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Santa Barbara School District Awarded $1.2 Million Federal Grant for Counseling Programs

The funding will be used to expand services in five high-need elementary schools

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, announced Thursday that the Santa Barbara Unified School District has been awarded a three-year, nearly $1.2 million grant from the Education Department’s Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Demonstration Program.

The federal funding will allow the school district to expand counseling programs in five high-need elementary schools to assist students with emotional and behavioral problems, reduce disciplinary referrals and allow students to focus on learning.

“We know that some of our students face extraordinary personal circumstances that can have tremendous impact on their performance and concentration in the classroom,” Capps said. “That is why we must make sure students have access to the vital services of our school counselors and social workers. Getting these important services to our students will help all of them succeed.”

“School counselors benefit both students and teachers by helping to create a safe school environment, improve teacher effectiveness, increase academic achievement and promote student well-being,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “We believe that school-based counseling programs offer great promise for improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of students with mental-health issues.”

Grantees also will use funds to help increase the number of available and qualified counselors based on a school’s student population. Research shows that having adequate counseling services can help reduce the number of disciplinary referrals in schools, improve student attendance and academic performance and enhance development of social skills.

Funds also may be used to support parental involvement, counselor and teacher professional development, and collaboration with community-based organizations that provide mental health and other services to students.

Click here for more information about the program.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

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