Cook Center for Human Connection Offers up to $100,000 in Matching Grants for School Calm Rooms

Salt Lake City — The Cook Center for Human Connection, a nonprofit dedicated to mental health and suicide prevention, launched today at the Mental Health Summit, co-hosted with the America Association of School Administrators, the Calm Room Grant to enable schools to create an in-school safe space for students to reset when they feel anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, angry, or frustrated.

The Cook Center is offering a nationwide matching grant of up to $5,000 per school for up to 20 schools to create a Calm Room in their building. A calm room is a supportive therapeutic environment for students to go where they can focus on self-calming efforts and learn to self-regulate their bodies and their emotions. An important component of an overall mental health approach, calm rooms feature quiet spaces with low-stimulation decor and fixtures, soft furniture and carpet, and other materials that reduce stress and foster positive coping techniques.

“More and more schools are developing calm rooms as part of a strategy to improve student well-being based on new psychological research,” said Cook Center CEO Anne Brown. “We are thrilled to offer the grant program to expand these efforts to more schools across the country and help them address student mental health, which has become one of the most critical issues of our time.”…Read More

NWEA Shares Progress on Using AI to Identify and Remove Barriers Within Mathematics for Students with Visual Impairment

Portland, OR –   NWEA, a not-for-profit, research and educational services organization serving K-12 students, today announced progress it has made toward creating an accessible and equitable math assessment for middle school students with visual impairments.

Last October, NWEA was awarded an  AI for Accessibility grant from Microsoft. The project, led by research manager, Dr. Elizabeth Barker, in collaboration with  Perkins Access  Digital Accessibility Consulting, the Governor Morehead School, and two key local experts: Sonja Steinbach, a math educator who works with students with visual impairments, and Neil Soiffer, an accessibility mathematics developer, aimed to create accessible assessment formats. NWEA has chosen to tackle this important challenge, wanting to ensure students with visual impairments benefit from accessible math and have equal opportunities in their studies.

Seventy-five percent of students who are blind or low vision are at  least one grade behind their peers. This is due to many access barriers that contribute to the lack of accessible math education. Classroom materials are not always adapted to formats such as braille, large print, materials suitable for a screen reader, auditory input, or a combination of these designs. Creating accessible formats for students with visual impairments is important for their learning and success, which is why NWEA is committed to addressing such barriers through the work of this grant.…Read More

Education Arm of The Buck Institute – PBLWorks – Receives a $2.9 Million Grant from the Bezos Family Foundation

Novato, California – The Buck Institute for Education (dba PBLWorks) was awarded a $2.9 million grant from the Bezos Family Foundation to design an innovative social studies and civics curriculum that uses a Project Based Learning (PBL) model. The new PBL units are being designed for teachers of grades 4-12 and will be available free as Open Educational Resources (OER). 

The curriculum units are being designed with teachers in Colorado and California, in collaboration with experts in culturally-responsive teaching, and with a curriculum design team at the Buck Institute for Education (BIE).

The project draws on recent studies published and supported by Lucas Education Research (LER), a subdivision of the George Lucas Education Foundation (GLEF), which underscore the impact that PBL, professional development, and high-quality instructional materials can have on student outcomes across grade levels, racial/ethnic groups, and socioeconomic groups.…Read More

ClassTag Awards $10,000 Community Engagement Grant

August 2, 2022 – NEW YORK: As schools and families prepare for back-to-school, ClassTag is announcing the winning district of its Community Engagement Grant, who received $10,000 in funding.

Since launching The Community Engagement Grant in June 2022, ClassTag has received 65 passionate, compelling submissions on how school districts across the country have emerged out of the pandemic to build trust and strong relationships with their community. As part of the application, leaders were asked to share the creative ways they have engaged their community and the impact this additional funding can have. Initiatives shared as part of the applications offer diverse and creative perspectives on how to tackle the most pressing issues facing school communities across the country, however the opportunities remain consistent and span across
the following five areas:

  • Equity and Accessibility
  • Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health
  • Family Education Programs
  • Partnerships with Local Organizations and Businesses
  • A Unified Communication System

After much deliberation, the ClassTag team has selected the winner – Lexington City Schools, a suburban district in North Carolina serving over three thousand students.…Read More

Reaching the 4Cs with 3D and virtual reality

I thought I was ahead of the times when I acquired virtual reality headsets and other
mixed reality technology via a grant award in late 2019. The pandemic shutdowns halted my plans to use the acquired virtual reality headsets for virtual field trips and other STEM investigations. Returning to in-person learning just six months later, the prospect of utilizing this tech for meaningful integration seemed more daunting and less appealing.

