Grimesey

Superintendent Bob Grimesey

A recent move to reorganize the top management of Moore County Schools and save almost $300,000 is also giving Superintendent Bob Grimesey a chance to implement a project he has wanted since his first day on the job: a special crisis response team for students.

“A growing recognition of student mental health concerns suggests a possible need for a district-wide, ‘rapid response team’ with a lead psychologist, up to three social workers, and some yet-to-be-determined number of behavior intervention specialists,” Grimesey said.

Such a team would fall under the auspices of student support services and would be designed to make available both proactive and quick responses to mental health issues.

“Their mission would be deterrence of and intervention in crises related to student mental health, safety and welfare,” Grimesey said. “They would report to the director and assistant director of student support services and they would work in close collaboration with school counselors, principals

and school resource officers.”

An opportunity to create this team opened up following a report last fall from a team of consultants that recommended several changes to staffing levels and responsibilities for senior school administrators. Those recommendations, adopted by the Board of Education last week, would reduce the number of administrators and save $295,000.

Grimesey said that while the consultants’ report did not recommend the “rapid response team” concept, the decision to streamline services will assist those in crisis.

“Now we can consolidate the needs of families and students under one office,” he said.

The idea for such an effort was one of Grimesey’s earliest initiatives.

“Within weeks after I began my tenure as superintendent in 2014, I noticed that we seemed to be short-handed in staff positions that provided oversight and direct assistance related to the safety, health and welfare of students,” he said.

“Establishing the general oversight positions of director and assistant director of student support services is the first step.  If we can get those individuals in place, then I will authorize them to work with teachers and principals to identify the most effective way to create a team that will provide more direct assistance to student safety, health and welfare.”

Grimesey said that a rapid response team may be a potentially cost-efficient alternative to another “internal bureaucracy.”

“The idea was inspired by a similar approach used in Fairfax County, Va., where my sister serves as a school social worker,” he said.  “A rapid response team would focus on our students who present elevated levels of difficulty associated with behavior, mental health, attendance, substance abuse or other risk factors. Our goal would be to intervene before they injure themselves or others, or fall so far behind academically that they might not be able to catch up.”

Sara Bigley, administrator for Student Support Services, said that increasing mental health initiatives for students was “a definite direction in which the

system is going.”

“The shift is being more proactive than reactive,” Bigley said. “We would continue to watch risk factors in students, continue to work with the Sandhills Center and others to provide crisis training for teachers, and counselors and student resource officers will continue to respond to any crisis involving mental health.

“I am looking forward to moving toward what Dr. Grimesey envisions.”

Grimesey said he still has more details to figure out before presenting the initiative to the Board of Education for consideration.

“I am waiting to determine the board’s readiness to establish the office of student support services,” he said. “If the board approves, I will then need to hire the director and assistant director. Those two individuals will then work with teachers and principals to finalize a best approach to support student safety, health and welfare. I will offer the ‘rapid response team’ for their consideration, but I will make no final decision until I have heard back from our professionals in the field.

“In order for our children to achieve academically, we must ensure that they are physically, mentally and emotionally ready to learn.”

Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or jlentz@thepilot.com

(27) comments

Karin Steven Kent

As a retired pediatrician, I can attest to the need for more mental health support services. However, I think Dr. Grimesey is suggesting this as a long term ideal, not an immediate task. I admire his vision and the long view he takes to nuture our children. He has said on numerous occasions that the funding crisis facing the Moore County School system precludes large new initiatives, however necessary they may be.
There is currently an $11million dollar shortfall of funds from what the state has set and what they return to Moore County. That $11million dollars of unfunded mandates has to be absorbed at the county level though cutting teachers, assistants, dual calendars, and many other beloved programs. After all these cuts we are STILL using $2.8 MILLION from the "emergency fund" just to cover expenses. That fund will soon run out, necessitating further drastic cuts. Class sizes will go up. More programs will be cut. People will lose their jobs. Support staff already make barely subsistence wages (really). Teachers have second jobs to make ends meets. This is a disaster.
State level representatives and senators in Raleigh need to actively change their votes to fund our public schools and reverse this crisis or move on. We must be VOTERS.

Richard Wright

I thought the original proposal was going to save $700000, money that could help pay for the much needed (and hyped) new schools, Instead the savings in only $300000 and they want to spend that. Pilot - why not sort this out.

Jessica Russell

The article clearly states that consolidating and streamlining services of staff at the central office provides a savings of $300k. Sorry that the article did not mention for you the closing of the year round program was $400k. Yes, that total is $700k. This article is not about the closing of the year round program but how the streamlining of the central office staff savings will allow for such a wonderful program to assist our students.

Kudos to Dr. Grimesy for taking on the initiative to benefit our students who have troubles of any sort that prevent them from exceeding their learning potential and for allowing them to grow into productive and meaningful adults. Often times, the personal lives of children and their families (tragedies, social issues, economics, etc.) can impact the ability for children to learn, let alone function in society. Dr. Grimesy realizes that our children are not all going to be 'cookie cutter kids' and is here to help them, the teachers, and the support staff be successful. Thank you.

