Districts: Apply for ‘therapeutic’ classroom grant
Districts are encouraged to apply for a grant to establish therapeutic classrooms for learners ages 3 to 21 whose emotional, social, or behavioral needs interfere with their ability to be successful in their current educational environment. Applications are due July 29.
This is the second round of grants being administered by the Iowa Department of Education. Last year, the Department awarded over $1.6 million to six school districts to establish therapeutic classrooms.
"All six of the district grant recipients made an impact on students, families and teachers during 2021-2022,” said Kathy Bertsch, an administrative consultant with the Iowa Department of Education. “They served a total of 167 students with many of them having successes resulting either in return to regular programming and/or reduction in therapeutic supports over the year. Results showed that not only did programs increase their therapeutic supports for students, but for families and teaching staff as well."
“Establishing a therapeutic classroom not only offered an opportunity to teach and develop skills with our students with the greatest need, but allowed us to train all staff in strategies that help our general population and those with less severe self-regulation need,” said Kathy Rhodes, the principal at the Hinton K-3 school, of which the Hinton Community School District was a grant recipient last year. “We have all been changed in a very positive way by the training made possible through this grant."
Pertaining to a therapeutic classroom, the word “classroom” is a descriptor of an educational set of services that may include – but is not required to include – a separate physical setting from other students.
A school district is not required to operate a therapeutic classroom. However, a school district is required to ensure therapeutic services are available, whether in-district or otherwise, to students who need those services to access or benefit from an education.
The therapeutic classroom grants were established through state legislation signed into law in 2020 and are part of a statewide effort to increase mental health supports for children, youth and families.
Directions for submitting an application can be found in the Therapeutic Classroom Grant Application Package. The package includes a Worksheet that supports districts in preparing to submit their application. The application process includes a self-assessment of therapeutic classroom components and the district’s proposal for establishing therapeutic classrooms during the upcoming school year.
If you have any questions, contact Barb Anderson, administrative consultant for social emotional behavioral health, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about Therapeutic Classroom Incentive Grants is available on the Iowa Department of Education’s website.