COVID money pays for 300 school counselors statewide

BIXBY — The Oklahoma State Department of Education’s (OSDE) says more than 300 school counselors and mental health professionals have been added to Oklahoma public schools through School Counselor Corps.

The program was launched in 2021 by State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister.

It’s a three-year, $35 million initiative supported by COVID stabilization funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.

Schools in 176 Oklahoma school districts have added 201 counselors, 47 licensed mental health professionals, 22 licensed clinical social workers and three recreational therapists.

Schools also have filled 50 mental health positions through contracted services.

“This is a crucial investment for our students,” Hofmeister said. “School counselors and mental health professionals play a transformative role in helping students work through adversity, achieve success in the classroom and prepare for life after high school.”

Bixby District Counseling Services Coordinator Allison Morris said she has seen a new level of awareness among students and families about what resources are available to them.

“Our teachers have seen more connection among their students and an increased sense of belonging,” she added.





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