RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — The U.S. Department of Education has announced its decision to fully fund the Rural School Mental Health Training and Service Provision in North Carolina grant proposal in the amount of 2.5 million dollars over the next five years. The successful proposal is based on a three-way partnership between the Ashe County School District, Appalachian State University (ASU) and RTI International, a nonprofit research institute.
The grant will promote a scaling up of the longstanding partnership between ASU and rural K-12 schools in developing and sustaining training sites called Assessment, Support and Counseling (ASC) Centers designed to serve youth and families in rural North Carolina communities.
Dr. Kurt Michael, the Stanley R. Aeschleman Distinguished Professor of Psychology and ASC Center co-founder, will serve as PI for ASU. The grant will help to deepen pre-professional preparation of ASU doctoral students in clinical psychology in hopes of deploying them strategically into high need schools after graduation. Pre-professional preparation will also include advanced, targeted coursework and practicum training in the provision and study of rural school mental health services.
Though RTI is a new partner in this longstanding collaboration, Dr. Angela Quick, who heads up the Center for Education services at RTI, is no stranger to the benefits of rural school mental health. Dr. Quick helped to co-found the original ASC Center at Watauga High with Dr. Michael.
Also joining the project is RTI research psychologist, Dr. Anna Yaros. Dr. Yaros has extensive expertise in project design, research methodology and program evaluation. Dr. Yaros will head up the independent evaluation team and was highly instrumental in crafting a successful grant proposal.
All of the aforementioned elements will be coordinated through the Ashe County School District.
The project director will be Jamie Little, the Director of Student Services and veteran teacher. Ms. Little has extensive administrative and classroom experience who is a well-established and trusted champion of the benefits of effective school mental health.
Overall, these funded efforts across the key partners will bring much needed workforce preparation through the ASU doctoral program in clinical psychology and essential workforce development in the rural schools of North Carolina for years to come. Most importantly, it will create vastly improved capacity to serve children and families in our K-12 rural schools.