By CRISTINA JANNEY
The Hays USD 489 school district received a $41,975 grant from the Kansas Department of Education to hire a mental health liaison for Hays Middle School.
The school district is in the hiring process for that position now.
The liaison will be employed by the school district and refer students who need services to High Plains Mental Health.
Through the Mental Health Intervention Team Program grant the school district will pay for 25 percent of the cost for the liaison’s salary and benefits and the grant pays the rest.
“Sometimes as a staff member, you see a kid a kid is hurting, but you are still trying to teach. This will give another avenue to refer [a student] to services,” Superintendent Ron Wilson said. “It is absolutely awesome.”
Assistant Superintendent Shanna Dinkel helped write the grant application.
“We decided to focus on middle school because we know the transition from elementary to middle school, when we look at the sixth grade and look at our data, we see a little bit of a dip there. That’s tough,” she said.
She said student also tend to struggle as they make the transition from middle school to high school.
The grant will primarily focus on foster children. However, the liaison will also be able to work with other families.
Only 31 districts in the state received this grant.