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Oak Park, IL: District to hire 12 new staff members "to address mental/emotional health challenges"

May 1, 2018, Oak Park, IL Wednesday Journal: D97 hiring staff to meet student mental health needs http://www.oakpark.com/News/Articles/5-1-2018/D97-hiring-staff-to-meet-student--mental-health-needs-/ The Oak Park Elementary Schools District 97 Board of Education is poised to hire additional staff and make personnel changes that will cost around $1 million. According to D97 officials, the new hires and replacements for the 2018-19 school year are designed to address the mental and emotional health challenges that are becoming increasingly common among students in the district's general population. … The district plans to hire 12 new full-time staff -- including one student support specialist, four new social workers, one school psychologist, three interventionists and four special education teachers. … At the April 24 school board meeting, a small group of school social workers and psychologists said that they must juggle meeting the needs of special education students with an increasing number of students in the general population who are experiencing mental and emotional health issues. … "Over the past five years, we have seen an ever-steady uptick in mental health issues impacting our middle school students," said Doyle, an 11-year veteran in the district. "[Students are] accessing our services at unsustainable rates." …