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District Participates in Kognito Mental Health Awareness Training

SARASOTA COUNTY, August 23, 2019 – Sarasota County Schools is pleased to announce that all employees throughout the district, in compliance with SB 7026, are currently engaged in their Kognito At-Risk mental health gatekeeper training, specifically formulated for elementary, middle and high school educators and staff. A combination of online modules that can be paired with face-to-face training, Kognito’s tools are ideal for helping teachers, administrators and staff members communicate and engage with students and their families about mental health.

For over 10 years, Kognito, a health simulation company, has pioneered an innovative approach to build and assess skills for leading conversations that result in measurable changes in social, emotional and physical health. Kognito offers trainings on trauma-informed teaching, bullying prevention, LGBTQ cultural competency, and substance use, in addition to mental health and suicide prevention. School districts throughout Florida are turning to providers like Kognito for expanded trainings to better equip personnel to service school communities.

“We are thrilled with the response from staff district-wide,” commented Debra Giacolone, supervisor of Mental and Behavioral Health Services within the Pupil Support Services department. “We are seeing our teachers, administrators and staff members do well above the minimum, State-mandated requirements for mental health awareness education. Many are electing to take multiple online sessions to broaden their knowledge base. Our district truly cares about connecting with students and families to address mental and behavioral health concerns as compassionately and efficiently as possible.”

“Sarasota is an inspiring example of a district that has fully embraced Kognito simulations during this back-to-school season, during which over 75,000 educators across the state have participated,” said Jennifer Spiegler, Senior Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at Kognito. “Providing this research-proven mental health training to so many in such a systematic way holds real promise for transforming the way schools can help create pathways to mental health support for millions of Florida’s youth.”

Sarasota County Schools introduced the online At-Risk for Elementary School Educators, Middle School Educators and High School Educators components to its employees last week. As of Wednesday afternoon, Sarasota County had logged 3,945 completers, or those that have completed the required online module. The Florida Department of Education has 5,723 total teachers, administrators and staff members on record representing Sarasota County, meaning approximately 68.9% of the total required group has already completed their online portion. This includes both traditional public school and charter school personnel. Four face-to-face sessions are being offered at the school district’s headquarters the end of this week to allow personnel to complete their mental health awareness education requirements.


About Sarasota County Schools

Sarasota County Schools is committed to providing unrivaled academic, emotional and civic growth to every student, every day. As one of the leading employers on the Suncoast, Sarasota County Schools boasts 53 schools that expertly cater to the diverse needs of over 43,500 students. We are one of two Florida school districts to consistently earn an A-grade every year since 2004 and have been awarded the Mid-Sized School District of the Year by the University of Cambridge. Our passionate educators empower students to take charge of their academic and personal success, a practice we believe fosters lifelong growth and achievement. We actively maintain the district’s tradition of excellence and ensure that tradition extends to all students. Our commitment to our students extends beyond graduation to make sure they not only graduate on time, but do so college and career ready. Want to take your student’s education to the next level? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit


About Kognito

Kognito is a health simulation company whose evidence-based simulations harness the power of role-play conversations with virtual humans to improve social, emotional, and physical health. Learn more at