Columbia Public Schools honored for mental health work
COLUMBIA - Columbia Public Schools is being recognized for its work in improving the mental health of its students and faculty.
The national Magna Award for Equity Programs is for medium-sized school districts who are removing barriers to achievement for vulnerable or underserved children. Specified barriers include ethnicity, gender, special needs, geography or socioeconomic status.
Columbia Board of Education President Jan Mees said the award shows the programs are moving in the right direction.
"This is another rich resource of our district that can help everyone's children succeed and achieve and not to be afraid of mental health issues," she said. "These are things that are becoming more prevalent in our society, this is another tool to help our kids."
CPS teamed up with the Boone County Schools Mental Health Coalition in 2013.
The two organizations have "implemented a county-wide mental health screening and assessment system; provided professional development for employees regarding mental health awareness and support; implemented programs to support at-risk youth; and improved coordination of services for at-risk youth and their families."
Mees believes the changes were needed because education is evolving.
"Everybody's not coming from perfect family backgrounds and theres a lot of other social emotional things that are going on in our world," she said. "And this became evident to our community and that is why this award is so good."
The award is sponsored by the National School Boards Association and the American School Board Journal.
CPS will receive the award later in March in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"Columbia needs to be recognized for its work," Mees said.