On Aug. 17, Vision Charter Academy's application for the School Health Professional Grant Program was approved by the State Board of Education for Year 1 funding in the amount of $80,000. The School Health Professional Grant (SHPG) program is designed to provide funds to eligible education providers to enhance the presence of school health professionals in their secondary schools. School health professionals are defined as school nurses, school psychologists, school social workers and school counselors.
This grant program intends to:
• Increase the presence of school health professionals in secondary schools to provide substance abuse and behavioral health care to students who have substance abuse or other behavioral health needs.
• Implement substance abuse prevention education and provide evidence based resources to school staff, students and families.
• Reduce barriers for enrolled secondary students, who are at risk for substance abuse, to access services provided by community-based organizations for treatment and counseling.
The grant proposal written by Willyn Webb, executive director of Vision Charter Academy, requested a licensed school counselor. Kathy Taylor has been hired as a new schoolwide position for Vision Charter Academy. Taylor has 30 years of experience in Kansas as a school counselor and administrator. She also initiated a counseling program for a fledgling international boarding school in the Czech Republic before returning to Kansas as a direct care parent and counselor for a girls' home. Kathy has dedicated her entire 34-year professional career to advocating for young people. Her basic philosophy on working with youth is that it is tough to be a child and it is also tough to be a parent of a child in today's world. She welcomes the opportunity to support and partner with Vision Charter Academy staff, learners, and parents as they navigate the challenging aspects of healthy youth growth and development.
Additionally, the behavioral health team of Willyn Webb, Kathy Taylor, Darci Hellman, and Tami McCay will be attending trainings at the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence on the RULER Approach, an evidence based emotional intelligence program. The RULER Approach will be implemented starting second semester at Vision Charter Academy. It is the philosophy of Vision Charter Academy that, as is stated on the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence website, "... emotions matter. Emotions drive learning, decision-making, creativity, relationships, and health."
"We are excited to welcome Kathy to our team and know that all of our learners, families, and staff will benefit from this grant and this program. Kathy started this week and is already forming relationships that will support our school in a wonderful way," Webb said.