HARTFORD — The U.S. Department of Education recently awarded a $308,740 grant to the Bloomfield School district, one of only 35 schools nationwide, that will use the money to “establish or expand mental health” counseling programs.
According to a statement from the department, grantees will use funds to support counseling programs in targeted elementary schools. Specifically, the new awards will aid schools in hiring qualified mental-health professionals with the goal of expanding the range, availability, quantity and quality of counseling services. Parents of participating students will have input in the design and implementation of counseling services supported by these grants.
“School counselors serve a critical role in ensuring that students are safe,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “These grants will enhance school-based counseling programs, which have proven to be a great source of help for students with mental-health issues.”
Grantees also will use funds to help increase the number of available and qualified counselors based on a school’s student population. Research shows that having adequate counseling services can help reduce the number of disciplinary referrals in schools, improve student attendance and academic performance, and enhance development of social skills. Funds also may be used to support parental involvement, counselor and teacher professional development, and collaboration with community-based organizations that provide mental-health and other services to students.
The other school district in Connecticut to receive a grant is Southington.
For more information on the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Program, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/elseccounseling/index.html.