Beavercreek gets $4.5M for student mental health, social worker in each school

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

Federal grant lasts five years; school official says staffing will provide more levels of support for students

Beavercreek City Schools has received nearly $4.5 million to fund student mental health services, and plans to place a full-time social worker in each of its school buildings.

Beavercreek received a School-Based Mental Health Services Grant for $4.48 million over five years from the Office of Elementary & Secondary Education of the U.S. Department of Education, the district announced Tuesday.

With the grant, the school district plans to collaborate with a community provider to increase its number of school-based mental health personnel. The grant allows for a full-time social worker to work in each building, and allows the schools to hire a licensed independent social worker as the supervisor.

The district currently uses student self-assessments, as well as input from teachers and parents, to see which students might benefit from some extra help — on everything from in-classroom behavior to self-management and emotional regulation, Superintendent Paul Otten said.

Currently, the district has some social workers that serve in different schools, but the grant money will allow the district to expand these supports to more students, he added.

The money also will be used to create a “respecialization” program for current staff, and district social workers will have the opportunity to pursue career advancement and specialization while working at Beavercreek.

“This will have a great impact on our efforts to meet the needs of the whole child and provide a multi-tiered system of support for our students,” said Assistant Superintendent Bobbie Fiori.

Beavercreek Schools were among 102 agencies selected for the grant from among hundreds of applicants, which included individual school districts and state educational agencies across the country, the district said.

“We were ecstatic to learn that our project was chosen to be funded,” Otten said. “This is yet another great example of how our district seeks out and provides greater support for the needs of our students.

“Our curriculum department, led by Assistant Superintendent Dr. Bobbie Fiori, should be commended for their continued commitment to evaluating the needs of our students, creating opportunities to address these needs while also tapping into financial resources beyond our tax base. This project will serve our students well today and into the future,” Otten said.

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