School & District Management Opinion

School Improvement RFP of the Week (1)

By Marc Dean Millot — January 29, 2008 3 min read
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Federal Safe Schools/Healthy Students ProgramFrom the January 28 issue of K-12Leads and Youth Service Markets Report

Announcement: Safe Schools/Healthy Students Program Due March 14 (Jan 24) U.S. Department of Education

Their Description:

The Safe Schools/Healthy Students program (SS/HS) supports the implementation and enhancement of integrated, comprehensive community-wide plans that create safe and drug-free schools and promote healthy childhood development....

[W]e consider only applications that.... (support) projects of local educational agencies (LEAs) proposing to implement an integrated, comprehensive community-wide plan designed to create safe, respectful, and drug-free school environments and promote prosocial skills and healthy childhood development. Plans must focus activities, curricula, programs, and services in a manner that responds to the community’s existing needs, gaps, or weaknesses in areas related to the five comprehensive plan elements:

Element One—Safe School Environments and Violence Prevention Activities.

Element Two—Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Prevention Activities.

Element Three—Student Behavioral, Social, and Emotional Supports.

Element Four—Mental Health Services.

Element Five—Early Childhood Social and Emotional Learning Programs.

[W]e give priority to applications from LEAs that have not yet received a grant under this program as an applicant or as a member of a consortium....

An applicant’s request for funding must not exceed the following maximum amounts, based on student enrollment data, for any of the project’s four 12-month budget periods: $2,250,000 for an LEA with at least 35,000 students; $1,500,000 for an LEA with at least 5,000 students but fewer than 35,000 students; and $750,000 for an LEA with fewer than 5,000 students....

Each applicant must include in its application a preliminary MOA that is signed by the authorized representatives of the LEA, the local juvenile justice agency, the local law enforcement agency, and the local public mental health authority—the required SS/HS partners....

Additionally, the preliminary MOA must.... (d) Describe how multiple and diverse sectors of the community, including parents and students, have been and will continue to be involved in the design, implementation, and continuous improvement of the project; and (e) Include, as an attachment, a logic model (a graphic representation of the project in chart format) that identifies needs or gaps and connects those needs or gaps with corresponding project goals, objectives, activities, partners’ roles, outcomes, and outcome measures for each of the SS/HS elements.

My Thoughts: The nonacademic, social aspects of public education agencies’ in loco parentis function are beginning to multiply, coalesce and receive greater funding. The areas of student life run from the immediate life-threatening risks of violence, drug use, and disaster to life choices around exercise, eating habits and sexual activity.

Teaching and learning in the academic sense is the core function of public schools. In these other arenas schools have special responsibilities but no unique claim to expertise or capacity. However, youth are congregated in schools and a good portion of what students need to know and be able to do here can not only be taught, but integrated with traditional academics.

These programs will become more important. Over time they hold some prospect of bringing the social services, health care, police, juvenile justice, emergency planning, and recreational agencies budget to bear on youth in a less haphazard way than today. School improvement providers should be thinking about gaining a toehold in this emerging market segment.

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