MPS Receives $1 Million Grant to Expand Social Work Services | News
Montgomery, AL ─ The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Montgomery Public Schools over $1 million to expand social work services in elementary schools.
Department officials announced Monday that MPS was among 60 recipients in 24 states to receive a share of $21.2 million in grants it awarded school districts to support social work and school counseling programs. The funds will help schools hire qualified mental-health professionals with the goal of expanding the range, availability, quantity and quality of services. MPS will receive $347,566 in Year 1; $336,357 in Year 2; and $337,541 in Year 3 ─ for a total of $1,021,461.
“Being awarded over $1 million to support our social work programs says a lot about the work we are doing, our needs, and the direction we want to move services to children who need academic and family support,” said MPS Superintendent Barbara Thompson.
“The elementary years serve as the foundation for future academic success, and much of that success is influenced by what is happening outside the classroom. Social workers are a vital resource in our schools because the early identification and interventions they use help remove barriers to learning and promote academic achievement,” she said.
The three-year grant, written by MPS Social Work Services Director Dr. Letha Maxton and Teresa Green, will be used to hire three additional social workers and a part-time psychiatrist who will serve 11 elementary schools. The schools are Brewbaker Primary, Chisholm, Crump, Davis, Fitzpatrick, Floyd, and Highland Gardens, Morningview, Morris, Nixon and Wares Ferry Road. The schools were selected based on the percentage of students with one or more risk factors as identified by the Alabama Graduation Tracking System (AGTS). AGTS is an early identification system that provides interventions and resources to keep students on track to graduate as early as elementary school.
Maxton said the grant will allow the district to better meet the needs of students and their families. In addition, parents of participating students will be involved in the implementation of social work services supported by the grant.
“Research shows that having adequate support services can help reduce the number of disciplinary referrals in schools, improve student attendance and academic performance and enhance the development of social skills,” said Maxton. “We can also use the funds to support parental involvement, counselor and teacher professional development and collaboration with community-based organizations that provide mental health and other services to students.”
Information Source: MPS