Iowa Mental Health Center Arrives for Schools, Kindergarten to Grade 12 Student Needs


The state of Iowa will use $ 20 million in federal relief to fund a new school-based mental health center that will provide resources to schools in Iowa for the next school year, Governor Kim Reynolds said on Wednesday.

“This new center will help teachers and schools across the state meet the mental and behavioral health needs of K-12 students, an increasingly important role in the post-pandemic world in which we let’s live, ”Reynolds said at a press conference Wednesday.

The Iowa Center for School Mental Health will be a partnership between the Iowa Department of Education and the University of Iowa. The director of the Iowa Department of Education, Ann Lebo, said Wednesday that she was expanding the work underway at the state level and at the University of Iowa’s College of Education.

“We are allocating $ 20 million in federal relief funds the department has received to support this work and expand the centre’s services across the state, particularly in rural communities,” she said. “Starting this summer, all schools in Iowa – large and small, rural and urban – will benefit from ongoing research, best practices and evidence-based support.

Lebo said services will include crisis response, training and coaching for teachers, support for strategic planning, program evaluations and assistance in using strategies to promote behavior improvement. Services will be available for schools over the next school year, she said.

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“Over the past year, many of our schools have experienced an increase in anxiety and depression among their students,” said Lebo. “Meeting these growing needs and ensuring that students feel connected and supported is essential to their overall well-being and academic success. ”

Reynolds also announced Wednesday that the state will contribute $ 10 million in combined funding to the Waterloo and Council Bluffs school districts for the pilot programs they are undertaking.

The Waterloo project will receive $ 3 million for a program to close the achievement gap in literacy and math, with a particular focus on students of color.

Council Bluffs will receive $ 7 million for a program that will expand preschool programs and launch a school-based child care program for infants and toddlers up to age 3.

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Ian Richardson covers the Iowa Statehouse for the Des Moines Register. Reach it at [email protected], at 515-284-8254, or on Twitter at @DMRIanR.


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