School Climate Transformation Grant
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In October 2014, the Iowa Department of Education was awarded a five year, 9.6 million dollar federal grant, the State Education Agency (SEA) Now Is the Time Project Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE) federal grant through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA). At the same time, the Iowa Department of Education was awarded a complimentary federal grant, the SEA School Climate Transformation grant through the U.S. Department of Education. Both grants were a part of the Now Is the Time federal initiative to make schools safer and increase youth and children’s access to mental health services and supports.
SEA Now Is the Time Project AWARE Iowa Grant
Five year grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA)
- Goal 1: Increase awareness of mental health issues
- Goal 2: Train school and agency staff to recognize potential risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health problems through the Youth Mental Health First Aid Program
- Goal 3: Help target LEAs (Davenport, Sioux City, & Waterloo) effectively implement systems to: (1) identify students early, (2) refer students to appropriate behavioral health supports, and (3) monitor student progress to ensure the supports are effective
In addition to the SEA Project AWARE grant, Iowa was also awarded four Local Education Agency (LEA) Project AWARE grants in Des Moines, Fort Dodge, Marshalltown and West Sioux, and one Project AWARE Community grant in Mason City, Iowa.
In addition to the SEA School Climate Transformation grant, Iowa was also awarded two LEA School Climate Transformation Grants in Des Moines CSD and Fort Dodge CSD.
Here is a map identifying the grant communities: Project AWARE and SCT Grantee Map
Background on the School Climate Transformation Grant
In 2014, the Iowa Department of Education was one of 12 states awarded a 5-year federal School Climate Transformation Grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The purpose of the Iowa School Climate Transformation Grant is to develop, enhance, or expand the statewide systems of support for, and technical assistance to, local educational agencies and schools implementing an evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral framework for improving behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for all students.
This work is a component of the Iowa Department of Education’s Learning Supports efforts to positively impact Safe/Healthy/Caring Learning Environments in Iowa’s schools.
Research demonstrates that the implementation of an evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral framework, such as positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS), can help improve overall school climate and safety. A key aspect of this multi-tiered approach is providing differing levels of support and interventions to students based on their needs. Certain supports involve the whole school (e.g., consistent rules, consequences, and reinforcement of appropriate behavior), with more intensive supports for groups of students exhibiting at-risk behavior (different term than at-risk?) and individualized services for students who continue to exhibit troubling behavior.
The Goals of the School Climate Transformation Grant
The goal for this project focuses on implementing and sustaining a Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports (MTSS) for behavior to improve school climate and behavior outcomes for all students.
There are two main goals for the Iowa School Climate Transformation Grant:
- To build capacity at the Iowa Department of Education, in partnership with the Area Education Agencies, to implement and sustain a Multi-tiered System of Supports for behavior for improving school climate and social-emotional-behavioral outcomes for all students.
- To build capacity at the local school district level to implement and sustain a Multi-tiered System of Supports for behavior for improving climate and social-emotional-behavioral outcomes for all students.
Under this program, grant funds will help build capacity to develop and adopt, or expand to more schools, a multi-tiered framework that guides the selection, integration, and implementation of the best evidence-based social-emotional-behavioral practices for improving school climate and outcomes for all students through professional development; systematic statewide coaching; development and use of appropriate tools; efficient data collection; a well-defined data analysis process; accurate identification of students needing supports beyond the Universal level; and team-based evaluation of intervention efforts.
Collaboration with other Iowa Initiatives
The work of the School Climate Transformation Grant is a coordinated effort with the Iowa Now is the Time: Project AWARE Grant (link to PA page) and Iowa Statewide Positive Behavior Intervention Supports. This collaborative effort focuses on creating a multi-tiered system of behavioral supports that includes systems to promote and support mental health for all students to provide for effective multi-tiered mental health promotion for all students. In addition, the work of the SCTG includes on-going engagement with the Iowa Statewide Positive Behavior Intervention Supports.
School Climate Transformation Grant Sites
Districts selected to participate in the State Education Agency School Climate Transformation Grant include:
- Charter Oak-Ute
- Mason City
- Sioux City
- West Liberty
- West Monona
- West Sioux
Other sites throughout Iowa received direct School Climate Transformation and /or Project AWARE grants as well.