Southern Cayuga Central School District START Grant
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the Southern Cayuga Central School District an Elementary & Secondary School Counseling Grant. The Southern Cayuga CSD, in a consortium with four other rural districts in Cayuga County, New York, will implement the START program (Student Assessment & Resilience Team), an evidence-based counseling program in five elementary schools, which will serve over 600 students over three years. The Southern Cayuga CSD will serve as the lead agency and will collaborate with an Auburn-based intergovernmental agency to expand current counseling programs by over 63%. The annual award will be $398,080, or nearly $1.2 million for the next three years. The program will be independently evaluated by an agency with extensive experience in Cayuga County.
The grant will provide a full-time elementary counselor to each of the participating school districts; Southern Cayuga, Moravia, Port Byron, Weedsport, and Cato-Meridian. A central goal of the START program is to significantly improve access for rural students and their family members to school-based mental health services which will serve children and families in the region. Access to community-based services has been limited due to funding cuts, availability, distance, and the fact that many parents simply cannot spare the time from work during the day. The goal of the START program is to help young students identify their emotions, positively relate to teachers and peers, manage feelings of anger, frustration, and distress, and to work attentively and cooperatively in the classroom environment.