Shusterman announces grant money to address student mental health needs

HARRISBURG, June 8 – State Rep. Melissa Shusterman, D-Chester/Montgomery, announced today the Woodlynde School in Chester County has received $136,370 in state funding to support student mental health needs.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic began more than two years ago, we have seen an increase of mental health needs in students at every age,” said Shusterman. “Our children are in desperate need of help. It is essential that our schools are equipped with resources to address these needs. I am proud to see this funding awarded to the Woodlynde School.”

The Woodlynde School plans to use the funding to:

  • engage a trained specialist in social-emotional mental health and to provide accompanying professional development for colleagues to support and develop their comprehensive Social-Emotional Learning programming, data gathering processes, counseling services, and behavior referral program.
  • hire a teaching colleague who has experience in counseling, social-emotional learning, emotional support, and/or behavior analysis.
  • provide team-based support to continue the school’s efforts in a comprehensive model for social-emotional learning and support in grades K-12.
  • create a bank of resources and a shared vision of social-emotional supports in every classroom and every content area.
  • grow the school’s behavior referral program and data collection procedures to respond to emotional needs in their population with evidence-based behavior intervention plans.
  • implement evidence-based behavior plans with consistency and staffing support in grades K-12 and maintain data on efficacy, progress and demographics.
  • engage additional outside trainers and experts to provide evidence-based strategies and supports to address student needs.
  • continue the school’s partnership with the Center for Responsive Schools in implementing Responsive Classroom with fidelity and consistency in grades K-8.
  • develop an advisory program in grades 9-12 to continue social-emotional learning in a developmentally responsive mode that builds on the Responsive Classroom foundation.

The grant is funded through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students. The funding is intended to be used to advance programs and practices that address youth mental health well-being in their local communities and/or schools.