As part of its continuing commitment to supporting the Arlington Public School district’s Safe and Supportive Schools (SASS) Initiative, in October 2019 AEF awarded the district a $43,000 grant. 

AEF’s grant is the latest installment of a larger $200,000 commitment to support the district’s SASS Initiative and will help staff across the district develop plans to raise community awareness about the importance of student mental health and the work of SASS. It will also help expand training in Youth Mental Health First Aid, which started in 2018, when AEF awarded APS an initial grant of $100,485 under its $200,000 commitment to SASS. 

Bringing Awareness to the Community

The important work of Safe and Supportive Schools will be even more successful with the cooperation of the greater community.  A town-wide event in the spring will highlight Safe and Supportive Schools and encourage families and members of the Arlington community to participate in workshops and information sessions.  Participants will hear from students, Arlington Youth Health Coalition, Arlington Police Department, and others, about the work being done in our community to support our students’ mental health.

“We envision using the SASS work to bridge the gaps and ensure all people are able to engage in a community-wide endeavor building a safe and supportive community at large!”

Sara Burd, Director of School Counseling and Social Emotional Learning

Continued Training and SASS Leadership Plans

A big part of Safe and Supportive Schools is for all Arlington Public School staff to be trained and certified in the Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) program. Over 325 staff have already been trained. These additional grant funds will enable training to continue and include staff such as transportation, lunch, clerical staff, coaches and librarians within each school.

SASS team leaders will also attend professional development training that supports the district-wide focus of diversity, equity and inclusion, and social-emotional learning. This will allow the leadership teams within each school and across the district to work together throughout the year to ensure cohesive planning about SASS. 

With continued funding, AEF is helping support schools and the community to ensure better mental health programs for all students.