For Immediate Release
Monday, March 14, 2022

ISBE awards 136 community grants statewide to support the mental health of students and educators

​Grantees will create partnerships to address trauma and support recovery from the pandemic 

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today 136 grant awards totaling $86.4 million to support the mental health of students and educators. These Community Partnership Grants will support collaboration between school districts and community organizations to address the trauma students and educators have experienced during the pandemic.

The partnership model promotes alignment between the services students receive in and out of school. The model also supports sustainability beyond the initial funding by deepening connections between schools and communities. Grants are awarded for two years with funding from the second and third rounds of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief.

“In our work to restore and renew our children's learning from these past two years, we have an obligation to prioritize the progress that can't be captured in a test score: social-emotional growth, behavioral needs, and mental wellness," said Governor JB Pritzker. “I'm proud to dedicate more than $86 million to a collaborative, statewide approach to tackling these pandemic pains. And by working alongside more than 130 local partners, we can best support communities as they work to heal and grow from within."

“In order to prepare for learning, students need a positive, safe, and affirming educational environment," said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “The Community Partnership Grant expands programs to provide students and educators with a continuum of supports to meet their social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs and heal from the disruption and stress of the ongoing pandemic. These supports are foundational for academic growth and pandemic recovery."

Symptoms of anxiety and depression have doubled among young people worldwide during the pandemic, with 20 percent having anxiety symptoms and 25 percent experiencing depression symptoms, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. The Community Partnership Grant will help schools provide the mental health services and support that are essential for students to succeed academically.

Among the 136 grantees are:

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The University of Illinois School of Social Work will bring together the Mahomet-Seymour School District; Mahomet Area Youth Club; and a local mental health provider, the Rock Counseling Group, to utilize the Interconnected Systems Framework to address mental health through a combination of programming and supports integrated across school and community sites.

Paris Union School District 95

Paris Union School District 95, located within a federally designated Mental Health Professional Shortage Area, will hire two full-time professional staff to address the existing deficit by partnering with three human service agencies. It also will add telehealth services and provide a universal mental health screening for every student and mental health professional training for district teachers.

Monroe-Randolph Regional Office 45

Monroe-Randolph Regional Office 45 will reach students, staff, and families in all school districts in the region through a partnership with school districts, local health departments, and mental health agencies to establish a “Social-Emotional Growth for All" program.

Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corp.

Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corp. will partner with Chicago Public Schools and six community partner organizations to provide staff professional development, a new after-school program, and social-emotional education and support for caregivers at two elementary schools that were disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Lewistown CUSD 97

Lewistown CUSD 97 will partner with Cuba Unit District 3 to form a Community Consortium with staff representatives from both districts, including students, and four community organizations to develop a comprehensive pandemic response informed by a screening for gaps in academic progress and at-risk indicators of mental health.

Carlinville CUSD 1

Carlinville CUSD 1 will leverage existing partnerships to expand mental health counseling services; implement physical health and fitness activities for staff, students, and families; and add new extracurricular and academic after-school programming.

Vienna High School 13-3

Vienna High School 13-3 will partner with four area school districts and one human services organization to address gaps and offer services supported by the addition of four full-time staff members – a countywide early childhood education and care coordinator, a homeless liaison, and two social workers.

Northwestern University Settlement Association

The Northwestern University Settlement Association includes three schools and a family service center that will add staff to expand therapy services, implement group counseling utilizing evidence-based interventions, integrate a social-emotional and mental health curriculum and after-school and summer programming in schools, and establish a mentoring program.

Find more information and the full list of grantees at​