Alder to hire social worker/student support specialist

(Posted May 12, 2016)

By Amanda Amsel, Staff Writer

Leaders at Jonathan Alder Local Schools continue to implement services to help students and their families with issues regarding mental health, suicide prevention, and bullying.

On May 9, the school board approved the job description for a new position—district social worker/student support specialist.

“We have looked at a dozen job descriptions from across the country and have come up with a pretty comprehensive description,” said Shawn Heimlich, director of special services. “This person will be responsible for working directly with kids and families to get resources to them, as well as offering short-term guidance to students and families.”

Additionally, the JA Community Support Coalition—a group of school staffers, community leaders, and local mental health and recovery representatives—are putting together a resource guide listing community support services available to students, families and the local population as a whole.

“We are really excited about this document and hope to have it complete and ready for distribution in June,” Heimlich said.

The Support Coalition was formed after Jonathan Alder Local Schools lost two students to suicide last year.

“We realized we can’t do this alone and need community stakeholders to help us through this,” said Superintendent Gary Chapman.

Other school districts have reached out to the district for details on the coalition and the resource guide. Jonathan Alder leaders plans to share their resource guide template in order to help as many students and families as possible.

Heimlich said coalition members also aim to integrate more fully into the community by having their regular meetings at different locations.

“We also have discussed having a fair where all the different organizations in our community can interact and families can get an idea of all the services available to them,” he said.

In other action, the school board announced that graduation will be at 2 p.m. May 29.

The board also approved refinancing their 2006 bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates. Currently, the district pays a little over 4 percent interest; refinancing could take that rate down to a little under 3 percent.

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