Ohio Student Wellness And Success Fund Report Shows 80% Of Eligible Schools and Districts Planning Mental Health Services
Release date: 3/24/2022
COLUMBUS, OHIO —The Ohio Department of Education today released a new report showing how Student Wellness and Success Funds are helping eligible districts and schools, along with community partners, implement innovative and effective ways to provide whole child supports, including physical, mental and behavioral health care services.
A $675 million investment made by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly over a two-year period from October 2019 through June 2021 has resulted in the planning or implementation of more than 2,000 student support initiatives that are serving more than 1 million Ohio students. In FY21, 80% of eligible schools and districts used Student Wellness and Success Funds to provide mental health programs and services.
“Time and again, I hear from educators that students’ mental and physical health needs must be addressed in order for them to do their best academically,” said Governor DeWine. “As I mentioned in my State of the State address, I am proud that we’ve established this fund to help provide students with skills and supports so they can focus on learning and their long-term success.”
During the FY21 school year, schools and districts funded a wide variety of initiatives within each of the allowable service categories to meet students’ need. These categories include services for homeless youth, family and community engagement initiatives, physical and mental health care, mentoring, and before- and after-school programs.
“Ohio’s districts and schools are committed to fostering strong community partnerships that help provide safe and healthy learning environments for our students,” Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction Stephanie Siddens said. “The physical and mental health and wellness supports that schools and their partners can provide through these funds are essential to helping students focus on learning.”
School and community partnerships highlighted in the report include:
- Cincinnati Public Schools used Student Wellness and Success Funds to provide increased academic, social and emotional support to students through its Project Connect program. The district hired an academic coach to work with students at two high schools to help remove barriers to students’ success, including attendance and academic issues. Cincinnati Public Schools worked with Activities Beyond the Classroom, a local nonprofit organization.
- Dayton City Schools formed a partnership with Dayton Children’s Hospital to hire 26 social workers as student resiliency coordinators to streamline counseling services. The district reports there has been an increase in parent satisfaction as a result of the resiliency coordinator program. Parents appreciate that there is a dedicated, formal process for keeping parents updated with their students’ progress.
- Horizon Science Academy, Columbus used Student Wellness and Success Funds to purchase resources for its Concept Young Scholars Program. In this program, students spend time with mentors for tutoring, test preparation and other educational supports.
- Mohawk Local School District integrated a full-time school therapy dog that provides therapeutic, behavioral and developmental supports to students. Staff and administrators credit the canine with positive changes in school climate and student behavior. The district partnered with the School Therapy Dog Training Program at The Ability Center of Greater Toledo.
- Youngstown City Schools partnered with QuickMed Urgent Care and Wellness to open four YOUCare clinics inside school buildings. These clinics operate as full-service urgent care centers for students and staff. The district reports that providing access to same-day medical services on-site reduces the likelihood of delays in care and treatment, resulting in reduced spread of COVID-19 and other contagious illnesses, reducing the length of absences and increasing student performance.
Administered by the Ohio Department of Education, funds were allocated to traditional school districts, community schools, joint vocational school districts and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) schools. Ohio law requires that schools and districts receiving these funds complete and submit a report detailing the use — or planned use — of funds at the end of each applicable fiscal year.
For more information on Student Wellness and Success Funds, and to view the full report, visit the Department’s Supporting Student Wellness webpage.