The Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District is one of 26 across the state to receive a Comprehensive School Counseling Grant.

The notice of the $133,500 grant came to the school district last week in conjunction with School Counseling Week.

The goal of the grant, according to a news release, is to develop and expand school counseling services and resources that improve student achievement, well-being, and college and career readiness.

We are excited to receive this grant!” BHMSD Assistant Superintendent Julie Meitzler said. “The school counselors approached me to work with them on this grant as part of the ‘Carry the Torch’ initiative through the IDOE. This grant will help us to reach that designation, but more importantly will help us to continue to meet the needs of our students.”

As part of the application, BHMSD identified the following goals through the Comprehensive School Counseling Grant:

• Support and expand current programming, including providing timely access to a licensed therapist through a contract service with a local mental health center, addressing student behavioral needs, and promoting student success through additional college and career readiness.

• Provide opportunities to promote staff wellness, including a professional development day in September of 2024 similar to one provided in 2021.

• Provide additional training for staff, including the impacts of trauma on the brain and suicide prevention for all district school counselors.

“We are thrilled to be selected as a recipient of this competitive grant knowing the student impact that will be achieved,” Superintendent Dr. Brad Yates said. “Our school counselors are a valuable asset to our students, and this funding will allow for even greater student success.”

Funding for the Comprehensive School Counseling Grant is allocated as part of the state’s federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief plan. Through this grant, more than 117,000 students across 17 Indiana counties will be supported. Successful applications specified how grant funding would improve counselor-to-student ratios as well as establish or further strengthen partnerships with community organizations and employers.

“School counselors are uniquely positioned to provide students with a number of important services, including guidance in completing all necessary courses and other graduation requirements, encouraging exploration of career and postsecondary opportunities and overall well-being support,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “The recipients of this grant understand the importance of comprehensive school counseling and the range of support our students need in order to reach their full potential. With this additional funding, they will be better equipped to support the needs of their community, and ultimately, move the needle for their students.”

The grant to Bluffton-Harrison schools is part of $5 million in total grants the IDOE distributed to the 26 districts statewide.