Heroes for Health: Eliot Underhill

This spotlight series is designed to profile members of the Racine Collaborative for Children’s Mental Health. Over the coming months, the series will feature individual Collaborative members, each of whom is integral to the group’s efforts to forge stronger connections and establish new approaches to strengthen the social and emotional development of our children.

This series is an opportunity to highlight and recognize the diverse individuals, services and resources available to the Racine community.


Who: Eliot Underhill, Assistant Director of Alternative Education, Racine Alternative Education at Winslow School

Website: http://www.racine.k12.wi.us

Email: eliot.underhill@rusd.org

Phone: 262-664-6600

Twitter: @MackUnderhill

About Racine Unified School District: With approximately 21,000 students, RUSD is the fourth largest school district in the state of Wisconsin. The district has 21 elementary schools including 3 magnet elementary schools, 7 middle schools

Words from Eliot, a Hero for Health:

As a special education teacher for 3 years and now in my role as principal of Racine Unified’s former Mack Center, now known as two programs Racine Alternative Education and Turning Point Academy, I have seen first-hand how mental health can contribute to a student’s behavior. It’s not that these students do not wish to learn and be successful; oftentimes they are simply in need of a more tailored approach. It’s very much about having the resources to meet students where they are and giving them the tools they need to succeed in life – including mental health support.

Through programs like the former Mack Center and now the Turning Point Academy (TPA), Community Service Program (CSP), Partners Educating Parenting Students (PEPS) and the Special Education Options (SEO) program, our community has made a commitment to help students continue with their studies, despite the challenges and circumstances they face. All of these programs intersect with our need to provide for the emotional and mental well-being of our most vulnerable students.

Unfortunately, there is still a great deal of stigma and misconception around mental health that clouds our recognition of the issue and hinders a student’s ability to seek help or for others to provide support. Yet our students need and welcome our trust and care. While some individuals may need life-long services, many benefit greatly from short-term help to get through difficult times or grievance periods.

I’m committed to and protective of the students I see each day and am optimistic that change can happen. It begins with going the distance to develop trust with the students, building relationships with families and fostering understanding throughout our community - your child, my student, our kid. We all benefit when we support our kids in their transition into adulthood.

The Collaborative is a welcome and unifying initiative that helps us coordinate and combine resources from across the community for maximum impact so that we can succeed in supporting our kids with their transition into adulthood.

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