School briefs: Stillwater schools receive Bridge to Excellence grant

  • Updated: December 14, 2013 - 4:43 PM

Stillwater Area Public Schools has received a state Department of Human Services grant to address mental health issues.

“This aligns with our strategy to make mental health services available to all of our students by putting a therapist in every one of our buildings,” said Paul Lee, director of student supports, in a statement. “What makes this unique is that it isn’t just therapy, it’s about supporting mental health within the entire school.”

The funding will be targeted to the Bridge to Excellence plan, designed to provide mental health services districtwide. As a result, therapists from a nearby community mental health center will work directly with students to discuss coping strategies for anxiety, depression, life-change trauma and other mental health issues, officials said.

“We have great supports in place to address academic, social and even behavioral needs of our students,” Lee said. “But we’ve known there is more we could do to address the mental health side. This grant will allow us to work together to address all of the obstacles a child may have in their learning.”

Stillwater teacher gets national certification

A Stillwater Area High School history teacher was recognized as being the school district’s first National Board Certified Teacher (NBCT), officials said.

“It was a grueling process,” Kris McCarthy said in a statement posted on the Stillwater Area Public Schools website. “But it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. It’s changed the whole way I teach. It’s such a reflective process, and makes you question everything you teach and how you teach it.”

McCarthy, who teaches world history at the high school, received the certification by “demonstrating a strong command of content and the ability to design appropriate learning experiences and assessments for her students,” the statement said.

“Similar to certification in fields like medicine, National Board Certification is a rigorous, peer-reviewed process that ensures that Board-certified teachers have proved skills to advance student achievement,” officials said.

McCarthy started working at the high school last year, after spending 11 years as a middle school social studies teacher in Spring Lake Park.

South Washington County

District 833 plans to refurbish schools

South Washington County Schools officials announced a two-year, $17.6 million plan to refurbish several of the district’s schools to “assure that the district’s aging facilities continue to provide a safe and comfortable learning environment.”

The district plans to replace ventilation systems at three elementary schools: Bailey and Middleton in Woodbury and Grey Cloud in Cottage Grove. Under the refurbishment plan, officials would also paint; replace water heaters, windows and kitchen hood exhausts; and repair bathrooms and pool areas.

The district is seeking approval to finance the work through a mix of bonds and pay-as-you-go levies, officials said. If approved, work would begin in the spring of 2014 and should be completed the summer of 2015.

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