The bill creates the "Colorado K-5 Social and Emotional Health Act" (act). The act requires the department of education (department) to select up to 10 pilot schools (pilot school) to participate in a pilot program that ensures that a school mental health professional, as defined in the act, is dedicated to each of grades kindergarten through fifth grade, with a ratio of mental health professionals to students of approximately 1 per 250 students. To the extent possible, the school mental health professional shall follow the same students through each grade. The general assembly shall appropriate the resources necessary for the pilot district to hire or contract with the additional school mental health professionals.
The department shall select pilot schools that meet the characteristics outlined in the bill, including high poverty, ethnic diversity, and a large concentration of students in the foster care system.
Among other responsibilities consistent with the mental health professional's license, the school mental health professional shall provide needed services to students and their families in the pilot district, including providing services and supports to students with learning disabilities,, identifying food insecurities, providing resources to develop and improve the social and emotional health of students, and helping eligible students and their families access public benefits. Services must be provided at school and during school hours, as appropriate.
The bill requires the department to employ or contract with a pilot program coordinator to oversee the implementation of the pilot program across the pilot schools.
The pilot program begins operation during the 2020-21 school year and repeals in July 2023. The department shall contract with a professional program evaluator (evaluator) to conduct a preliminary evaluation in 2022 and a final evaluation before the repeal of the pilot program. The evaluator shall establish the method for the pilot district's data collection and monitor data throughout the pilot program.
The evaluator shall evaluate the effectiveness of services provided by the pilot program on the academic, mental, and physical health and well-being of the student cohorts within the scope of the pilot program.
The bill authorizes the use of marijuana tax cash fund money and gifts, grants, or donations to fund the pilot program.
(Note: This summary applies to the reengrossed version of this bill as introduced in the second house.)