Director of Pupil Services Jerry Nicholson says plans are already in place to leverage the funding. "Student-focused initiatives include expanding the Hope Squad, a peer support group aimed at suicide prevention and intervention." The group, active since last year at Foxview Intermediate School and one of only two such groups in Wisconsin, will be launched at De Pere Middle and High School locations this year. Four other student-focused programs are planned as well.
Staff training, and continued participation by staff in the local Allies for Mental Health Education will also benefit from the grant.
Parents will see expanded opportunities to engage in mental wellness discussions via break out sessions at elementary Academic Information Meetings and through Parent Network groups.
Funding will also allow the district to create and share county-wide a process by which staff can screen students when emergency mental health claims are made so communications with area providers can be more consistent and direct.
"We're deeply committed to the mental well-being of all De Pere students," says Nicholson. "The grant funding is one more tool to help expand our offerings."
District Social Worker Melanie Brick and Program Support/4K Coordinator Kari Stryhn spearheaded the grant application.