Tech, CUSA team to help with mental health space at Cypress Springs Elementary

Members of the Louisiana Tech brand engagement department met with Cypress Springs Elementary staff to discuss the Extra Yard for Teachers.

By T. Scott Boatright

Cypress Springs Elementary School will become a safer place thanks to Louisiana Tech Athletics and Conference USA.

Members of Tech’s athletics department along with sports and cheers team members made trips to area schools Tuesday, visiting with students and presenting gift cards to teachers at Glen View Elementary and Simsboro High School while also presenting Cypress Springs Elementary principal Mary Wilks-Kilgore with a $10,000 that will be used to create a calming room at  the school.

“I was ecstatic when (Tech Associate AD for External Operations) Kyle Kavanaugh reached out about the $10K for a calming space at our school,” Wilks-Kilgore said. “Having a background in psychology, I recognize and respect the importance of mental health. We all need a good balance of emotions and experiences in our lives. This room will provide the calm/down time needed to promote more productivity. We are so thankful Tech chose Cypress Springs Elementary.”

It was all part of a partnership between the Tech athletics and Conference USA to show their support for teachers in conjunction with the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation through its Extra Yard for Teachers (EYFT) platform. 

“Cypress Springs is a Title One partner with Louisiana Tech Athletics,” said Kavanaugh. “They have a full-time mental health professional on staff, and this money will help them add the necessary space and resources in order to take full advantage of that on-campus skillset. It will better equip them to bring the teachers and students the support they need.”

Created in 2015 as a national celebration of teachers, Extra Yard for Teachers Week is supported by the CFP Foundation and its college football partners. The CFP Foundation works in close partnership with the universities, conferences, bowls, ESPN and education supporters across the country to honor and recognize the meaningful work of teachers for the entire week.

“Our partnership with the Conference USA has been simply outstanding in our efforts to support teachers and celebrate their important roles with our children,” said CFP Foundation Executive Director Britton Banowsky. “We couldn’t have the nationwide reach we have without our wonderful partners throughout the country. Extra Yard for Teachers Week and the Big Day are incredible efforts when we all come together for teachers and make a real difference. We are so thankful to Conference USA and the difference it is making for educators.”

Each of CUSA’s nine member institutions will receive $10,000 to be distributed to the PK-12 campus of their choosing. In conjunction with CUSA’s focus on student-athlete mental health, each institution will use its $10,000 to create a mental health space or calming room, or provide mental health resources, for its partner school.

Conference USA will participate in the initiative as well, using $10,000 to partner with Otis Brown Elementary in Irving, Texas, to provide similar mental health services. Additionally, CUSA recognized Brown Elementary third grade ESL teacher Haley Goforth with a $1,000 Donors Choose gift card on the Big Day for Teachers. 

The College Football Playoff Foundation is the largest sports entity in America that is supporting education, and its Extra Yard for Teachers platform is successful in supporting and uplifting teachers by focusing on four major areas: recognition, resources, professional development, and recruitment and retention. 

Since its inception, the CFP Foundation has supported nearly 500,000 teachers nationwide, creating a positive impact for more than 9.2 million students and 50,000 schools. 

Moreover, the nationwide Extra Yard for Teachers platform has collectively invested approximately $57 million in support of education.