Caddo Parish Public Schools has been awarded a five year School Climate Transformation Grant by the U.S. Department of Education totaling more than $2.88 million. Caddo is one of only three districts in the state and 71 school systems in the country selected to receive the grant.
The School Climate Transformation Grant funds will be used to develop, enhance and expand programs that improve student behavior and better learning environments. The goals, according to U.S. Department of Education, are to connect children and families to appropriate services and supports, improve conditions that foster quality learning and behavior and increase the ability of the district to respond to student mental health issues.
Caddo’s approved plan will increase positive behavior interventions and supports to improve discipline at 10 district schools. That will include increased training at the 10 schools and will use data to track progress over the course of the grant. Additionally, all staff at those selected schools will be trained to recognize early warning signs of mental health concerns.
“I am so excited and honored to receive this school climate transformation grant,” said Dr. Barzanna White, Caddo Schools’ system phycologist and writer of the grant proposal. “This project targets 10 school sites and is designed to provide on-going professional development so that our district can build and enhance capacity of school personnel. Using a multi-tiered framework, our goal is to work collaboratively with agencies, provide effective classroom management, implement research-based intervention programs, and increase mental health awareness …in an effort to improve school climate, increase academic scores and produce students of character.”
The 10 schools benefiting from the grant encompass a cross-section of the community – with rural, urban and suburban campuses receiving the training and tools. Approximately 7,400 students will be served through the program. Schools selected are:
- Elementary: Atkins, Caddo Heights, Southern Hills and Westwood
- K-8: Keithville Elementary/Middle
- Middle: Donnie Bickham and Ridgewood
- High: Fair Park, Huntington and Northwood
The School Climate Transformation grants to school districts provide more than $35.8 million to 71 school districts in 23 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the goals of the program are to connect children, youths, and families to appropriate services and supports; improve conditions for learning and behavioral outcomes for school-aged youths; and increase awareness of and the ability to respond to mental-health issues among school-aged youths. The grants provide funding for up to five years, for a total of nearly $180 million.
The funds are made possible through Now Is The Time, a plan designed by President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden with the purpose of increasing school safety and access to mental-health services while reducing gun violence. The School Climate Transformation Grant for school districts is one of four new grants under the program totaling $70 million annually.
“If we can’t help protect kids and staff, and make them feel safe at school, then everything else that we do is secondary,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “If kids don’t feel safe, they can’t learn. It’s that simple. Through these grants of more than $70 million, we are continuing our commitment to ensure that kids have access to the best learning experience possible.”
For more information on the grant program, visit http://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/us-department-education-invests-more-70-million-improve-school-climate-and-keep-.