SPS receives $750,000 award for school-based prevention services


Shawnee Public Schools has received a three-year, $750,000 award from the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services for school-based prevention services to prevent mental, emotional and behavioral problems. 

“This award from ODMHSAS will give our staff the training to recognize warning signs and risk factors for behavioral health needs,” said Dr. April Grace, superintendent of Shawnee Public Schools. “Our goal with this project is to stave off potential mental health and substance abuse problems through early identification of risk factors.”

These mental health prevention resources will allow the district to extend the wrap-around services Shawnee Public School already provides, all part of her long-term vision for the district, Grace said. Each SPS site currently provides students and staff access to telemedicine clinics.

The ODMHSAS award will allow SPS staff to develop a district-wide, comprehensive plan with a multi-tiered system of supports for a continuum of prevention, early intervention, and treatment services to meet the behavioral needs of students. School staff and educators will receive training on how to recognize risk factors and warning signs of developing behavioral health problems and how to respond to a behavioral health crisis. Part of the plan will be to increase collaborative partnerships with families and community agencies that can better support coordination of these services to better serve Shawnee youth. 

Funds from this project will help support resources and materials for school-based prevention services, including a minimum of one full-time program coordinator who will plan and deliver school-based behavioral health and substance abuse prevention services across the district. 

The project will begin in the 2021-2022 school year.