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Burrell School District extends liaison program for troubled students

| Thursday, April 20, 2017, 11:35 p.m.

The Burrell School District has agreed to continue with a program intended to help troubled students get the help they need.

The district will continue to have a permanent liaison at Burrell who can direct the students and their parents to various programs that are available through Westmoreland County that go beyond the core behavioral needs.

The liaison will work with core teams at schools to assess the needs of referred students, and match them with related services.

The liaison can suggest such services that provide medical and physical health needs, housing and utilities.

The liaison works with not only the student but their families.

In past years, those referred to the Westmoreland County Student Assistance Program and their parents might have had to do a lot of legwork to obtain the services recommended for them, and then follow through on treatment programs.

Assistant Superintendent Matthew Conner said the enhanced program will ease some of that burden.

Conner the program change is a result of Westmoreland County officials' recognition that the program was due for improvements.

Burrell became one of a half dozen districts in the county participating in the enhanced pilot in February.

On Tuesday, the school board signed on to the program for next school year.

The program is operated through Westmoreland County Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, which provides each district with a liaison from subcontractor Westmoreland Case Management and Supports Inc.

There was no cost for the district to participate in the pilot program, or for the use of a full-time program liaison during the trial period during this school year.

However, the district would have to foot the cost of the $20,000 bill that comes with the staff position during next school year.

Matthew Medsger is a Tribune-Review staff writer.

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