Cass County Democrat Missourian

Harrisonville schools bolster mental health efforts

First-graders at Harrisonville Christian School now share the same building with middle school students.
First-graders at Harrisonville Christian School now share the same building with middle school students. Courtesy photo

The Harrisonville School District is now collaborating with Compass Health/Pathways to provide school-based therapy by licensed mental health professionals at no cost or liability to the district.

Pathways will hire the therapists, and the school will notify the therapists about needs. Students experiencing emotional or behavioral issues such as depression, anxiety, trauma or substance abuse can then receive therapy during school hours. The service is for students who don’t have Individualized Education Plans and are on Medicaid or eligible for it. Pathways will bill through Medicaid.

The district said the integration of mental health services into the schools helps reduce the stigma of therapy and removes barriers, such as transportation and work schedules, that make it difficult for families to obtain therapy for their kids.

“We are excited to get this school-based therapy program up and running in Harrisonville,” Assistant Superintendent Dan Erholtz said in a news release. “With parent consent, staff will arrange for students to visit with a licensed therapist in our schools to help with a variety of emotional and behavioral problems. It is a process to help our students develop a wellness plan to meet their needs.”

Christian school goes from two buildings to one

Harrisonville Christian School and Kinder Kastle Preschool are observing their 50th anniversary with all students under one roof at Harrisonville Community Church, 1606 Chapel Drive.

For two decades, the school has operated in two buildings, with the preschool and elementary students at the East Campus on Chapel Drive, and middle school students at the West Campus at 1202 S. Commercial St. Now, to promote unity among the students and staff, the school has consolidated at the eastern location.

Officials listed other advantages: better use of resources; improved communication, teamwork and training; and opportunities for middle school students to mentor younger classmates.

“While there do appear to be many challenges facing Christian education, we must continue to center ourselves around Christ and move forward together,” the school’s principal, Chad Culpepper, said in a news release.

According to the school’s website, Dorothy Hartzler founded Kinder Kastle Nursery School in 1968 and Harrisonville Christian, begun in 1974, grew from that ministry. The school is owned and operated by Harrisonville Community Church.

First responders welcome for school meals

Again this year, Bright Futures Harrisonville is inviting uniformed first responders to eat breakfast or lunch with students — for free — any day at any Harrisonville school.

The Blue Light Special program, begun last February, is more than a way to say thank you to the police, paramedics and firefighters for keeping the community safe. Organizers say it also brings more positive role models into children’s lives — adults besides parents and teachers who care about the students and want them to do well.

Participants are asked to be in uniform, but no reservation is necessary. Upon arriving at the school, guests should check in at the main office so a staffer can then direct them to the cafeteria. Anyone with questions can email

Walk/run in memory of Zach Schrock

Before he died of brain cancer at age 9, Zach Schrock enjoyed being in the gym at Harrisonville Christian School.

Now, nearly three years after Zach’s death in December 2015, his family has organized the first trail run/walk in his memory. Proceeds will be used to begin a fund for a future gymnasium at the school.

The event will be Sept. 15 at Shelter #7 in the Harrisonville City Park. The fee is $20. Walk-up registration begins at 8 a.m., followed by the race at 9. Participants can pre-register at T-shirts will go to those who sign up by Sept. 8.