Archive for Thursday, March 19, 2009

Licensed clinicians to be in schools

March 19, 2009

Eudora USE 491 could see the first programmatic fruits of the Safe Schools Healthy Students grant before the end of this year.

At the Thursday meeting of the USE 491 Board of Education, grant director Christina Mann presented to the board contracts that would place licensed mental health clinicians in school buildings.

“This would be the first real step within the safe schools grant where we’re really starting to get services going,” Eudora Superintendent Don Grosdidier said.

The district was awarded the federally funded $3 million grant in July. It will provide the district $745,816 each year during the next four years.

The actual mental health services might not be available until next year, but Grosdidier and Mann plan to at least be able to get clinicians into each school so they are ready to go at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year.

“If you postpone getting them into the buildings until fall, then you’re working throughout the fall on protocol and relationships and then they’re not getting the services to the kids until later,” Grosdidier said. “By getting them in during this semester, they do hit the ground running and that guarantees that we’re going to see more of those services available to the kids next fall semester.”

The contracts could be approved during special board meeting at end of month.

Another social service discussed at the meeting was one that would provide food during the weekends for some students who are on free and reduced lunch.

The program is called Back Snack and is organized by Kansas City area food bank Harvesters.

The program began in the Kansas City area in 2004, and Grosdidier said organizers would like to bring the program to Douglas County.

Students who receive free and reduced lunch make up about 30 percent of the Eudora School District enrollment of 1,465 students. However, not all students on free and reduced lunch are eligible for the program. Eligible students would be selected for the program on a case-by-case basis

The district has applied for the program and if accepted, it would be piloted at West Elementary School this year. If successful, the program could be available next year for students at the new elementary school, as well as kindergartners at the early learning center.

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