School Counselor Corps welcome hundreds of mental health professionals to Oklahoma public schools

TISHOMINGO, Okla. (KXII) – With the help of the School Counselor Corps, Oklahoma public schools are working to prioritize mental health for students.

The School Counselor Corps added more than 300 counselors and mental health professionals to Oklahoma public schools, bringing the necessary services to help students maintain mental health. According to the School Counselor Corps, the opportunity is described as a three-year $35 million initiative supported by COVID stabilization funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.

The press release added schools in 176 Oklahoma school districts have welcomed 201 counselors, 47 licensed mental health professionals, 22 licensed clinical social workers, and three recreational therapists. It went on to say schools occupied 50 mental health positions.

School officials said various schools in Oklahoma have benefited from the grant, including schools in Tishomingo.

Tishomingo Schools Superintendent Bobby Waitman said, “We have so many children in our state today that have such great needs before they ever enter the classroom, and then they come to school.

Teachers today are not only working with children academically, but they’re working with those children who are challenged with the emotional, the mental, and the other physical needs they have.”

Tishomingo schools said they are making the most of this grant, which enabled them to expand their staff to offer special services. To keep the momentum, Tishomingo schools have welcomed a counselor who specializes in assisting elementary students who have suffered trauma, food insecurities and a lack of support at home. In addition, Tishomingo schools were able to expand its College and Career Ready Program by welcoming a college and career readiness coordinator to serve secondary students. More than 40 students have the opportunity to earn internships with local business and industry partners.

“The school counselor core grant has bolstered the support for children mentally, physically, emotionally,” Waitman concluded. “When that child’s needs are being met in those areas, then you’re going to see that child more successful academically and perform better at school.”


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