GROTON, Conn. (WTNH) – Addressing mental health has become a major topic for students and educators since the start of the pandemic. On Friday, students expressed what’s working in schools and what needs to be improved.

Student mental health took center stage at the annual conference with nearly 500 superintendents and school board members from across Connecticut. High school seniors, Melinda Lu and Kruti Dharsandiya had the opportunity to express the student perspective when it comes to learning in the midst of the pandemic.

“We’ve learned and developed, and we kind of like learn in different ways than we did before,” Lu said.

“Schools can tend to just touch the surface of different ideas,” Dharsandiya said. “They don’t really go into ‘how do we implement this to make it effective for our students.’”

The students not only want to tell educators what they’ve been through, but they have suggestions for them to take back to their school districts. That includes designing class time for students to treat their social and emotional well-being, and have administrators meet with kids to discuss their needs.

“One of the most important things that we have to learn is how to interact with other people on other teams because no matter when profession you’re in, you need to make sure you have those people skills,” Lu said.

If our educators are not well, then our students won’t be well, so it is important for us holistically, between CABE and CAPSS and all our partners, to work together to ensure that we’re truly addressing those needs,” said Dr. Charlene Russell-Tucker. “I believe they’re fundamental to student success.

Connecticut’s Commissioner of Education Dr. Charlene Russell-Tucker says the state is investing millions of COVID-relief dollars to address the issue and help more than a half million children in their public schools.