Bethel School District adding 7 counselors with $220K grant

A new program called Skill Builders will provide seven new counselors who are specially trained to help students with behavioral and mental challenges.

Posted: Aug 22, 2019 6:32 PM
Updated: Aug 26, 2019 3:17 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Starting this school year, there'll be a new, specially trained counselor in every elementary school in the Bethel School District.

A new program called Skill Builders will provide seven new counselors who are specially trained to help students with behavioral and mental challenges.

It's being funded by a $220,000 grant from the Trillium Community Health Plan.

Executive Director Dawnja Johnson with the Bethel Education Foundation spent eight months writing grants to get funding for what she said has been a desperate need in the classroom. 

She said our classrooms are in crisis and these counselors will work as early intervention.

"We know that classroom behavior is an issue, and we just couldn't sit back and wait for something or someone else to come in and help our kids," Johnson said.

Johnson said the program is a pilot program and she believes Bethel is among the first in the state to implement anything like it. She said the services the skill builders will provide could be life-changing for the entire classroom.

"The grant was to hire people who specialized in not only education but social-emotional health so they could work one-on-one with the kids," Johnson said.

The counselors are trained through Direction Service in Springfield.

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