Madison Elementary School is utilizing state funding to create a mental health facility for its students, officials announced at the Ohio County Board of Education meeting Monday.
Madison counselor Jessica Laslo informed board members the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities has awarded the school a $30,000 "Expanded School Mental Health Grant." She said the funding will allow Madison to develop a school-based mental health center, which will offer after-school, weekend and summer services.
"We will offer crisis intervention services, individual services and support group therapy for students," Laslo said. "We have conducted needs assessments, and students have identified a need for extra support because of stresses that distract them from their learning. Breaking down barriers that keep our children from receiving the mental health services they need is our main focus."
The grant will allow those services to be offered to students and their families free of charge, she added.
Laslo said she has worked with local child and family therapist Lynne Stanley for two years to secure the grant funding. She said Madison has a long history of collaborating with community agencies to help meet the needs of students and their families, adding that representatives and therapists from multiple agencies provide services to students on a daily basis.
Meanwhile, board members approved a $26,600 bid from the A.G. Mauro Co. of Bridgeport to install a new key-and-lock system on the exterior doors of the county's 13 public schools.
Facilities Director Jeffrey Turner said news doors have been in place, but the locks on those doors will be replaced and new keys will be issued county-wide.
Board members also heaped congratulations on Deputy Superintendent Dianna Vargo, who was chosen to be the school system's next superintendent Saturday. Superintendent George Krelis will retire June 30. Board members are expected to vote on Vargo's contract, the details of which have not been finalized, during a special meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 18.