Pasadena Unified Receives Two Grants From the U.S. Department of Education to Transform School Climate

Anti-Bullying Public Service Announcement and New Anonymous Tipping by Text Message Part of District’s Recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month in October

Published : Monday, October 13, 2014 | 7:36 PM

The Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD) has received a 2014 School Climate Transformation Grant and a Project AWARE Grant from the U.S. Department of Education worth $2.1 million over the next five years.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the School Climate Transformation grants to school districts provide more than $35.8 million to 71 school districts in 23 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The funds will be used to develop, enhance, or expand systems of support for implementing evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral frameworks for improving behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for students. The goals of the program are to connect children, youths, and families to appropriate services and supports; improve conditions for learning and behavioral outcomes for school-aged youths; and increase awareness of and the ability to respond to mental-health issues among school-aged youths.

“If we can’t help protect kids and staff, and make them feel safe at school, then everything else that we do is secondary,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “If kids don’t feel safe, they can’t learn. It’s that simple. Through these grants of more than $70 million, we are continuing our commitment to ensure that kids have access to the best learning experience possible.”

One hundred school districts received the Department of Health and Human Services’ Project AWARE grants, including 29 of the Department of Education grantees. The purpose of this program is to assist local educational agencies to begin to support the training of school personnel and other adults who interact with youth in both school settings and communities to detect and respond to mental illness in children and youth, including how to encourage adolescents and their families experiencing these problems to seek treatment.

Both grants are part of President Obama’s “Now is the Time” plan to protect children and communities by reducing gun violence (http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/wh_now_is_the_time_full.pdf). With the funds, PUSD will continue its support of Behavioral Response to Intervention, increase access to social-emotional curriculum, provide students with mental health first aid, and offer programs such as the Safe School Ambassadors/Anti-Bullying program, Too Good for Drugs curriculum, and Student Aggression Replacement Training. The grants will be administered by PUSD’s office of Child Welfare, Attendance and Safety. The district will receive $500,000 in the first year of the grant.

The district’s announcement of these grants coincides with October being National Bullying Prevention Month. As part of efforts to combat bullying, the district’s television station KLRN Pasadena and PUSD high school students produced a video about the impacts of bullying on students (http://youtu.be/s2pmXimJynQ). Students, staff and community can now anonymously report bullying or threats by texting the phrase “tip PUSD” and a description of the incident to 888777 or by clicking on the anonymous tipping button at www.pusd.us. Additionally, the PUSD Board of Education passed a resolution supporting National Bullying Prevention Month at its October 9th meeting.

 

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