Feedback from my students revealed that they had already consumed hours of 360° views while gaming on their home computers and were well versed in digital travel because teachers frequently used video tours as engagement tools during the pandemic.

To overcome my discouragement, I recalled that in 2020, Natale et al. published a review of recent research related to learning with virtual reality and concluded that VR is not as impactful on learning when done with non-immersive tools such as the Chromebooks students were issued when they were forced into distance learning. …Read More

South Carolina Department of Education Partners with Vector Solutions to Help Districts Address Student Safety and Mental Health Issues such as Bullying and Anxiety

Tampa, FL – July 14, 2022 – The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) has partnered with Vector Solutions to provide all school districts in the state with free access to Vector’s library of Student Safety & Wellness Courses. The partnership includes courses with short, engaging web-based video lessons covering essential safety and emotional wellness topics. It is funded through $50,000 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds and an additional $30,000 included as part of a U.S. Department of Education grant.

“Anxiety, depression, trauma, bullying, and other behavioral health challenges can have a negative impact on school climate and student success. The SCDE is providing this on-demand virtual resource as a way to help students better understand and respond to such challenges,” said Dr. Sabrina Moore, director of the Office for Student Intervention Services for SCDE. “We believe this resource will be a valuable tool for schools as they continue working to address the mental and behavioral needs of students.”

Vector Solutions is the leading provider of training and software solutions to help schools make their operations and communities safer, smarter, and better. The courses help schools promote discussion and awareness around these critical challenges that many young people face. The courses, which are available in modules for students in grades 6-8 and grades 9-12, include:…Read More

Fill personnel gaps with federal grants

Hiring additional reading and math coaches, counselors, school psychologists, and other support staff is a key strategy for meeting students’ academic and social-emotional learning needs.

When school systems use federal funding for personnel expenses, they must have a plan in place for tracking and reporting the time and effort that employees spend on grant-funded activities to protect current and future student support funding.

Join eSchool News and a panel of experts, including Kecia Ray, Ed.D, and Janet Hagood of Jefferson County Schools, to learn best practices and key strategies for completing this process successfully in your own district.…Read More

How federal grants can help staff your schools

Using federal funding for personnel expenses can seem daunting, but it can in fact be manageable with the right knowledge and tools in place.

Hiring additional reading and math coaches, counselors, school psychologists, and other support staff is a key strategy for meeting students’ academic and social-emotional learning needs.

When school systems use federal funding for personnel expenses, they must have a plan in place for tracking and reporting the time and effort that employees spend on grant-funded activities to protect current and future student support funding.…Read More

Dollar General Literacy Foundation Makes Nearly $5 Million Investment in Literacy Solutions Following New Research Report

Goodlettsville, Tennessee – March 31, 2022 – The Dollar General Literacy Foundation (DGLF) announced a commitment of approximately $5 million in grants to five national organizations working to address the critical literacy needs identified in its new State of American Literacy Report released today. The grant recipients, including Save the Children, The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, DonorsChoose, Discovery Education and the Children’s Defense Fund, are focused on advancing literacy instruction and access, developing learning tools and technology and providing professional development for instructors.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has set back many in their education and literacy learning efforts and threatens to deepen the literacy crisis,” said Denine Torr, executive director of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and vice president of corporate social responsibility at Dollar General. “We know the devastating impacts of low literacy on an individual’s quality of life – limiting opportunities for advancement in the workforce, access to higher education, engagement in civic activity, and even effects on health. Through our research we are better able to understand the needs of the field and empower teachers, students and communities to harness the power of literacy and education at this critical juncture.”

State of American Literacy Report Findings…Read More