Governor visits Lockland

Last spring Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine chose Lockland School District as a location to talk about his Science of Reading initiative. This fall, the school district is benefitting from another DeWine program.

Lockland recently learned that it is one of the lucky districts to receive a $50,000 Tier 3 award from DeWine’s Stronger Connections Grant.

The focus of the Stronger Connections Grant is to provide students with safer and healthier learning environments. In the initial rollout, 747 districts and schools across the state received a piece of the $33.3 million awarded in Tier 1 and 2 of the program. Lockland received just over $18,000 in Tier 1 & 2 funds.

These awards were based on health and safety factors collected from data, including rates of poverty, chronic absenteeism, and exclusionary discipline. Eligible schools and districts that demonstrated the highest need and applied for additional funding received an additional Tier 3 award.

Lockland Schools checked all of the eligibility boxes for the Tier 3 monies prompting Assistant Superintendent Justin Gibson to enthusiastically pursue the additional, much-needed funds.

“What we’re trying to do is grow our student wellness department,” he said. “We will use this money to strengthen our student wellness program which is now under the supervision of Student Wellness Supervisor Jenny Bole.”

“The focus is on the mental health of our students and eventually the staff,” Mr. Gibson added. To achieve this, Lockland is leveraging community partnerships with The HealthCare Connection and MindPeace through Catalyst Counseling.

Working together, we hope to serve the ‘whole child,’ he said. There are students in our district who struggle with food insecurity. There are students who are working a job outside of school hours to help their families. These are adult-level problems that students are managing daily. They take their toll on their mental and physical well-being.

This additional funding allows us the opportunity to continue moving forward in the development of a Wellness Department that is robust enough to support the needs of all students, faculty and staff, and ultimately the Lockland community, Bole said. 

“We are grateful for the additional financial support that will provide us with opportunities to better meet the needs of the students and families that we serve,” Superintendent Bob Longworth said. “The hard work of Justin Gibson to secure this award is appreciated and the efforts of our newly developed Student Wellness will be greatly assisted as a result of this new funding source.”

The Stronger Connections Grant will help fund the resources needed for the district and its partners to better serve a gamut of student needs and ultimately provide a safer and healthier learning environment where students can find academic success.

More about Lockland Schools

Lockland Schools, located in the Village of Lockland, is the smallest public school district in Hamilton County with less than 500 students. It’s also one of the poorest in the state of Ohio. The district is 100 percent free-and-reduced lunch.