Sally Larson

How difficult it must be to teach a child who needs help and not be able to give it to them. I am impressed with this kind of thinking, it's the kids we need to help and by doing that we are also helping the teachers. Everyone's involved working together making a difference in our community.

Darcy DeMercer

It seems to me the ones with the negative comments don't have kids in school. If my child had someone to go to that they could trust and help them get thru a day, a semester or even a school year it would be very beneficial. Peer pressure and bullying is still real. If it helps just 1 kid it's worth it.

Ell Cee

I hope these negative nelly's aren't the ones making decisions regarding our children. Also, bullying is very real and the internet has made it worse. Once upon a time a certain school board member told me that bullying was not an issue in "our town" . RIGHT.

FaithinUSA

This sounds more like agenda 21 every day...its a slippery slope. Instead of educating our children we are putting out a product.
https://americanpolicy.org/agenda21/
http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2012/11/19/what-is-agenda-21-after-watching-this-you-may-not-want-to-know/

Ell Cee

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/blogs/letters-to-the-editor/2014/05/09/students-mental-health-services-can-prevent-school-shootings-and-violence

Tom cat

Moore County student tests scores have recently improved, from what I've been told, but 'we can always do better, and if this student mental health service can help our kids go from a state of mental frustration to an 'inquiring stimulation' then I support it wholeheartedly

b1

Sorry I didn't write a complete sentence is on my last post. I'm sure people can figure it out though!

M J

The services benefit STUDENTS! Having a top heavy chain of command and overstaffed curriculum department did NOT benefit students.

I think Grimesay is on the right track with what he is doing. He should be the one with the screen name "commonsenseguy"

b1

Think about it, when have we service the students like they should be serviced? Test score is your grade in there maybe so many things that children are involved in but if you want to get down to the nitty-gritty there's not an of music and arts in the school system! There are many things that the system can do for students and also employees and staff. It's a little thing is get this county running but not anymore. One Davis County will be what it used to be!

b1

Now that I am home I can correct my post. It's the little things this county does not do anymore! One day this County will be what it used to be!

Karin Steven Kent

👍🏻

Angela Jones

Attacking people isn't very mature b1 and I hope you get the mental help you need, away from the schools and the kids

b1

Trust me, I have all the help I need! Why don't you work for the schools for 20+ years! You may be a teachers hubby but you still have no idea! Have a great night :-)

Ell Cee

Sorry, that comment was meant for teachers hubby.

Ell Cee

Call me captain obvious but aren't you doing the same thing?

b1

Also, focusing on children's mental health is very huge! But we need to make sure that teachers and support staffs mental health is top notch to ensure that our children have the best care as in mental health and education!

Angela Jones

Hey common guy get into the schools and see what they are all about before you go spouting out your ideas that are based on hearsay. Go to Pinckney first and talk to those teachers, it's called an alternative school, and see what that's all about and what those kids go through

Ell Cee

Amen amen amen.. I'm sick and tired of clueless people throwing their negative one cent opinions in for their own agenda. What ever happened to "it takes a village to raise a child" .... thank you for setting it straight ;)

b1

In all honesty, a little focus on teachers and other employees mental health, might help a huge portion of the situation in the schools!! Also, it might help good teachers and good support staff stay!! If the good people that are still left at the central office would focus on the people who are still commented and vested in MCS they would might have a better chance of MCS being what it used to be!! Dr. Grim, you are a joke! I find it funny that so many people loved everything you said when you first came here in staff meetings and at other meetings! You, in the big picture, have never stuck by anything you promoted or promised! On top of that, you had great school board and a great Central Office Staff that left and went on to do bigger and better things! You're crying at your meetings and everything else has not done anything for the school system. The only thing good that you have done is keeping Coach M. and Coach P. at PHS!! Also, I am very proud of leaving the school system :-)

Jason Joyce

This is an example of what is wrong with our schools. We finally are making positive strides by eliminating some top end overstaffing only to waste the savings. Schools are meant to educate, not diagnose and treat. Leave that to the medical system. Focus on educating our kids, because right now Moore County is doing a poor job of that. I was an enthusiastic supporter of Dr Bob, but am becoming tepid at best in my support based on this and other fanciful ideas like the Career Center. Fix the schools we have and educate our kids before trying to put a feather in your cap Dr Bob.

Ell Cee

Or you could take your agenda elsewhere. It's just a suggestion. Sorry but the good ole boys aren't running the show anymore.

Ell Cee

Let's not just address the problems, let's get to the root of the issues. I could suggest a few things but at this point I'm just happy we have Dr.Grimesey here to acknowledge that we have problems. We aren't the perfect town and there is nothing wrong with that as long as we do not continue acting as though we are.

Tom cat

It's reassuring to know that we 'still' have such an intelligent, progressive and forward thinking professional at the helm of Moore County schools, I think this is a much needed student service

Conrad Meyer

moorecountymess- perhaps you could be the first student to enroll in this program.

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