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Shrewsbury, MA: $1.23M for district to hire 6 counseling staff; many at elem level are struggling

Oct 6, 2021, Shrewsbury (MA) Community Advocate: Shrewsbury schools looking to hire additional counseling staff, paraprofessionals

SHREWSBURY – The Shrewsbury Public Schools plan to hire a total of six full-time equivalent (FTE) positions to help address mental health and academic needs, Superintendent Joseph Sawyer said in a Sept. 22 School Committee meeting. The district plans to hire these positions using a third round of funding from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund through the American Rescue Plan Act. Shrewsbury is slated to receive about $1.23 million, Sawyer said. District to hire counselors, paraprofessionals, pilot after-school transportation According to Sawyer, the district plans to hire adjustment counselors for the elementary level and for Shrewsbury High School (SHS). … ‘[It] is an important first step’ Following Sawyer’s presentation, School Committee member Dale Magee noted that issues with stress, anxiety and depression are bubbling as front-burner issues. “I think that mitigating this with counseling and the like is an important first step,” Magee said…. “Over the years, we’ve touched on a few things that may be contributing such as start time, dialing down homework and standardized testing,” Magee said. “I think within our school system, there’s an opportunity for us to try to see if there are things that we are doing that could be contributing to the emotional issues out there.” With the new adjustment counselor positions, meanwhile, there will be three adjustment counselors at SHS in particular, though one is tied specifically to the BRYT program. The adjustment counselors will help deliver the district’s proactive social-emotional learning, Sawyer said. “We know we’re trying to work with a lot of students at the elementary level, some of whom are struggling because they’re young and they’ve actually never really been to school before,” Sawyer said. …


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