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RIDE Announces Additional Funding to Support Student Assistance Counselors

Celebrates National School Counseling Week 2021 with #CounselorsCareRI

 

Providence, RI- The Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), announced additional federal funding to support the Student Assistance Counselors Program through Rhode Island Student Assistance Services. Currently, eight counselors are supported though this program and this additional funding will support a full additional year for School Year 2021-2022 for the program. 

“Now during COVID-19, more than ever, our school communities need access to direct support and services that respond to student’s unique needs,” said Commissioner Angelica Infante-Green. “I am grateful to Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Federal Delegation for advocating for this critical funding to continue services that support our students on so many levels.” 

Student Assistance Counselors are critical to helping students navigate the mental health and substance use challenges of the teen years, particularly during the pandemic. Student Assistance Counselors can be a critical person in the lives of students, helping to guide and support them throughout their school years.
“Rhode Island has wisely invested in getting more student assistance counselors into schools to help keep kids on the right track and prevent them from falling through the cracks. This federal funding will help student assistance counselors provide more at-risk students with a wide range of support they need, especially as they cope with the challenges of the pandemic,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed.

“Student Assistance Counselors are providing personalized support to keep students on track and focused on schoolwork,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. “I’m pleased that we’ve been able to extend the program in Providence at a time when students are facing a new set of challenges because of the pandemic.”

Leveraging $885K in federal funding, the state will be able to continue support through this school year and all of next school year. The program, which started in the fall with an initial allocation of $92,000 from CRF dollars, has placed eight counselors in the following schools: Esek Hopkins Middle School, Gilbert Stuart Middle School, Nathan Bishop Middle School, Nathanael Greene Middle School, Mount Pleasant High School, Hope High School, Central High School and Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School. Funding is provided by the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund. 

“The economic and public health crises we are living through have taken a toll on students’ mental health and made the work of student assistance counselors even more critical” said U.S. Congressman Jim Langevin. “No matter the challenges, our students can succeed if we have their backs and they have the proper guidance. I commend Governor Raimondo and the Rhode Island Department of Education for making this crucial investment that will help ensure students’ success and wellbeing in and out of the classroom.”

“Rhode Island’s Student Assistance Counselors provide really important support to so many young people right now,” said U.S. Congressman David Cicilline. “I’m pleased that this federal funding will ensure they can continue doing their jobs and help teenagers navigate the challenges of adolescence, particularly in these challenging times, for another school year.”

This announcement comes as RIDE celebrates National School Counseling Week 2021 which takes place this year from February 1-5. Sponsored by the American School Counselor Association (ASCA), this week highlights the essential contribution of school counselors and student assistance counselors within U.S. school systems and the tremendous impact they have in helping students achieve school success and plan for a career.

"Supporting the social emotional needs of our students is not only is the right choice, but it is the smart choice, because students who can manage their behavior, exercise self-care and build strong relationships are more likely to succeed inside and outside the classroom,” said Superintendent Harrison Peters. “Student Assistance Counselors provide that vital support and we are truly grateful for the federal funding to support this program.”

“With this support from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) fund, Rhode Island will continue to bring evidence-based practices to our schools. This enables these schools to cover topics such as the pressures of adolescence, the importance of making choices to promote positive behavioral health, and the risk of harm associated with substance misuse,” said Director Kathryn Power, Director of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals. “This program also offers more intensive assistance and counseling for students who are identified as experiencing elevated risk for behavioral health issues. These services can help students and their families cope with these challenges, which have been on the rise.”