Grant could help ISD with behavioral health staff

MANISTEE — Manistee Intermediate School District superintendent Dave Cox updated his board on the 31n grant that provides districts with Licensed Behavioral Health specialists.

Cox said the Manistee ISD has applied and should get notification on whether they received it soon.

“For the most part the money is to hire new people and not supplant current staff,” said Cox. “If chosen, we will receive $294,000 that local districts can apply for and the ISD can hire and provide the service. The ISD then determines a plan of application. It can only be used for new people or to move someone from part-time to full-time.”

Only general education students that are Medicaid eligible can receive services from this grant. Cox did point out that there are additional funds that can be used to train behavior teams that can service any student.

“There is another grant out there for $8 million grant available to split between ISDs to provide training for behavorial health pilot teams,” said Cox. “They would do training on school’s staff to see that the culture becomes where it is it is everyone’s responsibility as teachers and aides will have strategies and training in their pockets when they deal with those challenging behaviors.”

Cox also said he and ISD special education director Brooke McIssac met with representatives of the Little River Casino Resort to discuss partnerships and training opportunities for ISD students.

Other items Cox also told the board was it looks like school districts may not learn what they are actually getting in state aid until well after their budgets have been put in in place. He said that could make it a challenge to put together a budget.

“It was a good discussion and they are more than willing to continue the conversation,” said Cox.

McIsaac also delivered a report on activities in the special education department.

“(ISD general education director) Lisa Lockman and I met with Chip Johnston of Centra Wellness today to give him the information on 31n which is pretty limited that we have been able to garner and to see what kind of partnership might be available for his crew to join our crew and work with us. It’s for general education who are medicaid eligible so it is really not a special education initiative at all.”

McIsaac said that at some point Centra Wellness would probably tap into the ISD’s skill set because they know the background of these students. She said that is prompting them to look ahead for possible partnerships.

“Maybe they could help with some staffing and Centra Wellness is connected with our county and Benzie County, while Dave (Cox) and Lisa (Lockman) are connected with Wexford County, so we kind of sit in this nice triangle which supports everyone,” said McIsaac. “So there are more supports everywhere to make this 31n thing more of a success.”

McIsaac said her staff has been busy with several training sessions on pupil accounting, continuous quality school improvement and professional development. She also said they had a presentation from Centra Wellness with a guest speaker on mindfulness. They have some table top exercises sheduled that center around school safety with Manistee County Emergency Management Coordinator Lt. Brian Gutowski.

General education director Lisa Lockman also presented a report to the board touching on a variety of items including Powerschool Tool for Civil Rights Data Collection that ISD technology staff member Jeff Kamaloski is working on.

“This federal mandate asks for district, school information related to civil rights and has to be completed every other year,” said Lockman. “The purpose is to check for civil rights violations. Examples of what is reported are discipline, athletics, salary, expenditures, student retention, course information and Full Time Equivalent data points. Powerschool is working towards automating as much of the student data as possible.”

Lockman also reported that eDirect is now available to schools to continue management online test sessions, accomodations and printing test tickets and rosters for the spring 2019 M-STEP, MI-Access and Early on Literacy and Mathematics Benchmark Assessments.

ISD technology director Roy Anciso updated the board on the Michigan Statewide Educational Network (MISEN) Network.

“During the summer our plan is to transition to the MISEN network for internet access which will increase our capacity form from 1Gbps to 10 Gbps,” reported Anciso. “This move will allow us to save thousands in ongoing internet access fees.”

Anciso said that through the Technology Readiness Infrastructure Grant (TRIG) the Michigan Statewide Education Network was created with the vision to conect all of the Michigan ISDs, LEAs, and PSAs with the networking capacity needed to ensure teachers and students never have bandwidth getting in the way of their classroom needs.

 

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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