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The partnership is cost effective for the district, Willson said. For insured students, Headway’s billing department charges the insurance company directly, as would happen at a typical clinic. For uninsured students, Headway has a sliding scale and works out a payment method with families.
Most of the district’s costs go toward additional services Headway provides, like having therapists attend teacher-parent meetings or give presentations to teachers, Willson said.
By hiring an outside agency, Willson said, the district avoids overhead costs — like hiring a billing person.
“If we were to come up with that entire cost, schools would find that nearly impossible,” Willson said.
Both Dale and Willson emphasize that therapists don’t take the place of guidance counselors. While counselors and social workers may have some training in dealing with emotional and behavioral problems, they’re best at “dealing with academic-based interventions,” Dale said.
Dale said that often, guidance counselors’ response to having therapists at school is that “they’re just relieved,” he said. “They just don’t have time to deal with these issues.”
And Willson noted that the district’s elementary schools haven’t had school social workers or counselors on staff in the seven years since she’s been there.
Dale said that the best thing about the collaboration is how it allows different parties to work together to help kids.
“I think there’s a lot of hope that this is a magic deal … [but] there’s nothing magic about this,” Dale said. “The best thing that’s going to come out of this is partnerships, where people with different skill sets … can work together with a common direction and common goal.”
Erin Adler • 952-746-3283