MCDONALD CO, Mo. — A new program is making its way to the McDonald County School District this year, and they hope it betters the lives of their students and families.
“We never want to lose a student because they feel like they have no one here for them,” said McDonald County High School Principal Angie Brewer.
At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, staff within the McDonald County School District wanted to find a way to better their students in ways beyond learning.
“Really thought about how we could attack the issues of mental health, food insecurity, students self esteem, students being prepared to go out into the world,” said Brewer.
And with the help of state funding, they were able to add a schools and community liaisons program to do so.
“$600,000 is what the state appropriated for this purpose, and so that will be $200,000 per school district, so 200,000 dollars be flowing into the McDonald County School District for this project, for this purpose,” said Missouri State Representative Dirk Deaton.
“We don’t have licensed mental health professionals in McDonald County unless they’re provided through the school district,” said Brewer.
Now, there are four liaisons in the McDonald County area, one is at the high school, another covering the elementary and middle school, and two others covering Noel, Southwest City, Pineville and White Rock.
These individuals will give students assistance when they need it.
“A lot of times teachers will just refer kids their red flags to us. And I talk to the student and we can just kind of evaluate what’s going on with them. Sometimes they just need a little 15 minute break,” said Erica Price, Community Liaison.
Price adds she’s been ready for this moment before she even realized it.
“I feel like in my faith that God’s been preparing me for this long before I even knew I was prepared for this,” said Price.
The end goal is to help students achieve in school and better their experience in McDonald County.