Huron students benefit from COVID relief funding for trauma, mental health

A photo of Krystal Lewis
Krystal Lewis, Huron School District social worker.

Amid the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Huron School District educators recognized the rise in student trauma and behavioral health concerns and immediately took steps to address both pressing issues.

Specialized training was initiated for district social workers and counselors, fueled by federal funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The goal was clear: to equip educators and staff with the tools and knowledge needed to address the growing mental health needs of their students. They accomplished this goal through creative and thoughtful use of school rescue dollars to support the well-being of their students while helping them succeed.

Huron School District social worker and MEA member Krystal Lewis understood the profound impact of the training.

“Having educators trained in trauma-informed practices provides a valuable resource educators can use to help students and families in need,” Lewis explained.

Drawing upon her personal expertise and passion for helping others, Lewis underwent specialized training in trauma-informed instruction through Starr Commonwealth, an organization committed to healing trauma and building resilience in children and adolescents.

Alongside Lewis, all social workers and counselors within the district received training in trauma-informed practices, equipping them with the understanding, strategies and resources needed to support students experiencing trauma.

Lori Tavtigian, President of the Huron Education Association and a speech pathologist, underscored the importance of this training.

“Understanding trauma and having strategies and resources to support students is essential for educators,” Tavtigian said.

Following each training session, Lewis returned to her school to share knowledge and strategies with fellow staff members, including paraprofessionals, teachers and office staff. As a vital member of the district’s trauma team, she has been able to offer direct support to staff, students and families alike, helping to create a network of care and compassion within the school community.

Looking ahead, Lewis remains committed to empowering educators with trauma-informed practices. Intending to reach more educators, she looks forward to training others in trauma-informed instruction upon completing her program.

American Rescue Plan Newsroom