(Washington, DC) – Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) announced that 12 local educational agencies (LEAS) will receive a total of $4.5 million in grant funds to expand mental health supports for students in 34 schools.
“We know how important it is for our young people to have the mental health supports they need while in school and out of school,” said Mayor Bowser. “Every day, educators across DC are going above and beyond to ensure students feel safe and loved at school. These federal grants are one more tool our schools can use to support school staff in creating safe and healthy learning environments for students.”
The grant funds come from the federal Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Stronger Connections Grant, which supports improving conditions for student learning by encouraging schools to implement a comprehensive plan to create safer and healthier learning environments and promote positive school climates. OSSE identified high-need LEAs and made the grant funds available through competition. LEAs applied for school-based projects that develop, enhance, or expand upon projects or activities in the school’s School Strengthening Work Plan.
“Fostering student well-being is a priority for OSSE because we know that children achieve more in school when their mental and behavioral health needs are met in a supportive environment,” said State Superintendent Dr. Christina Grant. “The Stronger Connections grant will help these schools provide the supports their students need.”
Schools develop School Strengthening Work Plans in partnership with their assigned clinical specialists provided by the DC Department of Behavioral Health as part of the School Behavioral Health Expansion Program. The work plans explain how schools will provide mental and behavioral health supports to students with a multi-tiered structure that is responsive to the specific needs of their schools and students.
Examples of projects to be funded with the Stronger Connections grant include:
- improving data systems to track all students’ needs;
- providing training and curriculums in response to specific youth needs;
- professional learning for staff to improve school climate, such as trauma-informed and trauma-sensitive practices, restorative justice practices, and family engagement;
- purchasing social-emotional learning curriculums;
- and creating emotional regulation spaces in school buildings.
The following 12 LEAs have been awarded grant funds:
|Hope Community Academy
To learn more about the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Stronger Connections grant, visit OSSE’s website.