Moore County's From the Desk of Dr. Seth Powers page

From the Desk of Dr. Seth Powers

From the Desk of... Dr. Seth Powers
This is the image for the news article titled From the Desk of... Dr. Seth PowersIt’s hard to believe but 2019-2020 marks the fourth year that I have served in the role of Director for Student Support Services for Moore County Schools, following 15 years as a school principal.  The office’s primary mission is to provide for the safety, health and welfare of the district’s 12,835 students and 1,750 staff members.  This is accomplished through the efforts of our MCS Police, school nurses, school counselors, psychologists and social workers who all work under the umbrella of Student Support Services.  These outstanding professionals work daily to provide for safety and security on our campuses and to meet the physical, emotional and mental health needs of our students.

Much has been accomplished to improve safety, security and health outcomes over the past three years. In regard to physical safety, health and welfare, we have increased the number of school police officers and nurses through grants and a community partnership with FirstHealth of the Carolinas. Our ratio of students to nurses for the district has dropped from nearly 1,500:1 to 900:1.  However, due to budget constraints we are still not at the state recommended student to nurse ratio of 750:1 and we do not have a school police officer based on every campus. Additional funding is needed to allow the district to increase staffing of these critical positions as well as school mental health professionals to include counselors, psychologists and social workers.  

Student mental and behavioral health and welfare improvements include the establishment of a five-person Behavioral Health Intervention Team (BHIT).  Individual BHIT members works in all schools to assist students with the most severe behavioral/mental health needs through consultation, case management and direct services to students to provide short-term therapy as a “bridge” while helping parents to find outside therapeutic resources. The BHIT also provides support and training to teachers. Teams of teachers on all campuses have been trained in Mental Health First Aid and our district has taken particular interest childhood trauma. Some schools with high needs in relation to childhood trauma have had their entire staff trained in Reconnect for Resilience in an effort to better understand and counteract the negative effects of trauma. In addition, the district has established protocols and held trainings related to suicide assessment and threat assessment to be used as appropriate to keep both individuals and overall student populations safe on all campuses.

The school district has also placed a high value on feedback from students related to their social-emotional and health related needs. In 2018-2019, we began to solicit student feedback through annual surveys. These surveys include a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) Survey for students in grades 3 through 12, a Climate/Culture Survey for students in grades 7, 9 and 11, and a Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) for students in grades 8, 10 and 12.  Data gained from these surveys has helped to shape the direction of our student support efforts.

MCS recently received a Stop School Violence grant from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services at the U.S. Department of Justice for $475,000 which will be used to further improve security on campuses by upgrading aging security camera systems and supporting the use of Active Defender, an online school safety app which dramatically cuts down on response times and allows any staff member to set an alert from anywhere on campus in the event of a crisis situation.  A second state of NC safety grant in the amount of approximately $65,000 will allow the district to complete installation of Campus Emergency Response Systems at every school. These systems emit a loud siren and verbal directions in the event of a lockdown as an additional layer of emergency communication. 

Although much has been accomplished to improve student safety, health and welfare in recent 
years, there continues to be much work to be done.  The Student Support Services team looks forward to continuing to find ways to implement new as well as improve upon existing systems and process to better support our students.

Dr. Seth Powers
s. powers
  • Moore County Schools
  • 5277 Hwy. 15-501 South, Carthage, NC 28327
  • 910-947-2976
  • 910-947-3011
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