Taipei American School welcomed Dr. Scott Poland, Professor of Psychology at Nova Southeastern University, into our community - albeit digitally - this week for a 3-day digital residency to work with parents, students, faculty, staff, counselors, nurses, and administrators in the area of school safety.
Dr. Scott Poland is a licensed psychologist internationally recognized as an expert on youth suicide, self-injury, school violence, school safety, threat assessment, and school crisis. Dr. Poland is a Professor at the College of Psychology and is Co-Director of the Suicide and Violence Prevention Office at Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He has authored or co-authored five books and many chapters and articles on these subjects including, Suicide in Schools, published in 2015. He has nearly three decades of experience in this field and has led lectures and training for parents, school administrators, psychologists, and many others around the world. Dr. Poland has worked full time in schools for 26 years and for 24 of those, he directed psychological services for a very large Texas school district.
During his time at TAS, he conducted several live and pre-recorded training with many different members of our community.
Interim Head of School, Dr. Grace Cheng Dodge, explained the importance of providing education for all of our community members and not just our faculty. "I think it's important for our community to partner together and talk about important subjects like this to keep everyone healthy, happy, and watching out for one another," she said. "We learned from Dr. Poland that talking about suicide can actually help to prevent it, not the opposite myth."
Dr. Poland met with the KA-12 counseling team for three hours on December 2 and again on December 4 for a series of talks titled "Contemporary Issues in School Crisis Prevention."
He also presented to all faculty and staff members with important information relevant to coping with the COVID-19 pandemic and TAS's specific situation as an American international school in Taiwan. His talk to faculty and staff was called "Safeguarding Students and Building Success and Resiliency."
On December 3, Dr. Poland met with our parent community in a webinar called "Raising Children in a Challenging World." Over 200 of our parents signed up for this important session. For parents who were unable to attend, a video and slide deck will be made available in the presentations section of the TAS Parent Portal by mid-December.
Finally, throughout the three days, Dr. Poland presented a talk called "Navigating the Teen Years Successfully" to both middle and upper school students. Teachers will lead breakout sessions soon to follow up on the presentation.
Dr. Poland's work with our community is part of a larger multi-year commitment to safeguarding our students and emphasizing the importance of mental health awareness in our community at large. Each student, parent, and employee has a role in fostering meaningful relationships with one another that will help make all of us feel valued and safe.
Dr. Poland's digital consultancy was generously funded through an anonymous donation from a TAS family.