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Lilly Endowment grants SWSC $172,400 to strengthen counseling program

By Times Staff
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File photo: Chris Stitzle

Southwest School Corp. received a $172,400.00 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. as part of the Endowment’s Comprehensive Counseling Initiative for Indiana K-12 students.
In Indiana, SWSC is one of 52 public school corporations and five charter schools to have been selected to implement plans to help them meet the complex academic, college, career and social and emotional counseling needs of their students, a press release notes.
“The Lilly Endowment has provided the Southwest School Corp. with a tremendous opportunity to improve the services we provide for our students to better prepare them for lifelong success,” SWSC Superintendent Chris Stitzle noted.  “It is also an opportunity to develop additional partnerships within our community.”   
The SWSC plans for the grant to include moving current counseling services to a more comprehensive counseling model that will significantly increase the number of students who are emotionally and socially healthy, help them experience greater academic success, graduate from high school and obtain the postsecondary credentials, certifications, and/or degrees necessary for meaningful employment in an ever-changing global society.
Specific areas of focus include: early social and emotional identification and services, strengthening middle school counseling, and an emphasis on ensuring that the corporation’s students graduate and are college ready.
The University of Indianapolis Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning provided technical assistance for 16 comprehensive counseling advisory team members, representing various school and community stakeholder groups, in developing the innovative comprehensive counseling plan.
Throughout the planning process, three key strategic partnerships emerged with Hamilton Center Inc., Ivy Tech Community College and the Sullivan County Public Library.
Statewide, the Lilly Endowment has made a total of $26.4 million in implementation grants and $9.1 million in planning grants to help public school corporations and charter schools across Indiana improve strategies for school counseling.
During the competitive implementation grant phase of the initiative, 254 public school corporations and charter schools submitted implementation proposals totaling nearly $90 million.
“The response from school corporations and charter schools far exceeded the Endowment’s expectations,” Lilly Endowment Vice President for Education Sara B. Cobb said. “We believe that this response indicates a growing awareness that enhanced and expanded counseling programs are urgently needed to address the academic, college, career and social and emotional counseling needs of Indiana’s K-12 students. We were most pleased to see how the schools engaged a wide variety of community stakeholders in assessing their students’ counseling needs and developing strategies to address them.”


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