Last month, L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Board of Education approved a request for additional staff in the areas of social and emotional support. The district will target to fill 11 new positions.

Last month, L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Board of Education approved a request for additional staff in the areas of social and emotional support. The district will target to fill 11 new positions.

File photo by Patricia O’Blenes

More social-emotional support staff coming to L’Anse Creuse

District property discussed

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published September 10, 2021


HARRISON TOWNSHIP/MACOMB TOWNSHIP — As a new school year begins, one local district is increasing staffing in the area of social and emotional support.

On Aug. 23, the L’Anse Creuse Public Schools Board of Education listened to a recommendation from the special education for a social-emotional support system.

The meeting packet indicates the district would like to establish a school-based and district-wide multi-tiered system of support that is adequately equipped and resourced to provide equitable and effective student services.

The district will target to fill 11 new positions like school social workers, school counselors and nurses, to fulfill its indentured student social and emotional support goals.

The school board unanimously approved the request for additional staff.

The thought behind the action stems from the Michigan Student Recovery Advisory Council, which published the MI Blueprint for Comprehensive Student Recovery.

“This document identifies the insufficient and inequitable distribution of school mental health professionals and nurses across districts and limited collaboration with and access to community partners,” the packet states.

For school counselors and social workers, the current district combined ratio, based on 10,000 students, is 314-to-1. The target combined ratio, with 10 additional staff in that area, would be 240-to-1.

Regarding the district nurse, the current ratio is 10,000-to-1. Adding one more nurse would cut that number in half.

“We know coming out of this COVID year, there’s a lot of mental wear and tear on our students, and we wanted to put the support system in place to help those kids,” Board President Hilary Dubay said.

Three challenges outlined by the district are the incomplete knowledge of the comprehensive wellness needs of student; the lack of access to a school nurse means missed opportunities to identify, monitor or manage illness, particularly for children with chronic conditions; and high rates of student mental health challenges, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, traumatic stress and grief.

Goals include establishing comprehensive knowledge of students’ wellness needs during the school year, ensuring every student has access to a school nurse or nursing services during this school year, and promoting student mental health recovery and social-emotional wellness through evidence-based professional learning and prioritization of the “whole child.”

The State Aid Act has allocated funding for districts who demonstrate disproportionate

distribution of mental health staff and nurses. School districts must apply to receive the funding.

Also at the meeting, Superintendent Erik Edoff gave an update on the district’s property in Harrison Township. In February, the sale of Jefferson Avenue properties was unanimously approved. That is where the district’s old administration building property was located.

At that time, the district received a cash offer from a Real Estate One representative, to purchase the property for $375,000. The land parcels are in Harrison Township at 36727 Jefferson Ave. and 7155 L’Anse Creuse St.

Edoff now says the buyer learned there would be infrastructure demands on the substructure underneath the ground, as well as issues with electrical, plumbing and roads, which the buyer claimed were beyond the scope of his understanding and would create great costs.

The district’s understanding earlier this year was that the property will be used to build residential single-family housing. Around 30 units were planned to be on the property.

The buyer told Edoff he had concerns, at which point a second buyer came in and offered the same price. That individual also backed out of the deal.

Edoff learned Aug. 20 that the original buyer is seeking to close on the property with a cash-only offer at a cost of $275,000.

The board rejected the offer for $275,000 and directed Edoff to request more information on what additional costs are for a project like this, what the interest level has been from buyers and what a new marketing plan would be going forward.   

In November 2016, the board approved the demolition and split of the district’s old administration building property to sell it as a 4.461-acre parcel.