The Marion School District has been selected as a pilot district for a new grant program designed to improve mental health among educators.
AFMC, an Arkansas-based health organization, was recently awarded an $8.8 million federal grant to create and manage a statewide teacher support line for Arkansas educators and provide online and in-person mental health support for educators.
Marion, along with the Searcy and Earle school districts, were selected as the pilot districts for the new program.
“We are excited and honored to be chosen for this project,” said Dr. Glen Fenter, Marion superintendent. “Given the ongoing challenges facing public schools, as well as a growing shortage of teachers across the state, now more than ever we recognize the need to ensure our teachers have the support they need. Mental health is just as important as physical health, so it makes complete sense that we would do everything we can to assist our teachers in this way.”
The support line, which will be staffed by former educators trained in mental health first aid, will offer coaching and referral services. AFMC will also provide a site-based coordinator and conduct regional education sessions on mental health, prevention, intervention, and resilience. Additionally, a dedicated website will give teachers 24/7 access to beneficial resources and support.
AFMC's commitment also includes localized support, working hand-in-hand with the pilot school districts to assess needs and provide resources, including in-person assistance, to foster a supportive environment for students, school staff, and parents.
"Prioritizing a community-wide, robust support system for our teachers and students is essential to elevate mental health awareness and promote resiliency in our schools," said AFMC President and CEO John Selig. "The statewide teacher support line will help teachers be at their best, and that will have a ripple effect on students."
Collaborative partners for the project include the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas State University, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Communities in Schools, and the Arkansas Behavioral Health Integration Network.
The Marion School District is an innovative and growing district committed to helping every student find their unique path to success in school and in life. With more than 150 years of experience serving families in Crittenden County, the district offers a high school, a junior high, a seventh grade school, and three award-winning magnet schools. For enrollment information, including information on school choice, visit https://www.msd3.org/ or call 870-739-5100.