MARSHFIELD – Marshfield Clinic Health System and Security Health Plan are now accepting applications from eligible school districts to implement b.e.s.t.® Universal Screening in the 2023-2024 school year.

b.e.s.t. (Behavioral Emotional Social Traits) is an online screening tool designed to help education professionals build the emotional health of students and help identify students who may need additional positive behavioral support. Developed by School Psychologist Eric P. Hartwig, Ph.D., the tool provides educators recommended actions to take with students based on their behaviors.

b.e.s.t is a powerful tool for educators because all students in a class are screened, and teachers are given simple interventions to use, in real time, in the classroom. As a result, all students have the opportunity to receive positive support to help them learn new skills to manage their own behavioral health.

“This differs from typical interventions that are only implemented when there are problem behaviors in the classroom,” said Jay Shrader, vice president of community health for the Health System. “The last several years have increased the attention on student mental health and we are proud to continue supporting the b.e.s.t. program as a universal solution to support students’ well-being.”

Educator training is critical to the success of b.e.s.t. in the classroom and training this year is being approached in a new way. After an extensive survey and considering questions from b.e.s.t. users, a new training model called Learning Connections will be implemented in 2023. The new approach to training will provide meaningful and real time support to b.e.s.t. users with a series of modules that are designed to address specific and individual needs on demand.

“We continue to be incredibly fortunate with Security Health, Marshfield Clinic and our schools on the b.e.s.t. project,” Hartwig said. “We have not only been able to share real time classroom practices for teachers to help individual children, we are identifying trends and matching universal practices to support a healthier school population.”

Schools awarded a grant receive technical support, biannual screenings for students, and training consultation and support for teachers and staff. School districts eligible to receive the grant are located in Dickinson County, Michigan, or one of the following Wisconsin counties: Adams, Ashland, Barron, Bayfield, Buffalo, Burnett, Chippewa, Clark, Columbia, Crawford, Dodge, Door, Douglas, Dunn, Eau Claire, Florence, Fond du Lac, Forest, Green Lake, Iron, Jackson, Jefferson, Juneau, La Crosse, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Marquette, Monroe, Oneida, Pepin, Pierce, Polk, Portage, Price, Richland, Rusk, Sawyer, Shawano, Taylor, Trempealeau, Vernon, Vilas, Washburn, Waupaca, Waushara or Wood.

For more information or to apply, visit

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