State Senator Jason Lewis as well as State Representatives Steven Ultrino, Paul Donato and Kate Lipper-Garabedian recently announced that Malden Public Schools has received a $180,000 grant from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to expand social-emotional supports for students and to develop community partnerships with mental health providers. The “Supporting Students’ Social Emotional Learning, Behavioral & Mental Health, and Wellness through Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (SEL & Mental Health Grant)” aims to build capacity of school districts, charter schools and educational collaboratives to do one or more of the following:
- Pilot universal mental health screenings for students in kindergarten to grade 12
- Develop comprehensive, integrated multitiered systems for student, family and educator social-emotional and/or mental health supports
- Build sustainable infrastructure to facilitate integrated coordination between school and community-based services and/or providers
Districts receiving this grant have been asked to prioritize racial and cultural responsiveness, evidence-based interventions and supports and cultivating multiyear partnerships with community service providers.
“Health care should be a basic human right, but too many people in Massachusetts right now struggle to access high quality, affordable and timely mental health care,” said Lewis. “The pandemic has shown that there’s a growing need for accessible social-emotional support catered to young people and their families. I’m very pleased that Malden Public Schools will now be able to expand the mental health resources our students have available to them.”
“Over the past two years, from the COVID-19 pandemic to the nationwide reckoning with racial injustice, we have seen a heightened demand for mental and behavioral health support for everyone in our communities,” said Ultrino. “We must ensure that our schools have strong systems of support that prioritize the social emotional needs of all students, families, and staff. I am excited to see Malden Public Schools strengthen partnerships with community-based mental health agencies and providers but more importantly, increase the resources available to our students and staff.”
“This grant comes at critical time for students in Malden Public Schools. As we continue to navigate the pandemic, increased accessibility to social-emotional support comes at an important time. I’m grateful that the Malden Public School System is able to develop an increasing infrastructure of Mental Health Services to address the need of our students and their families,” said Donato.
“As a former public school teacher, education attorney and mother to two young children, I know how invaluable this investment will be,” said Lipper-Garabedian. “This grant award will empower our Malden Public School students, teachers, and communities to cultivate self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision-making, relationship skills, and overall well-being – competencies that are essential now more than ever in responding to COVID-19’s implications and building resiliency.”
“The Malden Public Schools is thrilled to receive the Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health services grant,” said Superintendent of Schools Ligia Noriega-Murphy. “This grant will give us the opportunity to create much-needed wrap-around tiered services for our students as we continue to navigate the social, emotional, and mental challenges that our students have to face on a daily basis, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.”