Strengths & Difficulties Questionnaire

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a way to help students of all ages to better address their emotions, how to truly feel those emotions, and demonstrate empathy or sympathy for others. These learned behaviors are used to help students make positive, responsible decisions; create a structure to achieve their goals, and build positive relationships with others.

Research has shown when social and emotional learning is fully integrated into schools, it improves the students’ academic performance, student engagement and increases the likelihood of high school graduations and college attendance and graduation.

As we embark on the 2021-2022 school year, we want to serve our families and students the best way we can. To accomplish this, during the months of September and October, OKCPS will be sharing with students, families and teachers a Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) to assess the mental health and wellbeing for children and adolescents. After obtaining results, a multidisciplinary team (MTD) will meet and evaluate each student's results to determine if services are needed and, if so, what type.

The survey will rollout by grade level during the following dates:

  • September 13 - 17, 2021: Kindergarten, 5th, 9th graders

  • September 20 - 24, 2021: 1st, 6th, 10th graders

  • September 27 - October 1, 2021: 2nd, 7th, 11th graders

  • October 4 - 8, 2021: 4th, 8th, 12th graders

  • October 19 - 22, 2021: 3rd graders

Watch our Facebook Live!

Click the video to watch our AskOKCPS Facebook Live from September 9, 2021 and learn more about the SDQ initiative.


Who will be administering the SDQ?

The strengths and difficulties questionnaire will be administered by Building Test Coordinators.

Who will be answering the SDQ?

  • Elementary: Parents and Teachers will complete the SDQ on behalf of the child/children due to them being too young to self-complete

  • Middle School: Students and Teachers. Parents will also have the opportunity to complete the SDQ on behalf of the students.

  • High School: Students and Teachers. Parents will also have the opportunity to complete the SDQ on behalf of the students.

How will I receive the SDQ?

The SDQ will be emailed to each parent. If you did not receive the email or forgot to complete the survey you will be able to do so during Open House or parent-teacher conferences.

How long is the SDQ?

The SDQ is no more than 10-15 minutes long. Adjustments will be made for any student requiring accommodations.

What is an MDT?

MDT stands for Multidisciplinary Teams and they organize and coordinate services (social and emotional, health, behavior, etc.) to meet the needs of students. The teams bring together the expertise and skills of different professionals to assess, plan and manage services jointly. Services are school-based and through community partner networks.

Who is on the MDT?

Administrators (Principal/designee), School Counselor, Nurse, Family Advocate, Paraprofessional, Behavioral Health Counselor (BHC), Behavior Intervention Support Services (BISS) Project Director, and any additional members that the Administrator identifies as key to the team.

How often should MDTs meet?

MDTs should meet weekly until all students meeting the criteria for Level 2 and Level 3 have been identified with services. After services have been identified, MDTs should convene as needed to address student needs.

Who will evaluate the responses?

A multidisciplinary team (MDT) will review the student's SDQ score and determine the method of assistance; inclusive of all the student’s needs within the building. The MDT will propose a plan with recommended services for each student. Services will be categorized as Level 2 (High) and/or Level 3 (Very High).

What services are included in Level 2?

Level 2 services are internal building service interventions like groups. School Social Workers and School Counselors work collectively with the building Administrator to create and support groups within the school. Groups should have identified facilitators assigned. Level 2 interventions is where we will offer a short-term targeted level of support. The individualized interventions of support will be diverse from small groups to courses.

What services are included in Level 3?

Services in level 3 include intensive interventions of support from groups to individual sessions. These individual sessions will be provided by a number of providers from our Behavior Intervention Services of support agencies to community partners.

What happens if the student/provider ratio of the Behavior Intervention Support Services (BISS) is full?

Each feeder pattern has additional mental health community partners that will assist students should additional resources be required.

What are the next steps after services have been identified?

  • The school site administrator/designee has up to 72 working hours to review the MDT’s recommendations and approve the plan.

  • Once the MDT lead receives the Administrators’ approval for the recommendations, a team's designated member must contact the parents/guardians within 72 working hours to obtain written consent for their students to participate in Level 2 and/or Level 3 services.

  • Students will be reassessed by the MDT after the student completes the service intervention on or before the 90-day follow-up assessment and provide further recommendations for services for each student.

How will I know if my child needs some type of intervention?

Your school counselor, school social worker, student assistance specialist, or Family Advocate will contact the parent/guardian and provide the child’s information from the questionnaire so that families can make an informed decision about providing permission for them to participate in the recommended program(s). It will be the parents’/guardian's decision to have their child participate. If the family decides that the child should not participate they will be provided services on an as-needed case by case basis and parent/guardian approval will be required.

What if a student is already in therapy?

If a student is currently receiving therapeutic services, it should be noted and the services continued.

Will students be reassessed?

MDTs should re-assess students at least every 90 days after the SDQ.

How will parents be notified of the SDQ being given to their student(s)?

Parents will receive an email with their SDQ to complete. Should it not be completed, they will have the opportunity to complete it during parent-teacher conferences. Family Advocates will be available to assist.

Can Parents opt-out of the Questionnaire?

Yes, parents/guardians had the opportunity to opt-in or opt-out for their student(s) participating in any questionnaire or survey at enrollment.

What happens if a parent/guardian decides to opt-out?

Parents/guardians have the right to opt out of services. Should they opt out, their student(s) will not receive the SDQ. The needs of the student(s) will be addressed on an individualized basis.

How can families opt-out of the SDQ?

To opt-out, please contact your child's school and let them know you would like to opt-out of the SDQ.