More counselors heading to Middle Tennessee schools thanks to $4.8M grant
“We are seeing an increased need for mental health counseling to address specific issues such as depression and anxiety and isolation.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A federal grant will provide tuition-free education for dozens of public school employees to train as school counselors through Lipscomb University.
The university received a $4.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. It will provide full tuition for a total of 80 people to complete Lipscomb’s Masters of Education in school counseling over five years.
“School counselors provide critical services to a school community,” said Lisa Davies, lead faculty for Lipscomb’s School Counseling Program.
“We are seeing an increased need for mental health counseling to address specific issues such as depression and anxiety and isolation. With the shortage of licensed school counselors, schools just do not have the capacity to meet all those needs of the students. This grant will help us remove the financial barriers for those who want to pursue this much-needed profession to bridge the gap for students.”
The American School Counseling Association recommends one counselor for every 250 students, but Tennessee law only requires one counselor per 500 students for K-6 grades and one per 350 students for 7th through 12th grades.
Those wanting to apply for the program must be current employees of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, Rutherford County Schools, Maury County Public Schools, Lebanon Special School District and Hickman County Schools.
Lipscomb says they were selected based on the percentage of students from low-income backgrounds, current student-to-counselor ratio and difficulty filling counselor job openings among other criteria.
Once participants graduate, they will return to their school district to work as counselors in their district.
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