Improving health and academic outcomes for students by supporting new partnerships between schools and health care providers.

Untreated health issues create challenges for students in all areas of their lives, including the classroom. Mental illness, dental infections, and medical illnesses such as asthma are common causes of excessive absences, classroom behavioral challenges, and poor academic performance. The ripple effects can extend into critical school metrics such as attendance and graduation rates. Addressing untreated health issues can help students reach their full academic potential and achieve greater personal success.

We created the School-Based Health Initiative to support consistent, high-quality, and convenient health care to students and their families in a safe, familiar place. The School-Based Health Initiative provides grants to plan for and implement health centers in schools across Montana, offering a powerful way to address the health and behavioral challenges that keep children from succeeding in school. 

Funding Opportunity

This initiative provides funding for health care providers to partner with schools to implement school-based health centers. Federally qualified health centers, rural health centers, and tribal health departments are eligible. The partnering schools that this initiative will target fall into one of the categories below, including:

    1. Schools identified as “comprehensive” schools under the Every Student Succeeds Act
    2. Alternative high schools
    3. Schools identified as “targeted” schools under the Every Student Succeeds Act and in which 70% or more of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch
    4. Schools that serve a large number of students with complex needs based on school-level Youth Risk Behavioral Survey and any other school-level specific data or 70% or more of the students qualify for free or reduced lunch, and there is evidence of complex health needs

Our upcoming round of grant funding will open June 15, 2021. Applications will be due September 15, 2021, and projects will begin November 1, 2021. Grant applications are by invitation only. Funding is available for planning and implementation projects.

For more information on this funding opportunity or If you are interested in applying for a planning or implementation grant, please contact our office.

To help support the implementation of this initiative, the Montana Healthcare Foundation gave the Montana Office of Public Instruction a grant for $100,000 over two years. The Montana Office of Public Instruction will help with outreach to high-priority schools and will work to align current programming (such as the Multi-Tiered System of Support) with Montana Healthcare Foundation-funded projects in those schools. More information can be found in the grant summary


About the School-Based Health Initiative

News & Updates


Sapphire Community Health, Inc

Sapphire's School Wellness Project

Project Term: 12 months; 2020-2021 Grant Amount: $50,000 Sapphire Community Health (SCH) will undergo a planning process to implement school-based health services in three school districts in Ravalli County. The school districts include Victor School (a school designated as “comprehensive”), Stevensville Alternative High School, and Hamilton Alternative School. As part of the planning process, SCH will pursue formalized relationships and collaborate with the school districts. Grant funds cover staff costs related to relationship building and planning the implementation of school-based services. Ultimately, SCH intends to use a newly acquired mobile unit to provide medical and behavioral health services to students in these rural communities and in turn, to improve students’ ability to learn and succeed in school.

Alluvion Health

Alluvion Health Vaugh Schools School Wellness Initiative

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

Alluvion Health will implement school-based health services, including medical, dental, and behavioral health, in Vaughn Public School. Vaughn Public School is a K-8 school located 15 miles from Great Falls. Alluvion will use a newly acquired mobile unit to provide dental services and provide medical and behavioral health services within the school. Grant funds will cover startup costs including salaries for the staff providing services. The project’s goal is to offer health services to the students and staff members of Vaughn Public School and the surrounding communities of Sun River, Fort Shaw, and Simms and in turn, to improve students’ ability to learn and succeed in school.

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