Funds will make Newtown and CT schools safe under Obama’s “Now is the Time” plan to reduce gun violence and increase mental-health services.
From the Office of Gov. Dannel Malloy:
GOV. MALLOY: STATE WINS GRANT TO MAKE SCHOOLS SAFER, HEALTHIER PLACES TO LEARN
Additional Funds Awarded for School Emergency Operations Plans
(HARTFORD, CT) — Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that Connecticut has received two federal grants totaling more than $3.5 million to create safer, more nurturing environments in schools.Connecticut was one of 12 states out of more than 30 that applied to receive a School Climate Transformation grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.
The $3.3 million grant will help the state expand the infrastructure it already has in place for supporting effective school wide positive behavior practices, with a particular focus on providing support to low-performing schools.
“We have made substantial investments into making the physical buildings more secure, while simultaneously strengthening the mental health supports available in schools,” said Governor Malloy.
“This grant will greatly impact the state’s ability to support our local efforts to create positive and healthy school climates where all our students thrive and where those in need of help receive it.”
“Work funded by this grant will improve delivery of high-quality training and assistance regarding a proven program that supports positive school climates. In so doing, it will enhance our schools’ ability to provide differing levels of support and intervention tailored to individual student needs,” Commissioner of Education Stefan Pryor said.
“We are grateful to the Governor and General Assembly for continuing to prioritize efforts that will support our students’ well-being.”The goals of the School Climate Transformation program are to connect children, youths, and families to appropriate services and supports; improve conditions for learning and behavioral outcomes for school-aged children; and increase awareness of and the ability to respond to mental-health issues among students.
This work will be accomplished in Connecticut through a framework called PBIS, or positive behavioral interventions and supports. PBIS is deeply embedded in the guidance that the State Department of Education provides to districts to help address problems such as disciplinary offenses, suspensions, absenteeism, and bullying. PBIS takes a proactive approach that emphasizes explicitly teaching and reinforcing students’ appropriate behaviors. It also entails responding consistently to inappropriate behaviors throughout the school community.
Behavioral interventions are backed by research and tailored to individuals or groups of students who behave in ways that put them at risk academically, socially, or emotionally.The grant will be distributed over the next five years.
Connecticut will receive $578,500 in 2014-15; $682,256 in 2015-16; $705,438 in 2016-17; $705,707 in 2017-18; and $635,003 in 2018-19. The state also received a School Emergency Management grant from the U.S. Department of Education for $291,483. Under the supervision of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP), it will enable DESPP to provide additional training and technical support to schools in the development and update of their school emergency operations plans (EOPs).
“It is unfortunate we have to prepare for these situations, but a well-crafted plan is essential if we are to minimize risks to the lives and safety of students, teachers and school staff during times of crisis,” Gov. Malloy said.
“Securing this grant is significant. It will enable the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection to reach more school districts to develop and implement all-hazards Emergency Operations Plans over the next 18 months to keep our students safe,” DESPP Commissioner Dr. Dora B. Schriro said.
The two grants are part of new programs included in President Obama’s “Now is the Time” initiative, a plan to make schools safer, reduce gun violence, and increase mental-health services. The president issued the plan in January 2013 after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School and in other cities across the country.