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Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 Receives $6.3 Million in Grants



Every year, District 47 seeks funding sources above and beyond local tax dollars to support its initiatives and provide resources for students. During the 2022-23 school year, the district has been awarded five new grants totaling $6.3 million. 


Grants received this year include a Preschool for All block grant in the amount of $344,376; an Elementary and Secondary Relief Digital Equity Formula grant in the amount of $201,200; a District-Led High Impact Tutoring grant in the amount of $149,040; a HEROES reading intervention grant in the amount of $18,600; and a five-year federal grant called Project LAKE (Learning Acceptance through Kindness for Everyone) issued by the U.S. Department of Education in the amount of $5.6 million. 


District 47 is the only school district in McHenry County and one of only 7 school districts in the state and 102 school districts in the country to receive this federal grant. 


Project LAKE seeks to support improved student outcomes by increasing the capacity to implement, sustain and improve mental health services. In recent years, District 47 has seen a growing number of students in need of mental and social-emotional support. By the end of October 2022, for example, the number of student support requests received by the district nearly equaled the number of requests received during the entire 2021-22 school year.  


Over a period of five years, the grant will support the recruitment of 12 additional school-based mental health service providers (social workers, school counselors and a director of social-emotional learning) while also supporting the retention of existing school-based mental health providers. The district currently employs 26 social workers, 11 school psychologists, and one counselor for its 13 schools and 7,100 students. 


Throughout the duration of the grant, the district will collaborate with local community mental health providers and other community partners to bolster its ability to provide quality mental health services for students. Midwest PBIS Network, which the district partnered with in writing the grant, will provide consulting services to the district and professional development for staff. The Network is a national research, grant, and direct-funded organization in Illinois which functions as a hub of the Center on PBIS, a national technical assistance partnership funded by the U.S. Department of Education.


“The mental and social-emotional health of our students is critical to their ability to successfully engage in their education,” said Dr. Kathy Hinz, superintendent. “We’re thrilled to be able to provide additional supports for students and staff through our partnerships with the community and with funding sources above and beyond local tax dollars.” 


“Mental health is a critical community issue that is best addressed collaboratively,” said Kristin Schmidt, assistant director of special education. “We rely on and deeply appreciate the community partners who continually rally around us to help us support the needs of our students. Our partnerships are a unique blueprint in the field of education and other school districts have reached out to duplicate what we’ve accomplished together so far. I’m excited that this grant will allow us to do even more.” 


Schmidt led the effort to apply for the grant and will become the new director of social-emotional learning. During her 22 years with District 47, she has supported the district as a social worker and an assistant director of special education. She currently serves on the board of directors for NAMI, co-leads a county group with the McHenry County Mental Health Board, and serves on the county’s Youth Empowerment Alliance.