Oklahoma State University Receives $1.2 Million Education Grant …

It’s been 30 years since the day that changed Gene Bray’s life, but the memory is still as clear as the day it happened.

Cohoes, Lansingburgh schools share federal grant to aid homeless students


Capital Region

Two Capital Region school districts were awarded a $60,000 federal grant to team up in the coming school years and improve academic outcomes for their homeless students.

The Cohoes City School District and Lansingburgh Central School District — while in separate counties and on opposite sides of the Hudson River — often serve the same homeless population, district officials said. Because Cohoes strictly enforces state-set occupancy limits that prohibit too many people from living in the same rental property, families who wind up homeless in the Albany County city often end up moving to the other side of the river in Lansingburgh.

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with our neighbors across the river to ensure that these students are assisted during a difficult and uncertain time,” said Cohoes Superintendent Jennifer Spring. “The grant will help us alleviate the unique barriers these students face.”

The federal McKinney-Vento grant, named for the 1987 act governing the education of homeless children, is good for three years and will be used to improve the enrollment, attendance and academic outcomes of the districts’ homeless students.

Together, the districts serve nearly 200 homeless children, with about 105 at the elementary level, 54 at the middle school level and 41 at the high school level.

About $40,000 of the grant will be used to purchase Google Chromebooks, software licenses and classroom supplies for the students, as well as to provide transportation to and from after-school learning programs in both Cohoes and Lansingburgh. The grant will also fund an after-hours open media center for parents to access computers within their home district.

Another $20,000 will be used to cover professional development and books for staff from both districts to become trained in teaching students with “adverse childhood experiences” — a phrase health experts and sociologists use to describe traumatic events that can leave lasting, negative effects on a person’s wellbeing.

This builds on work Cohoes was already doing in the 2015-16 school year to become a trauma-sensitive school district, a designation that’s gaining steam across the nation as school leaders work to better serve students with trauma in their background. Schools with this designation often trade in their zero-tolerance discipline policies for interventions that address the root cause of what’s driving bad behavior, like stresses at home or chronic hunger.

Both Cohoes and Lansingburgh have high rates of poverty. In the 2014-15 school year, 69 percent of students at Cohoes and 59 percent of students at Lansingburgh qualified for free or reduced-price lunch, a key poverty indicator.

Funding for the grant comes from the U.S. Department of Education, through the Education of Homeless Children and Youth Program. The federal government is shoring up its outreach to homeless students this year with new regulations requiring school districts to track and report the graduation rates of their homeless students. The goal is to identify gaps and districts in need of improvement.

bbump@timesunion.com518-454-5387@bethanybump

Wolfe’s Neck Farm Foundation lands $573256 federal grant

Wolfe’s Neck Farm Foundation Inc. has been awarded a $573,256 federal grant to support the expansion of its fledgling Organic Dairy Farmer Training Program at the Freeport farm.

The grant was announced this week by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. It will be paid out over three years and allow Wolfe’s Neck to increase the number of apprentices in the two-year Organic Dairy Farmer Training Program from four to eight. When the program launched in 2015, it was funded by $1.7 million from Stonyfield, the organic yogurt producer. Stonyfield picks up milk from Wolfe’s Neck every other day and trucks it to New Hampshire for processing.

The U.S. Department of Agricultuee grant will also be used to fund the expansion of the program to other farms in New England. Wolfe’s Neck’s dairy program is partnered with a Wisconsin-based group called the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, which helps train future dairy farmers on 40 “Master” farms throughout Wisconsin and into other states including Minnesota.

Wolfe’s Neck is the lone East Coast farm in the group and the nonprofit’s executive director, David Herring, welcomed the opportunity to bring the apprenticeship model to other farms throughout New England. As news of the grant spread, Herring’s phone started ringing.

“I’ve already been contacted by four farms, three in Vermont and one in Massachusetts, that are interested in becoming Master farms,” Herring said. “It is really encouraging.”

The dairy business has struggled in Maine, with the number of working farms cut in half in the last 20 years. Encouragingly, the number of organic dairy farms is on the rise. Herring said there are about 55 organic dairies in Maine. But still, there are only about 250 dairies left in Maine, and many of them are run by older farmers who are having trouble finding anyone to take over their businesses. A program like the one in Freeport brings new life into the industry.

The grant will allow Wolfe’s Neck to hire an education coordinator for the program to develop partnerships with farms throughout the region.

“Then they would be providing on-site support for the master farm and the apprentices,” Herring said. “We will essentially become the New England regional hub for the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, developing partnerships with grazing dairies throughout the region and providing the farms with the support they need to bring on apprentices and assist in training the next generation. This is a very big deal for Maine and New England.”


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US Department of Education Announces New Pay for Success Grant Competition for Preschool

The U.S. Department of Education announced today the availability of $2.8 million for a Preschool Pay for Success grant competition for state, local and tribal governments interested in exploring the feasibility of Pay for Success to expand and improve early learning. The feasibility studies will determine if this model is an effective strategy to implement preschool programs that are high-quality and yield meaningful results.

“We have made great strides in improving the quality of early learning and expanding access through investments like the Preschool Development Grants and the Race to the Top—Early Learning Challenge grants,” U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. said. “Yet, we need to build on these efforts and do more for our nation’s youngest learners. These new grants are one way to answer the question of how we can do a better job to make sure we provide access to high-quality preschool and ensure it’s available to our kids most at risk. It also provides an opportunity to focus on long-term evidence of effectiveness and to bring in our state and local partners, along with private and philanthropic investments, to test new ideas, develop new solutions, improve the quality of early learning and further improve outcomes for our most vulnerable children.”

