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OSU-Cascades Gets School Counselor Grant

BEND, OR -- OSU Cascades is getting a $3.9-million federal grant to increase the number of school counselors in the region. OSU worked with the High Desert Education Service District to create PATH-SC, which stands for ‘Promoting and Advancing Training of High Desert School Counselors.’

Assistant professor Lucy Purgason says students can apply for tuition support and a training stipend, “Part of the program requires admitted students to PATH-SC to agree to commit to working in one of our 4 partnership districts. And those districts are in Crook County, Jefferson County, Redmond, And Bend-La Pine.”

Purgason says this program is designed to address the mental health needs of K-12 school children which intensified during the pandemic, “We believe every student in Central Oregon deserves access to a school counselor. And for many students in our most rural areas this is more difficult because it’s challenging to find qualified and trained school counselors to hire.”

“School counselors play a really important role in mental health prevention. Because we activate really important and protective factors for students like helping build skills for conflict resolution, bullying prevention, and helping to create a positive school climate,” Purgason says, pointing to a recent survey showing K through 12 students reported an increase in mental and emotional health concerns since the pandemic.

The 5 year U.S. Department of Education funding can support up to 75 grad students.


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