New Jersey Boosting Student, Teacher Mental Health Services with District Grants

The New Jersey state education agency is using their state set-aside of ESSER II funds to create a new grant program. With $30 million in state reserve funding, the state will support districts that provide mental health services and supports for both students and teachers. Recognizing issues with capacity that may limit these types of services, the grants can be used for contracting with community partners to increase available mental health services and supports.

We are spotlighting this large statewide investment for mental health services because it is a critical time for students and teachers as many are still struggling with the impact of the pandemic even as schools are striving to return to normal operations.

Reviewer Analysis

New Leaders

Caring for the mental health of both students and teachers is an excellent use of funds. The ability to contract with community partners to increase services will allow more students and teachers to be served. New Jersey should make sure that school leaders and support staff are cared for as well.

EdAllies

The acknowledgement of capacity challenges is important and directing funding to community partners where necessary will help to offset some of the structural barriers impacting the efficacy of mental services.

Leslie Villegas

In order to ensure this investment helps English learners, NJDE should ensure they are partnering with linguistically and culturally representative community organizations, and prioritize hiring bilingual mental health staff, to the extent possible.

The Rural Alliance

Encouraged that mental health will be offered to both students and staff. Looking forward to learning how new Jersey overcomes the barrier of limited services available……virtual, online, face to face, group,etc

The Bush Center

Yes, in theory. I think capacity may stymie this project. Is it the highest and best use of funds in NJ? How does this fit in their spend mix and needs analysis?

National Parents Union

Will the families of students and teachers also have access to these services?

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