Two local school districts are among 22 statewide to benefit from a $100,000 grant to provide behavioral health screening this year.

D.C. Everest and Mosinee School Districts both will receive the funding from Security Health Plan, a Marshfield-based insurance group. The grant fund training elementary school teachers in using the Behavioral, Emotional and Social Traits (b.e.s.t.) universal screening program.

The b.e.s.t. screening helps educational professionals identify behavioral health and risk factors and implement data-based solutions when they can have the greatest impact – when students are young, says Eric Hartwig, a school psychologist, former Administrator of Pupil Services for the Marathon County Children with Disabilities Education Board and developer of the b.e.s.t. screening.  

“Other than family, no one spends more time with students than teachers, so it’s natural to use teachers’ observations to identify risk factors and provide children with additional support,” Hartwig says.

The initiative is meant to address the limited behavioral resources of schools, says Jay Shrader, of Security Health Plan.