On October 14, 2019, the Louisiana Department of Education announced being awarded five competitive federal grants, totaling $115 million. These grants will be utilized for student and teacher support.
Louisiana Believes states the grants will be utilized towards enhancing the literacy programming and instruction; increasing mental health services for students, including those with past trauma and those who are historically at a disadvantage; help teacher earn credentials in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (also known as S.T.E.M.); and initiate a leadership program for both current and future special education administrators.
“The U.S. Department of Education continues to recognize Louisiana as a state that generates creative ideas to solve critical problems. These five new awards will support the implementation of plans to address many of our schools’ and students’ greatest challenges. We look forward to collaborating with state agencies, school systems and community partners to implement effective solutions to these pressing concerns.” says State Superintendent John White.
The grants, varying in dollar amount and length, include:
- Comprehensive Literacy State Development Grant for Student and Teacher Support
The largest grant, it totals $100 million over the span of five years. It will contribute to literacy support for schools that identify as having low academic performance across the state by helping purchase top-rated reading curricula and instructional materials, provide educators with access to professional development, provide support to students who struggle with reading, and provide evidence-based literary resources for families. Louisiana Department of Education’s goal is “to serve 600 high-needs schools and early childhood education providers, 2,000 local leaders, 9,600 teachers, and 240,000 disadvantaged children by the end of the five-year grant period.”
- Trauma Recovery Grant for Student and Teacher Support
This $7.5 million award spans 5 years and will help provide and increase mental health services in an effort to increase academic performance and decrease absence and decrease discipline rates. “The state education department will partner with the Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS) and community agencies to pay for direct mental health services for students who have experienced trauma, with a particular focus on low-income, foster, homeless, and migrant students.”
- Improving Pre-Engineering and Computer Science Education through Micro-credentialing Grant
Totaling $4 million over 4 years, the award will develop a pathway for teachers to earn certificates of expertise in STEM fields and encourage the expansion of STEM pathways in the school systems.
- Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant for Student and Teacher Support
Funding a partnership between Louisiana Believes and LSU School of Social Work, the $2.5 million award will encourage an effort to expand and strengthen the school-based mental health force over a 5 year time frame. The “Louisiana School Social Work Expansion Project” aims to provide mental health services to high-needs schools and improve the culture and climate to foster a healthy attitude and prepare students for employment and to lead fulfilling lives as responsible citizens,
- Special Education Leadership Grant for Student and Teacher Support
This award, which totals $1 million and spans 5 years, is intended to establish a “Special Education Leader Fellowship”. The fellowship will span a year and be a comprehensive development program for current and future special education leaders across Louisiana.
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