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Catherine Wessling
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Boulder Valley School District receives funding for mental health support from Impact on Education

Louisville (June 2, 2022) – Impact on Education, the foundation supporting Boulder Valley public school students, has committed over $800,000 to support the ongoing mental health needs of students and staff in the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD). Nearly $600,000 of this funding enabled BVSD to hire additional Mental Health Advocates, with remaining funds providing professional development and other supports across the district. 

“The ability for BVSD to provide mental health support during the school day makes it much more accessible for families,” says Allison Billings, Executive Director of Impact on Education. “Our unique partnership with BVSD allows Impact on Education to supplement District resources to ensure the needs of all students are met. ”

The funding to support mental health has come from Impact on Education’s generous community partners, including Community Foundation Boulder County, Center for Disaster Philanthropy, AT&T, UnitedHealthcare, Google, Bender West Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, Ilse Nathan Foundation, and the City of Boulder Housing and Human Services Department.

Impact on Education funded six hours of Calming Kids professional development for BVSD School After Care educators to teach them strategies for managing student mental health needs and their own. The first sessions were held in 2021 thanks to a grant from the City of Boulder Human Services Fund through the Housing and Human Services Department, and additional sessions are planned for 2022.

Student After Care (SAC) staff serve a diverse group of students daily at 32 sites throughout BVSD. From grade levels to academic ability levels to emotional and behavioral health levels, SAC staff must manage each student’s needs and create a safe environment outside of school hours for students and staff.

Impact on Education committed nearly $600,000 to hire four additional Mental Health Advocates to be deployed year-round in BVSD’s schools most impacted by the Marshall Fire.

In BVSD, referrals of students to Mental Health Advocates rose by 86% this school year compared to the same period during the 2020-21 school year. Within BVSD, Mental Health Advocates provide prevention and intervention services for students, supporting their social-emotional and behavioral development, student achievement, and crisis intervention. Their work includes both group and individual counseling support and working directly with students, parents, and staff members. MHAs also help families access external resources, including making appropriate referrals to community partners such as Mental Health Partners and Jewish Family Services.

The Mental Health Advocates working over the summer already have lists of students they’ve been working with, but if you know of a student in need of support please direct them to the BVSD Crisis Form.

“We are seeing a significant increase when it comes to the social-emotional support our students need at this critical moment. ” says Tammy Lawrence, BVSD Student Support Services Director. The additional support of four new Mental Health Advocates will ensure all of the schools impacted by the Marshall Fire have the intensive layer of mental health support needed, and expand BVSD’s capacity to respond to mental health referrals. 

Impact on Education also provided funding to help Fairview High School host RESeT, a conference for students with sessions on sexual violence education and prevention, mental health, self-care and leadership.

“We are tremendously grateful for the support of Impact on Education and our entire community, as we work to provide support for those impacted, ” says Dr. Rob Anderson, BVSD Superintendent. “This is not a situation that will be resolved in days or weeks. We must be ready to help our fellow neighbors for the many months and years it will take to not only rebuild, to once again feel safe and to return to normalcy.”

Funding additional mental health advocates, professional development for staff, and new opportunities for students, families and staff are three ways Impact on Education is investing in the well-being of Boulder Valley’s public schools. The intensity of mental health concerns and the time required to provide support and intervention varies dramatically from case to case, but these additional services and funding will allow BVSD to expand and improve student support.

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ABOUT IMPACT ON EDUCATION
Impact on Education is the foundation supporting all 30,000 students and 4,000 educators of the Boulder Valley School District. Since 1983, we’ve provided Boulder Valley public school students with community funding and resources in order to meet critical needs and eliminate opportunity gaps.

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