Rural schools in Lane Co. get a $1.2 million grant

Rural schools in Lane Co. get a $1.2 million grant »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. – Help is coming for six rural elementary schools around Lane County.
Each is about to get the largest boost to counseling funding that the school has ever seen.

Schools hope this will lead to fewer in-classroom problems and better grades for kids.

Elementary schools in Creswell, Pleasant Hill, Oakridge, Marcola, Lowell and McKenzie have all been without counselors for a long time, some for more than a decade. 

However, that's about to change.

Grants coordinator Jeff Geiger at Lane Education Service District told KVAL News that long-standing problems often connected with city schools are showing up more often in rural elementary campuses.

"What the schools noticed and what we heard loud 
and clear from the families was that there was an increasing culture of disrespect, insubordination among the students." Geiger said.

Lane ESD hopes to change that with a new 3 year Federal grant to hire new counselors at elementary schools.   

Pleasant Hill elementary will get one of the counselors.
Principal Devery Stoneberg said that the road to better grades will include better social skills for the kids, something that the new counselor will have to undertake.

"We know that if we can cut down behavior incidents then students will be more focused on their academics," said Stoneberg.

The new counselors will also tackle issues for students of color and those who are homeless. The project will set up school-based counseling
advisory teams as a forum for teachers, parents and community members.

The grant will use local agencies such as Looking Glass to improve school-based mental health services.
The end goal is making sure more kids are happy to go to school and can achieve.

Jeff Geiger pointed out, "If we can do those 2 things then a lot of those top tier problems you have, those violent behaviors, 
aggressive behaviors, those disappear."

Lane Education Service District was the only district in the northwest to land the $1.2-million Federal grant.