The Foundation for Springfield Public Schools is adding a new category in its Back To School Grant program.

The newest branch is focused on helping students with mental health.

The foundation’s executive director hopes the new opportunities will help the students as well as teachers.

Applications for the grant program are already being accepted and are due by June 18.

You can read more with a press release below…

SPRINGFIELD, MO (April 27, 2021) – The Foundation for Springfield Public Schools (FSPS), an organization serving the needs of the Springfield Public Schools students for 30 years, is launching a brand new category to its long-standing Back to School Grant Program.    The program will now offer a category directed at supporting the mental health needs of students.

“After living through a very challenging public health crisis for the past year, it has become apparent that our students need mental health support more than ever,” said Rhonda Mammen, Director of School Counseling Services for Springfield Public Schools.  She added, “Academic progress has declined for many students, so our focus moving forward needs to be on helping students find healthy coping strategies for their stress and anxiety.  Improved mental health support will impact a student’s ability to re-engage successfully in learning, help them develop the social and emotional skills necessary to cope with challenges, and provide more strategic interventions for students who have been adversely affected by the pandemic.”

The Back to School Program is funded through donor support and awards grants to teachers across Springfield Public Schools.  The new category for mental health will join existing categories of Community Engagement, Student Experience and Classroom Projects, along with new sub-categories of Classroom Projects: Literacy; STEAM; and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.

“By adding these new categories and sub-categories, we are directly addressing things we learned during our recent strategic planning process, and many things we have seen teachers request over the years,” said Natalie Murdock, Executive Director.  “We found that mental health needs was one of the top two needs identified by school staff and parents.  We can’t ignore that data.  And we hope that by providing this opportunity to school counselors and teachers, we can help make an impact for our kids.”

The FSPS provides support, not only through its grant program, but also through designated gifts and more than $6 million of both permanent and temporary funds that have provided over $970,000 in support this school year alone.

Back to School grant applications will open April 27 with a deadline to submit on June 18, 2021.  Projects will be awarded in September for the 2021-2022 school year.  For more information on how to support this program, or how to apply visit supportSPS.org.