NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mayor Karl Dean’s office and Alignment Nashville announced today a coalition, made up of Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS), Alignment, and local community organizations, has been awarded a $350,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to improve mental health services for students in Nashville.

“This grant will enable Metro Nashville Public Schools to develop important partnerships with non-profit organizations in the community to improve access to school- and community-based prevention and mental health services,” Mayor Dean said.

“High risk behaviors such as delinquency, substance abuse, and truancy, ultimately contribute to students dropping out of school and are often related to undetected and untreated mental health issues. Nashville’s children and families will benefit from engaging the entire community in our efforts to provide high-quality mental health services for all students.”

The 18-month grant supports staff to coordinate the project at MNPS, as well as professional development for MNPS teachers. Primary partners include: MNPS, Mayor’s Office, Metro Nashville/Davidson County Juvenile Court, Vanderbilt Mental Health Center, STARS Nashville, and Centerstone.

The Alignment Nashville Behavioral Health Committee, which includes representatives from MNPS and local mental health agencies and providers, secured the grant and will serve as the project’s advisory committee.

“The goal of Alignment Nashville is to bring Nashville’s community organizations and resources together with Metro Schools to further the success of our public schools and our community as a whole,” said Carol Nixon, Chair of the Behavioral Health Committee. “This grant provides a wonderful opportunity to highlight the importance of social emotional health to students’ overall success, and it sets the stage for Nashville to apply for larger federal grants in the future.”

“We recognize the importance of effective community engagement, and we are grateful for this opportunity to design community-wide strategies to benefit our students,” said Chris Henson, Interim Director of Schools. “Social and emotional issues plague too many of our students, and it is our hope that we can provide links to the services that these students need through this project.”

Alignment Nashville, which is housed in Mayor’s Office, works to align community organizations to positively impact the Nashville community by helping its youth and public schools succeed.

For more information about Alignment Nashville, go to



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