$222,240 awarded for ‘therapeutic classroom’

The Charles City Community School District has been notified that it will receive a $222,240 Therapeutic Classroom Incentive Grant this fall for students whose social-emotional or behavioral needs impact their ability to be successful in their current learning environment.

The funds from the Iowa Department of Education can be used for social-emotional skill building, skills to cope with stress and trauma, mental health treatment and crisis intervention and follow-up.

Those from ages 3 to 21 will be eligible for these services.

Charles City has students at all grade levels who are not meeting grade level expectations because of social-emotional needs, according to Jennifer Schilling, director of academic services for the district.

“If we could help them cope with those kinds of things, they will be able to be more academically successful,” she said.

The therapeutic supports also will make the students “better people and responsible citizens,” Schilling added.

Part of the grant will involve training teachers on how to deal with students in trauma situations.

A district multidisciplinary team will determine exactly how the funds will be used, according to Schilling.

The Therapeutic Classroom Incentive Grant was established through state legislation signed into law in 2020 and is part of a statewide effort to increase mental health supports for children, youth and families.

A school district is not required to operate a therapeutic classroom; however, a school district is required to ensure therapeutic services are available, whether in-district or otherwise, to students who need those services to access or benefit from an education, according to the Iowa Department of Education.

The word “classroom” describes an educational set of services that create the educational environment that may include but is not required to include a separate physical setting from other students, the department said.

“All students need support and resources

that meet their individual needs,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo.

“The therapeutic classroom grants help schools build upon their great work to promote the overall well-being of students,” she said. “I commend this year’s awardees and their community partners for their plans to grow and strengthen a continuum of therapeutic supports so that every student has the support they need to succeed.”

This is the second round of funds. Six school districts were awarded grants during the first round of funds for the 2021-22 school year.

Charles City is one of 10 school districts receiving a total of more than $2.3 million in Iowa Department of Education therapeutic classrooms grants for the 2022-23 school year.

The other schools are Ballard, Bettendorf, Coon Rapids-Bayard, Council Bluffs, Decorah, Eddyville-Blakesburg-Fremont, Monticello, Williamsburg and Woodbine.

Proposals submitted by the 10 awarded districts will serve nearly 200 pre-K-12 students and will expand mental health supports for youth across seven of the state’s Mental Health and Disability Service regions and seven of the Area Education Association regions, the Iowa Department of Education said.

Grants will be distributed this fall for district implementation during the 2022-2023 school year.

Courtesy Charles City Press

Tags: classroom, education, state, jennifer, grant, emotional, iowa, therapeutic, behavioral, schilling, social-emotional

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