Preconference Sessions



April 17, 8:00 am-5:00 pm

PC1: Mental Health First Aid
Wendy Linebrink-Allison

Sometimes first aid is not putting on a bandage, applying CPR, or calling 911. Sometimes first aid is as simple as offering your support. Learn how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who may be experiencing a mental health concern, substance use challenge, or mental health crisis. This session includes skills to fight the stigma associated with mental illness, an introduction to common mental health challenges youth experience, and a 5-step action plan that allows you to help youth experiencing mental health concerns.

PC2: Implementing School Wellness Policies from Head to Toe
Rita Condon, Dean Hopper, MA, Ed

Now that school districts have been trained in completing their school wellness policies, many have asked “what now?” This preconference is designed to bring both state and local experts in the components of school wellness policies together to share best practices in implementing those activities. Learn about the state and federal requirements of school wellness policies. Explore each component of the school wellness policy framework. But most importantly, leave with an actual action plan for implementing your school wellness policy.

Attendance to the PC2 session will only be available by invitation from the NM Public Education Department.

PC3: School Based Health Center Preconference

Full day program designed specifically for school based health center providers.  For a full agenda CLICK HERE.

PC4: New Nurse Training

Full day program designed specifically for individuals who are new to school nursing.  For the agenda CLICK HERE.


April 17, 9:00 am-12:00 pm

PC5: Making Tough Choices: When Values Collide
Joan M. Gibson, PhD

Using the values-based decision making process developed by Joan M. Gibson and Mark Bennett over the past 20 years (see A Field Guide to Good Decisions: Values in Action, Praeger 2007), participants will study and apply practical steps for making difficult decisions while providing services in schools with diverse students and staff and, where school-based health centers exist, with their staff.

This training focuses on how to discern, express, and prioritize all pertinent values, i.e. those dimensions or characteristics of a certain issue or situation that matter to those involved, and on how to highlight and prioritize these values in order to reach a specific decision. Our working assumption: decisions made in this way last, work, and enjoy broad (though not necessarily unanimous) support.

An important, though not exclusive category of values, is the group we often label “cultural,”…i.e. those beliefs, traditions, customs, arts, that arise in the context of a specific family, community, group or society. What is true for cultural values is true of all values: we should not assume we know what matters most to another, for any reason (e.g. cultural background, age, language, role, level of education, etc.) without checking in… which values matter most to the individual decision maker or stakeholder in this situation.

Cultural competence is an announced skill and priority for social workers. This pre-conference includes practice cases that highlight cultural values, that will require participants to examine their own values, cultural and otherwise, and that will help them develop skills for eliciting this from others. For more detail about how this works, see Pause: How to Turn Tough Choices into Strong Decisions (Joan McIver Gibson 2013).


April 17, 1:30 pm- 4:30 pm

PC6: Step by Step to a Successful Peer-to-Peer Helpers Program for Youth Suicide Prevention
JoAnn Sartorius

Youth are often the first to know when their friend has a problem. The peer-to-peer helping (also “Natural Helpers”) model taps into this fact and uses it as a powerful prevention tool. New Mexico has been using and evaluating peer-to-peer helping programs across the state more than two decades with significant and impressive results in grades 5 through 12. For those considering starting a peer-to-peer helping program, this workshop covers what it takes to get ready, how to implement it to meet your particular needs, how to best succeed with your available financial resources, and how to evaluate your results.

PC7: New Mexico Culturally Informed Practices
Fred Sandoval


This workshop is designed to increase the knowledge of participants about culturally and linguistically appropriate approaches to working with New Mexico’s populations across the state. Engage in intercultural dialogue with other participants, analyze video clips of New Mexican residents, learn about a culturally sensitive approach using spheres of engagement, and discover the diverse populations in New Mexico, linguistic considerations of LEP populations, unique issues related to immigrant populations, and historical context of trauma and the current generation of families.