Sonoma County Office of Education Receives Medtronic Foundation Grant for Fire Relief

Sonoma County Office of Education (SCOE) received a $100,000 check from the Medtronic Foundation to further SCOE’s school fire relief efforts on Thursday, May 3.

Sonoma County Superintendent Steve Herrington and Sonoma County Board of Education President Herman G. Hernandez accepted the check at the May 3 meeting of the Sonoma County Board of Education.

“SCOE is honored to be entrusted with the funds to support schools in their sustained efforts to help students overcome the setbacks and trauma the fires created. We take this responsibility seriously,” said Herrington. He added that SCOE will use the funds to host a multi-day training for up to 60 school psychologists, counselors, and community mental health organizations in Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS).

CBITS is designed to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and behavioral problems in students while improving functioning, grades and attendance, and peer and parent support. The training will begin in August and will include a follow-up session later in the school year. In addition to covering the cost of the training, the funds will provide stipends to those attending in order to reduce barriers to attendance.

“We know that students and staff are still struggling daily with the emotional scars left by the devastating firestorm,” Herrington said. Around 1,500 public school students lost their homes in the fires that swept Sonoma County in October 2018. “School mental health staff have a more important role than ever to play in ensuring the emotional wellbeing of our school communities. Based on recommendations from Dr. David Schonfeld, director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at USC, we believe this training is a key step to foster resilience in our schools and students.”

“On behalf of SCOE, I want to give a heartfelt thank you for The Medtronic Foundation’s generous grant to benefit fire relief efforts for Sonoma County schools. The outpouring of community and business support for our students has been heartwarming and inspiring to see,” said Herrington.