Beaver Dam School District Staff Taking Adolescent Mental Health Training Courses

(Beaver Dam) The Beaver Dam School District is in the process of sending staff to adolescent mental health training courses. The school district is one of several in the state splitting millions of dollars in grant funding through the Wisconsin Department of Justice School Safety Grant program. One component of the funding requires ten-percent of full-time teachers and counselors to attend a DOJ-approved adolescent mental health training course. Superintendent Mark DiStefano told the school board this month that the district has spent between $60-and-$80-thousand of the $380-thousand dollars awarded over two grant cycles. He says in addition to annual training provided by the district, the new grants will focus on “trauma sensitive schools and threat assessments.” Some of the certified staff has been trained already and training will continue throughout the school year. DiStefano says one of the challenges is having large groups of teacher’s train during the school year. Such training, he says, is usually done in smaller groups because there are just not enough substitute teachers. “It’s a balance, it takes time,” he says, “but [the district] is in a very good spot with trainings which are scheduled throughout the rest of the year.” The district has to have ten-percent of its staff trained by next August though DiStefano says the goal is to have all teachers undergo some level of training.