default new HCS logo


Haywood County Schools (HCS) is one of three school districts in the state that has been awarded funding from the Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) grant.  Joining Bledsoe County schools and Scott County schools, Haywood County will receive 1.8 million dollars over the next five years in order to support student behavioral and academic needs.

Project AWARE in HCS will be led by Twyla King, a former therapist and school social worker.

“The aim of the program is to expand youth access to mental health resources and promote resilience and positive behavioral functioning among youth while also helping remove the stigma attached to mental health care,” King said.

Funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), the AWARE grant will also provide training for school personnel to detect and respond to mental health needs.  

“Haywood County Schools looks forward to implementation of the AWARE grant in our district,” said Joey Hassell, Director of Schools, Haywood County Schools. “Through the grant, HCS will expand the continuum of school- and community-based behavioral health support and interventions to more effectively address the mental health needs of our student population. Our ability to respond proactively to youth mental health concerns will result in improved outcomes linked to achievement, attendance, and behavior.”

As part of the funding, HCS will hire an additional three social workers who will work across the district and partner with individual schools in order to individually connect with students and families in regards to behavior, attendance, and academics.

“Having extra social workers in the district is vital. Because of the holistic approach, we can see what is affecting a student’s grades or attendance or behavior.  It allows us to see the whole child and everything that could be affecting learning,” King explained.

The funds will cover the cost of programming for a three-year period, and additional funds from SAMHSA will extend the grant until 2026.