School, bag, backpack.

Arizona Schools Superintendent Kathy Hoffman announced the award of $21 million in funds to bring more social workers and counselors to Arizona schools, including 30 campuses in Scottsdale.

The funds – part of the Arizona Department of Education’s federal COVID-19 relief allotment – will supplement the School Safety Grant Program passed by the State Legislature in 2019, which funded 260 counselors and social worker positions at schools across the state. 

The new funds will create an additional 71 school counselors and 69 school social worker positions. According to the department, the $21.3 million allocation will fully fund the new positions for two years.

“After a genuinely traumatic year, I’ve heard clearly that the social-emotional services offered by our public schools are critical to student wellbeing,” said Superintendent Hoffman. “By supplementing the School Safety Grant Program with federal relief funds, we are providing real solutions and resources that will have a direct impact on school safety, the social-emotional well-being of our students, and the overall health of our communities.”

Coronado High School, Tonalea K-8, Echo Canyon School, Ingleside Middle School, and Arcadia and Saguaro High schools were already awarded grant funds for social workers in 2020 under the School Safety Grant Program.

The new allotment will fund social worker positions at the remaining 22 SUSD campuses that do not currently have them

According to an SUSD spokesperson, the social workers oversee and support the district’s model for social-emotional learning practices and interventions, including collecting and analyzing data, developing action plans to match targeted needs, and delivering direct services to students, staff and families.

Social workers on campus also work with student support groups, restorative circles and conduct staff training and risk assessments. 

Several Scottsdale schools in the Paradise Valley Unified School District will also receive funding from the new allocation. 

Desert Shadows Elementary will receive funding for a new counselor. Sandpiper, Desert Springs Preparatory and North Ranch elementary schools will receive funding for social workers.

The funding will also provide for counselors at several Great Hearts charter school campuses in Scottsdale, including Scottsdale Preparatory Academy, Archway Scottsdale, Archway Cicero and Cicero Preparatory Academy.