Schools get more funding to expand counseling program

Brown County Schools has received more grant funding to help support students academically and emotionally in all schools.

The district received a $192,800 comprehensive counseling initiative implementation grant in early October from Lilly Endowment Inc. On Nov. 16, it was announced that the district had received an additional $47,906.34 to implement the new model.

With the new funding, students in kindergarten through the fifth grade will participate in a social-emotional learning curriculum called SecondSTEP, said Debbie Harman, the director of student learning.

The program consists of units in skills for learning, empathy, emotion management and problem solving, Harman said. School counselors and teachers will be trained to implement the curriculum into core courses, she said.

A graphic of how the counseling model will work has Brown County students and families at the center. From that, it branches out to address the social-emotional wellness of students through “learned optimism;” college and career pathways through early awareness of students’ options; and academic preparedness through opportunities offered in the classroom.

Teachers, counselors and administrators; community family counseling resources; and community business partners shore up the model to create “regional prosperity in southwest central Indiana.”

Students in the sixth through 12th grades will get similar lessons through the Botvin LifeSkills Training program.

Preschool students are benefiting, too, Harman said.

“Access to quality preschool pays social, emotional, as well as academic dividends across a lifetime,” she said.

“The grant continues the priority for the district.”

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Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers business, cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.