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I am very excited to be launching a series of blogs that represent the many great things that the Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) has to offer for our students.  For the next few months, I will be working with some of our leaders and directors to describe the work that we do in public schools these days that many may not know all about.  Contemporary public education is better than ever at teaching academic skills and basics for students to be ready for today’s challenges.  But research and reality will show us that many many issues in society have become schools’ responsibilities as we partner with our parents and community to help our students to become productive and successful citizens.

One issue that schools in the country have all begun to take on over the last few years is social emotional and mental stability issues.  Six years ago, PUSD began to train teachers and fund staffing to support students’ social emotional needs.  This past year, our district took that movement to another level by providing a director position to oversee the many programs and several staff dedicated to this cause.  I am excited to introduce you to our new Social Emotional Director, Jessy Stickel.


Joe Howard, Superintendent of Prescott Unified School District

I’m so happy to get an opportunity to connect with all of you. I have been with PUSD for 7 years now as an Academic Advisor, Student Success Coach, and now as the Social Emotional Director. 

What an honor to be with a district that values building social emotional capacity. Together we are creating opportunities for our students, staff, and families to increase their self and social awareness, providing tools for healthy relationships through positive engagement, and giving them the resources to make constructive choices that honor their goals. 

To accomplish this I have chosen to focus on four main areas of delivery. Culture, which is our district’s beliefs, climate, what our practices are that we participate in daily, collaboration with our community organizations and resources, and lastly our onsite coaching and counseling services. 

What this looks like on a daily/weekly/monthly basis is:

Culture: Our Beliefs That Drive Us As A District

  • Kids at Hope: All kids are at hope not at risk


  • Capturing Kids Hearts: When you have a child’s heart you have their mind


  • Social Emotional Committee Meetings

    • to ensure this is the lens we see our students and families through by creating intentional engagement and empowering them by cultivating propelling futures that excite us and them to learn and grow daily

Climate: Practices We Participate In

  • Setting up structure and safety

    • Schedules, social contracts, good things, greetings, quality questions, affirmations, rapport, presence

  • Professional Development for all staff

    • Deescalation, mindfulness, substance awareness, behavior, communication, trauma lens, self care, suicide prevention

  • Connection to Home

Collaboration: Community Organizations & Resources

  • Matforce-Building healthier communities

  • Yavapai County Community & Mental Health

  • Boys to Men/Full Circle- adult mentors

  • Launch Pad-teen education & engagement

  • EAP- employee mental health assistance

  • Armed to Know- parent education for SEL

  • Love & Logic- free parenting training

Coaching and Counseling Services:

  • 1-1 check ins & counseling

  • Classroom Presentations on SEL Topics

  • Weekly Group Circles

    • Prosocial skills/friendship

    • Emotional regulation & resiliency

    • Anxiety awareness

    • Coping skills

    • Grief

If you have any questions, ideas, or concerns please reach out to me at I look forward to talking with you.


Coaching & Counseling Team Check In at Abia Judd

Full Circle Girls Group & Mentor program at PHS
Bader Buddies Monthly Lunch Group- Highschool Students come to enjoy and socialize with our elementary students and Lincoln.
SEL Professional Development Day: Onsite Staff and Community Presenters

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