School safety throughout the area will get a boost in October, thanks to the Maple School District’s desire to go above and beyond state requirements.
The district will be offering free adolescent mental health training to educators throughout the area Oct. 15-16 at Northwestern High School. The day and a half of training will be funded through a $10,000 grant from the Wisconsin Department of Justice’s Office of School Safety.
Up to 50 educators can be trained. Maple District Administrator Sara Croney said the district can only use six of those slots because substitutes will be needed to cover for those teachers. She encouraged interested educators to register as soon as the event is listed at www.doj.state.wi.us.
“We want it to be full,” Croney said.
The $10,000 is the third grant the district has received through the School Safety Grant initiative, which was passed by state legislators in the wake of the 2018 Parkland school shooting that left 17 dead in Florida. The legislation created the School Safety Office and vowed to pump $100 million into school safety projects statewide.
In the first round of grant funding, Maple received $84,705 to upgrade and add to the camera system at Northwestern High School as well as install cameras at the district’s other three schools. Funds were also used to add a shatterproof coating to the main entrance doors of every school.
The district received a $74,000 grant in the second round of funding, which was used to upgrade the outdated public address and phone systems to improve response time in an emergency.
To receive school safety grants, districts were required to provide adolescent mental health training to 10% of teachers.
“Well, we did that, but I’m uncomfortable being right at the margin,” Croney said. “I would rather make sure every principal is trained and increase the amount of teachers that we have trained.”
She asked the Office of School Safety if Maple could host a mental health training.
“I said we could invite all our neighboring districts, we could invite CESA 12, we could invite Heart of the North area and be happy to house that training,” Croney said. “They said absolutely. Then they said, ‘We’re going to give you another $10,000.’”
The district administrator said it’s the easiest grant she’s ever applied for.
“It was a surprise,” Croney said. “My motive was to give more training to our staff and it turned into here you go, here’s how you’re going to fund it.”
She plans to send out information about the training to other districts in mid-August, which will give educators two months to sign up. As of Wednesday, July 24, the Maple training was not listed on the DOJ’s Office of School Safety website under training opportunities. Croney said it should show up within the next few weeks.