Routt schools receive $3.6 million in grants to expand and create mental health programs |

Routt schools receive $3.6 million in grants to expand and create mental health programs

School districts in Routt County collectively received $3.6 million from the Colorado Department of Education School Health Professional Grant Program to provide mental health services.

The grant money will stretch across three years and is meant to enhance the presence of mental health professionals in schools K-12.

Receiving $648,061 per year through the grant, Steamboat Springs School District was awarded the largest sum of any rural school district in Colorado. Some of that grant money will go toward North Routt Community Charter School.

The grant will provide a full-time school health professional at Soda Creek Elementary, Strawberry Park Elementary, Sleeping Giant School, North Routt Community Charter School, Steamboat Springs Middle School and Steamboat Springs High School.

South Routt School District will receive $273,405 per year through the grant, and this will be designated for one school social worker and one school counselor. The Hayden School District will receive $188,808 per year for one school social worker. Also, Steamboat Montessori will receive $96,891 per year for one school health professional.

Under the grant, all schools will receive contracted school-based therapy. It also includes funding for professional development, suicide prevention training and implementing resources to help measure students’ social, emotional and behavioral functioning.

“Now, we have data from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey and our district referral systems that validate the need for mental health services in our schools,” SSSD Behavioral Health and Restorative Practices Coordinator Shelby DeWolfe said in a news release. “This funding allows us to continue to provide best-practice services and serve the larger student population through our different tiers of support.”

Because of grants such as these, Steamboat Springs School District has been able to increase its mental health positions over the past several years. The grant comes at an opportune time with more than half of the district’s school counseling and mental health positions being grant-funded, with most of them ending after this school year.

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