Back in September, the Governor signed into law Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Fund: Learning Communities for School Success. This program takes savings from Proposition 47 and creates a grant program for school districts to implement research-based strategies to improve school climate and mitigate the school-to-prison pipeline.
The focus of these grants is to support “evidence-based, non-punitive programs and practices to keep the state’s most vulnerable students in school.” Using a community schools approach – integrating comprehensive services into schools through community partnerships – is explicitly named as an eligible strategy. Districts interested in launching a community school initiative should consider applying.
For districts that are ready for deeper dives into more targeted strategies, the list of eligible activities also includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Strategies to improve attendance and reduce chronic absenteeism
- Restorative practices, restorative justice models, or other programs to improve retention rates, reduce suspensions, and reduce student contact with law enforcement agencies
- Social-emotional learning, positive behavior interventions and supports, culturally responsive practices, and trauma-informed strategies
The California Department of Education (CDE) will be administering the grant program. The request for proposals is expected to be released in early 2017. Local education agencies (school districts, county offices of education, or charter schools) may apply for a grant. Funding levels are still being determined, but we know that grants will be for three years of funding. Grant recipients must make a matching expenditure of cash or in-kind contributions that equal at least 20 percent of the total grant awarded.
There are some good reasons to get started early in planning for your application. The RFP is expected to come out in early 2017 – January or February at the latest. And because funds must be expended in the current fiscal year, we are anticipating a quick turnaround time. In addition, planning timelines will be compressed as grant recipients will be required to align their funded strategies with their goals in their local control accountability plan (LCAP).
Who will receive these grants?
In selecting grant recipients, CDE will give priority to LEAs based on the following criteria:
- High rates of chronic absenteeism, out-of-school suspension, and school dropout
- Located in a community with a high crime rate
- Have a significant representation of foster youth among its pupil enrollment
Get started now:
Based on these priorities, we encourage you to start your proposal planning process now so that you’re ready to go when the RFP comes out in the new year.
- Gather your relevant student and neighborhood data.
- Think about which strategies will make the biggest impact for your vulnerable student populations.
- Think about which of your community partners can help to implement your strategy.
- If you need additional assistance in thinking through how this grant can be most useful to your students, please contact us and we’ll help you or connect you to an organization that can.
For more information, contact Deanna Niebuhr at Partnership for Children & Youth: Deanna@partnerforchildren.org or 510-830-4200 x1605.
The above information was provided by Children Now. Click here for their summary.