| The Columbus Dispatch
Over the next five years, 110 mental-health specialists will be embedded into school districts across seven Appalachian Ohio counties, thanks to a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The Ohio Department of Education applied for the highly competitive grant — only five states received one — and decided to focus on eastern and southeastern school districts after watching COVID-19 exacerbate children’s behavioral issues in the Appalachian region.
“We recognized there was a particular need in Appalachia,” Ohio schools superintendent Paola DeMaria said. “If a child is not in an emotional/social position to benefit from academic learning, then there’s a problem.”
And those problems— the recent pandemic-related stress and anxiety as well as generational poverty and a sense of fatalism — are well-documented in Appalachian children, school psychologist Dr. Mike Fuller explained.
But Fuller, director of Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center, said