Grantee Highlights

Newark Board of Education Uses Mental Health School Professional (MHSP2019) and Project Prevent, Cohort 2 (P2C2) Grant Funds to Create Therapeutic Learning Centers

When the Newark Board of Education and Newark Public Schools received MHSP and P2C2 grant funds in 2019, schools were given $6,000 to transform a room in their building into a Therapeutic Learning Center (TLC). TLCs are designated spaces (preferably close to the counselor/social worker’s office) for students grades K-8 to access therapeutic tools, regulate, attend counseling sessions, and more. Each school had the opportunity to choose the type of TLC that best fit their students’ needs; school counselors and social workers created a list of supplies needed for their room and partnered with vendors to order the materials. See photos below for examples of TLC rooms in Newark schools, some which include art and journaling stations, music stations, sensory lights, and movement apparatus’ such as a mini-trampoline.

While most schools were excited by the introduction of TLC s, some expressed concern that they lacked the necessary space for TLCs because all rooms in the building were needed for classrooms. In response, partner vendors created “TLCs on wheels”  that could be moved from room to room (see video for reference). The mobile TLCs offer similar therapeutic tools and regulation services as traditional TLC rooms and are more accessible for schools with less space. At this point, TLCs on wheels have been purchased for 5 schools, and the district plans to expand that number.  Vendors will also hold training for schools on how to best utilize the TLC rooms for maximum student impact. 

TLCs have received positive feedback thus far. Students often visit the rooms during their lunchtime and find it a comfortable and fun atmosphere. Teachers have also benefited from the rooms, saying it helps them regulate during stressful days. 

As the grant ends, Newark hopes to finish the final installments of TLCs so that schools can continue to use them to support student and staff mental health needs.



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