview of school avoidance, review disorders that may underlie it (including anxiety and mood disorders and neurological and medical conditions), describe concrete accommodations that schools can make to support the school avoidant child, and discuss approaches to successful collaboration between family, school, and health care providers.

About the Speaker
Nancy Rappaport, M.D., is a graduate of Princeton University and Tufts University School of Medicine. A board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, Rappaport is currently a part-time associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Her research, teaching, and clinical expertise focus on the collaboration between education and psychiatry. After graduating from Princeton, Rappaport worked as a science teacher at an innovative elementary school in Harlem, New York where she advocated for support for struggling families. Her life-altering experiences in Harlem inspired her to enter medical school and would help launch a robust career. Graduating from Tufts School of Medicine in 1988, Rappaport completed an internship in pediatrics and a residency in adult psychiatry, both at Massachusetts General Hospital, before completing a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Cambridge Hospital. It was during this fellowship that Rappaport forged a longstanding relationship with the Cambridge Public Schools. Dr. Rappaport received the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry's Sidney Berman Award for the School-Based Study and Treatment of Learning Disorders and Mental Illness in 2012. She also received Cambridge Health Alliance’s Art of Healing Award in 2013 – an award given to one who “transcends boundaries, joyfully embraces humanity, and profoundly inspires the healing of body and spirit.” Rappaport is the author of the memoir In Her Wake: A Child Psychiatrist Explores the Mystery of Her Mother's Suicide (Basic Books, September 2009), winner of the Boston Authors Club's 2010 Julia Ward Howe Prize. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly called the book “Fearless … a stunning narrative of perspective, profound sadness and unrelenting hope.” She is also the author of The Behavior Code: A Practical Guide to Understanding and Teaching the Most Challenging Students (Harvard Education Press, April 2012), written with behavioral analyst Jessica Minahan.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about participating in the webinar.

Slides available here.

Membership Information
Most MPY webinars are available to ONLY 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 (F20180079 provider number). Professional Development Points (PDPs) are offered for all MPY professional development webinars. PDPs are issued for a minimum of 10 hours of training.

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are available for clinical staff from the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Massachusetts Mental Health Counselors Association, Inc. (MaMHCA). The NASW and the MaMHCA approves each event. Event participants may request CEUs by filling out the request form above. 

Requests for PDPs and CEUs must be submitted within 8 days of the webinar. PDPs and CEUs will only be issued to participants who have attended the webinar(s) and submitted the appropriate paperwork within 8 days of the webinar, with accurate accountability codes. 

PDP and CEU certificates will be emailed to attendees at the end of the school year.

Event Cancellation Policy
If you are unable to attend any MPY event after registering, you must cancel online at least 72 hours prior to event. For assistance email Lauren@mpyinc.org.

Nancy Rappaport, M.D.

Nancy Rappaport, M.D.

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