DPS awarded more than $500k for mental health services

Colorado Politics

DAVID MULLEN david.mullen@gazette.com

Denver Remote Learning Sites

Isabelle Espana, front, gets help from then-Denver Public Schools Superintendent Susana Cordova in August as the young girl works on a laptop in a classroom in Newlon Elementary School.

The Associated Press

Denver Public Schools secured funding of more than $500,000 that will go towards strengthening and expanding the district’s mental health services in its 200-plus schools. 

The $596,200 grant was awarded to the district by the Caring for Denver Foundation and will assist in the district’s ongoing initiative to enhance mental health services to its students.

“These funds will go a long way to increase and improve the support that our schools will be able to provide our scholars,” said Superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero in a news release. “Just like school districts across the country, we are seeing an increase in students who need additional support to feel safe and secure. Without this, learning can be difficult.”

The district said it plans to use the funds over a three-year period. The money will primarily be used to pay the salaries of three full-time positions: one intake specialist and two therapeutic service providers, according to the news release. 

The intake specialist will offer case management and resource referrals to students at one of the district’s pathway schools, while the therapeutic service providers are social workers and school psychologists who provide services to all students.

Any remaining money will be spent to train 20 school social workers and school psychologists in trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy, and will expand current culturally responsive, trauma-informed practices, according to the district.