Ironwood schools gets mental health grant


March 23, 2020


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Ironwood — The Ironwood Area Schools has received a grant that will allow it to offer additional mental health services to the students in the district.

The grant allows the district to place “a fully-funded mental health professional on our campus to provide evidence-based behavioral and social-emotional support for our most at-risk students,” Ironwood K-12 Principal Melissa Nigh said.

She said the person will have the title of “transitional coach,” and will be similar to a social worker or therapist.

The district already has a mental health therapist on campus, according to Nigh, but the need is more than a single person can manage.

The $5,000-per-academic year grant is through School-Based Health Solutions Network, Nigh said, and will run through the 2023-24 school year. School-Based Health Solutions Network is a private organization supported by national health insurance plans, Nigh said, that funds school districts with limited resources.

The grant can also be used for activities centered around Positive Behavior and Support Systems, Nigh said, which the district is planning to implement in the fall.

At the district’s March board meeting last week, Nigh said the hiring process to fill the position is being finalized and will hopefully be able to begin once students are allowed to return to classes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered Michigan’s schools closed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ironwood Superintendent Travis Powell also praised the opportunities the grant provides.

“This is adding another level of support for students, this is therapy that is happening in the school,” Powell said at the recent school board meeting. “It’s different than what our school counselor does … that meets a specific need for our student population.”


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