MCAS receives pair of major grants

October 18, 2017

MICHIGAN CITY — Representatives of Michigan City Area Schools held a breakfast at the MCAS Administration Building last Friday morning to celebrate two major grants that will provide funding for social services and counseling for students who are a part of MCAS.

According to MCAS Data and Grant specialist Micki Webb, the grants include a four-year, $555,800 comprehensive K-12 counseling grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. and a one-year, $200,000 school social services grant from the Indiana Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

Additionally, Webb said MCAS was one of 52 school corporations and five Indiana Charter Schools in the state to receive the grant from Lilly.

“I think this will give Michigan City Area Schools a positive momentum. We know that there are barriers outside of the schools, but this grant provides students with an outside area of support so they can advance their academic needs,” she said.

“These grants provide much-needed resources for our schools, particularly in the areas of case management, social work and mentoring – along with important professional development for our staff,” MCAS Superintendent Dr. Barbara Eason-Watkins added.

In order to receive the grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., Webb also said that MCAS held 13 separate meetings that engaged more than 120 community stakeholders such as the Boys and Girls Club of Michigan City, Dunebrook Inc., United Way, various La Porte County organizations, four Indiana colleges and many more. Students of MCAS and members of the community also participated in the preparation process for receiving the grants.

“We’re using not only our resources but also community resources as a way to help our students,” Webb said.

After participants analyzed data and resources in an effort to create a shared vision of comprehensive counseling that advanced development of non-cognitive and social-emotional skills, Webb added that they decided to include a logistic comprehensive counseling model.

“We identified and mapped out the problems, goals, challenges, objectives, strategy outputs and short-term and long-term outcomes then we looked at what the data showed in order to help the issue we were facing,” she said.

According to Webb, the $200,000 school social services grant from the Indiana Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services is a competitive grant that contracts social workers to provide direct counseling, case management and mental health services to support socio-economical, non-cognitive social skill development in order to enhance coping skills and self discipline.

“It is crucial that we ensure students’ socio-economical needs are met so we can boost academic achievement and college and career readiness,” Eason-Watkins said.

Webb went on to credit Eason-Watkins as a key collaborator in obtaining these grants.

“It was her support that made this happen. Students can now continue to have the academic mindset and opportunity to be academically successful despite any endeavor they may face,” Webb said.