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Grand Forks Public Schools Selected for National Safe Supportive Schools Learning Collaborative

News Release                                                     

For Immediate Release                                                                   

May 17, 2021

Grand Forks Public Schools Selected for National Safe Supportive Schools Learning Collaborative

GRAND FORKS, N.D. – Grand Forks Public Schools is one of only 15 school systems nationwide selected to participate in the National Center for Safe Supportive Schools Learning Collaborative (NCS3-LC).

This two-year national learning collaborative will help Grand Forks Public Schools leaders promote wellbeing for all students and staff by implementing comprehensive, responsive, equitable, and trauma-informed school mental health systems. Participating school systems will receive training, technical assistance, implementation support, and guidance to effectively create the conditions needed for safe, supportive schools.

The collaborative aligns under Grand Forks Public Schools’ strategic plan priority two, comprehensive school district mental health system. This work is also connected to Marzano High Reliability Schools level 1 – safe, supportive, collaborative schools.

"Thanks to the leadership of Mental Health Coordinator Geoff Gaukler and his team, we are well-positioned to implement to a greater degree the component of our strategic plan relating to mental health systems,” said Superintendent Dr. Terry Brenner. “Being chosen as one of fifteen school districts across the country speaks volumes to our level of commitment to wrap services around every individual in need. Our school district and the entire community can be proud that the conversation around mental and behavioral health is front and center.”

The program will kick off in Fall 2021.

The school system team includes Alisa Bowman (school social worker), Gaukler, Catherine Gillach (assistant superintendent of secondary education), Angie Jonasson (principal, Lake Agassiz Elementary School), Dana Kennelly (mental health therapist), Jennifer Modeen (school social worker and homeless liaison), Dr. Joel Schleicher (principal, South Middle School), Tana Thorfinnson (school counselor), as well as community partners Amanda Francis (behavioral health and education administrator, North Dakota Department of Behavior Health and Human Services), DeNae Haagenson (mental health therapist, Birchwood Psychological Center), Therese Hugg (vice president of therapy services, Community Violence Intervention Center), and Stephanie Winfield (school mental health coordinator, Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center).

NCS3-LC is a collective effort led by the National Center for School Mental Health, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Center for Trauma Care in Schools, and the Center for Childhood Resilience.

For more information about the NCS3-LC, please visit