The U.S. Department of Education awarded Fort Wayne Community Schools more than $400,000 Thursday as part of a grant to improve school counseling programs.
The grant was given to 40 school districts across the country, and Fort Wayne was the only Indiana district to receive one.
Fort Wayne Community Schools spokesperson Krista Stockman says the district will use the money to hire three new counselors that will serve at elementary schools in the district. Currently, counselors are only available in middle and high schools, and Stockman says putting counselors in elementary schools could dramatically help students.
“We know that if we can help them at a young age, the sooner we can get them the support and the assistance that they need the more impact we’ll have on long term academic success,” Stockman says.
Stockman says the district wants to hire the new counselors this school year.“School-based counseling programs are a wonderful resource for students whose families may not be able to take advantage of outside services or programs,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “These grants will allow school districts to hire more professionals and provide additional services to those students who are struggling with mental-health and emotional issues, and their families.”
Stockman says the district will study the effectiveness of the grant over the next year, by measuring improvements in disciplinary situations as well as other factors.