May 30—A local school was recently awarded grant funding to provide a big boost across the board, officials said.
Tannehill Public School Superintendent Jonathan Booth said funds from two grants helped the district upgrade safety measures and set it up to add positions and courses to help address multiple needs.
"We're always trying to upgrade school safety with the different issues that happen around the world," Booth said.
Tannehill was awarded a Stronger Connections grant that will provide the district $350,000 total over four years to go toward building safe and healthy school communities.
The Oklahoma State Department of Education was awarded $11,776,526 in federal K-12 funding from the U.S. Department of Education under the BSCA Stronger Connections grant program. The state department awarded funds through competitive grants to high-need local educational agencies to support needs of students, educators, families, and communities.
Stronger Connections Grant requests totaled more than $38 million and awarded funds amounted to more than $11 million. Tannehill was one of 38 Oklahoma schools awarded the funds through the program.
Tannehill was awarded in November of this academic year, which Booth said was too late for the school to add positions. But the district focused on a bevy of areas to use the funds.
Booth said the district started upgrading safety around campus, plans to add a resource officer, and aims to hire what is believed to be the first full-time counselor at the school.
"We've never had that in my time here," Booth said. "We have shared duties, like my counselor has been the special ed teacher or our pre-K teacher. So this will allow us a full position so the person can just focus on mental health."
Booth said the district focused on addressing mental health challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic and got another grant to hire a part-time counselor.
He said Tannehill adding mental health professionals will provide a boost for students.
"We're going from where we had somebody for two hours a day to now we have two people that are part-time and then one full-time person," Booth said. "So we're going to be able to meet all of those mental health needs."
Tannehill also is working toward implementing mentorship programs, a social emotional learning programs, and some grief counseling.
Social-emotional learning is the process of developing self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills vital for school, work, and life success.
Booth said the district will implement leadership classes and other courses that will provide foundational skills for students.
Tannehill also recently added a Federal Emergency Management Agency-rated storm shelter that includes two classrooms. Voters overwhelmingly approved a bond to fund the $1,050,000 facility that raised taxes in the district by an average of 18%.
Booth said the latest grants helped the district improve other security measures, add a vape sensor, access controls, weapons detectors, card readers, and more.