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Salt Lake City: District hires more full-time psychologist for each elem. school

July 23, 2018, Salt Lake Tribune: This Utah school district plans to have a full-time psychologist in each of its 36 elementary schools by fall …The district intends to be one of the first in Utah to have a full-time psychologist in each of its 36 elementary schools. Its school board approved the mental health initiative last month as part of a $710 million budget, which includes more staff and training for students at all of its schools, including 10 middle schools and eight high schools and technical schools. Though new staff may not be fully in place by the time school starts in August — particularly with a nationwide shortage of school psychologists — the district has started hiring and will temporarily supplement with counselors. … “We can do so much more now in terms of prevention instead of just intervention,” said Fulvia Franco, who oversees guidance programs for Jordan School District. “We know that children can be taught the skills in terms of coping when things don’t go their way or helping them to calm down if they’re upset about something.” Strauss, who now oversees 12 elementary school principals for the district, said over the course of her 28-year career as a principal at multiple schools, she’s seen students feeling increasingly anxious or depressed. … The new mental health initiative is part of the district’s response to the loss of seven students, enrolled or recently graduated from Herriman High School, who died by suicide over the past year. The district has hired a suicide-prevention consultant to work districtwide.

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