CMS already has mental health therapists in about thirty schools. Another 37 schools will soon be getting them.
Kids come to school with lots of problems that have nothing to do with the classroom, but those problems sure can affect the way they learn.
“It may be dealing with family issues, social relationships, interactions, or there may be diagnosed mental health illnesses,” says CMS Director of Student Services Karen Thomas.
That’s where therapists may be able to step in and help. Often times, counselors will be responsible for a few different CMS schools, usually ones with high-levels of low-income students. They serve elementary, middle, and high school students. Local mental health groups supply the counselors.
Thomas says it makes sense to expand the program.
“For many students that will mean fewer disciplinary actions or referrals. We expect that it will mean actual increases academically in their performance once they are settled and able to focus or have the strategies they need to be successful,” says Thomas.
She’s seen that to be true in many of the schools that already have counselors. But as part of the expansion the district will begin tracking the impact of therapists.
The therapists don’t come at a cost to the district, since counselors bill Medicaid or the students’ insurance. The county will subsidize the care of students who are underinsured.