HOLLAND, Mich. - West Ottawa Public Schools is prioritizing student wellness by hiring nine and a half new staff positions focused on students' mental health. 

The nine full-time job positions and one part-time position will focus on the social and emotional needs of students grades K-12. The positions range from social workers and counselors to mental wellness facilitators and interventionists. All positions have been filled and staff members are slated to being their new roles this fall. 

Though the new staff members begin August 2019, the positions have been nearly 10 years in the making. The district has reduced spending for nine years, garnering bond approvals and streamlining general fund dollars in order to provide an efficient use of taxpayer resources. The general fund dollars have been directed to classroom funding, while the 2014 and 2019 bonds have supported building renovations, technology upgrades necessary for student learning, and transportation costs. West Ottawa also attributes the ability to pay for these new positions through aggressively paying down debts, as well as the use of the Ottawa County enhancement millage funds.

“Student mental health is a top priority for our district,” said Tom Martin, superintendent of West Ottawa Public Schools. “Meeting students’ emotional and social needs allows for continued academic growth. We are grateful to welcome our new experts to the district, and look forward to their support in serving students, families and the community.”

The new hires have more than 120 years of combined professional experience and will work directly with the district personnel and in the schools to support student outcomes. 

“We are also grateful for the support of the community, which has helped make this continued investment in our students possible.” said Martin. “Together, we will continue to focus on improved college, career and life readiness for all students.”

For more information, visit WestOttawa.net.

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