WIth the goal of improving the behaviorial, emotional and mental health of students, members of the Hastings Public Schools Board of Education agreed to use grant funds for the creation of one full-time school psychologist position.

Board members voted 9-0 during their regular meeting Monday to approve the position.

HPS Superintendent Craig Kautz said along with South Souix City and Chadron, Hastings is one of three pilot communities receiving grant funds from the state to create a school psychologist program.

“They want to create a model they hope will extend throughout the state,” he said.

The program will need a coordinator who makes sure any school psychologists in the district are adequately trained. The coordinator also makes sure screenings and other mechanisms are in place to get students the help they need.

“We are by no means experts in the area of mental, emotional and behavioral health,” Kautz said. “We can help though by working with kids at our level and then getting them attached to area experts in this region so they can get help and their families can get help.”

He said Susan Lindblad, a psychologist who already works in the district, will serve as that coordinator overseeing the grant application.

While this pilot school psychologist program uses no tax payer money, Kautz said HPS has other grant money it can use in addition to what it is receiving from the state.

“We’re very fortunate to have someone like Dr. Lindblad who not only has that school psycologist testing background but also has that clinical background as well,” he said.

In other business, the board:

— Unanimously approved the Senior High 2019-2020 course registration handbook.

— Unanimously approved the district improvement plan.

— Unanimously approved the district goal monitoring metrics.

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