Edmond Public Schools has received a $350,000 gift from a private donor to fund additional personnel, training, and support to help the district improve students’ social and emotional well-being. The donor (who wishes to remain anonymous) has given two previous gifts to the district totaling $413,000.
“We are humbled by this donor’s profound generosity and deeply moved by their continued commitment to preventive measures which will benefit students for a lifetime,” said Superintendent Bret Towne. “We extend our gratitude to the donor for this most recent gift and look forward to implementing the training and support programs this grant will make possible as we work together to better meet the needs of our students.”
The historic gift, given to the EPS Foundation and passed through to the district, will fund the hiring of two additional elementary school counselors and two school-based therapists who will work with the district’s innovative Fresh Start program-an intensive behavioral remediation program benefiting students who act out due to having suffered trauma.
Additionally, the gift will fund three two-day Conscious Discipline workshops for teachers, and cover the cost of substitutes while 200 teachers attend Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) training at the district headquarters, two programs with proven track records of sustainable results.
“A growing body of research points to the importance that educators play in cultivating inner strength and resilience in children,” said Towne. “The above-mentioned training will equip more of our educators with the skills to integrate social-emotional learning, discipline, and self-regulation in the classroom, helping to enhance students’ personal and interpersonal readiness.”
A spokesperson for the donor says the organization is focused on funding initiatives that promote a culture change in the community and in schools with regards to mental health.
“A lot of research went into approaching the needs of helping our community,” said the spokesperson. “Based on ongoing communication with EPS district personnel, we were able to select funding options that, when implemented, will have the greatest amount of impact over time. In addition to programs, we opted to fund additional school counselor positions. We know additional counselors are needed for our growing district.”
The spokesperson says the donor is delighted with the way Edmond Public Schools has used the grant money and believes the funded initiatives have made a difference in the lives of teachers and students.
“We are very pleased with the commitment EPS has demonstrated to mental health and prevention. We know our donor dollars have been put to work. The feedback from teachers, counselors, administration, and parents has been heartwarming. We understand that knowledge is power, and ongoing training is necessary to meet the current needs of students and faculty.”