School Wellness Initiative

Project Term: 24 months; 2020-2022
Grant Amount: $100,000

The Office of Public Instruction (OPI) will partner with the Montana Healthcare Foundation (MHCF) to support the implementation of a new initiative focused on school wellness. This initiative will support new partnerships between schools and high-performing health care providers (including federally qualified health centers, rural health centers, tribal health departments, and behavioral health providers) to create school-based health centers. The initiative will target roughly 70 schools with the highest concentration of students most in need of services, as judged by academic and health data (including alternative schools and those with the lowest academic performance). OPI will use grant funding to hire a new staff person dedicated to supporting the initiative. As part of this project, OPI will help enlist school participation and provide trauma-informed care training, coaching, and academic data reporting support. They will also help schools plan and implement participation in their Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) for students with behavioral issues, and identify and implement restorative discipline practices. Beyond MHCF and OPI, other partnerships that will be developed include local school districts, clinical service partners, public health, and the School-Based Health Alliance. The project’s overall goal is to improve student health and academic outcomes by providing in-school access to health care services and fostering a supportive school climate.

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