Goals of the Pilot

The grant program supports initiatives which are based on evidence; focus on outcomes; and improve early, elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, while generating savings for taxpayers. The studies will identify a broad range of measures designed to demonstrate improved student outcomes; potential cost savings to school districts, local governments and states; and general benefits to society.

Potential outcome measures may include:

  • Kindergarten readiness
  • Later improved social and emotional skills
  • Improved executive functioning
  • Reduction in grade retention and in the need for later special education
  • Reduction in discipline referrals, and interactions with law enforcement
  • Increases in high school graduation.

The ultimate aim of the pilot is to improve early learning outcomes through a future high-quality Pay for Success project by providing grants for feasibility studies. However, the pilot does not fund the implementation of preschool services. Preschool programs that are the focus of these feasibility studies must be inclusive of children with disabilities and the Pilot will also establish safeguards to protect the rights of children with disabilities to ensure that they receive the services they need.

The completed studies will be shared publicly to help other communities interested in pursuing this work to decide if it is right for them.

What is Pay for Success?

Across the country, interest continues to grow in the Pay for Success model for preschool financing. The model leverages philanthropic and private dollars—through innovative contracting and financing—that seek to test and advance promising and proven interventions, while paying only for successful impacts and outcomes for families, children, and communities.

Through a Pay for Success project, a government or other entity enters into a contract to pay a service provider for the achievement of concrete, measurable outcomes for specific people or communities. Service providers deliver interventions to achieve these outcomes and payments are made only if the interventions achieve those outcomes agreed upon in advance.

Communities where it is difficult or not possible to secure new or additional government resources may choose to pursue a preschool Pay for Success project as a short-term strategy to finance the immediate costs of providing preschool services or as one strategy to promote more effective investments of public dollars. A feasibility study is an important first step to establish whether Pay for Success is a viable opportunity that will provide benefits to the community.

However, while these innovative strategies are important, they are not a substitute for local, state and federal support for large-scale expansion of early education.

Funding for Pay for Success

The pilot is funded through FY16 Preschool Development Grant program, which is jointly administered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There will be between 7 and 14 grantees, with awards ranging from $200,000 to $400,000.

Invest in the future

Expanding access to high-quality early education is among the smartest investments that we can make as a country. That’s why over the last three years, President Obama has called upon Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool for every child in America, proposing investments that support a continuum of early learning opportunities, beginning at birth and continuing to age five. His 2017 budget proposal includes expanding high-quality early learning programs through two key programs:

  • $350 million for Preschool Development Grants, an increase of $100 million over the FY 2016 funding level, to help states lay the foundation for universal public preschool.

  • $75 billion over 10 years for the Preschool for All proposal to provide universal high-quality preschool programs for all 4-year-olds from low- and moderate-income families.

High-quality preschool is a critical means of expanding educational equity and opportunity by giving every child a strong start. Studies show that attending high-quality early education can result in children building a solid foundation for achieving the academic, health and social outcomes that are of benefit to individual families and to the country as a whole. Children who attend these programs are more likely to do well in school, find good jobs and succeed in their careers than those who don’t. And they are less likely to drop out of high school, have interactions with the criminal justice system or experience teen pregnancy. Research has shown that taxpayers receive a high average return on investments in high-quality early childhood education relative to a number of other interventions—particularly those made later in a child’s development—with savings in areas like improved educational outcomes, increased labor productivity and a reduction in crime.

Application Information:

The Notice Inviting Applications for the pilot is available in the Federal Register. The deadline for submitting an intent to apply notice is Sept. 12, 2016, and applications are due on Oct. 6, 2016. Grants will be awarded before Dec. 31, 2016.

Southeastern’s Educational Opportunity Center grant renewed

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced that Southeastern Oklahoma State University has received a $500,720 (2016-17) grant to continue the Educational Opportunity Centers (EOC) program.

Educational Opportunity Centers are one of eight grant programs collectively known as the Federal TRIO Programs. These programs identify and provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. They assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, veterans, military-connected students, and individuals with disabilities to progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to post-baccalaureate programs.

The Southeastern EOC serves 1,620 individuals annually.

The TRIO programs hosted at Southeastern are Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math/Science, Texoma Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search, Student Support Services, Educational Opportunity Centers, and Project: TEACH. Combined, the TRIO programs at Southeastern serve 3,149 students annually, and have successfully met their mandatory objectives each year since the first program (Upward Bound) began in 1966.

Teriki Barnes serves as director of the Educational Opportunity Center at Southeastern.

In all, the Department of Education awarded $48 million in grants to 143

colleges and organizations in 42 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The grants provide readily accessible college guidance to adults who may not otherwise quickly decipher the steps needed for college admissions and continued success through graduation.

EOC grants, five years in duration, assist adults in gaining the skills necessary for pursuing postsecondary credentials.

Participants are connected to tutors, mentors and counselors for guidance on admission, financial aid and postsecondary course selection. For those who may not have finished high school, help is offered on secondary school re-entry or high school equivalency exam programs – or other alternative education programs.

EOC projects also provide services to students traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, including students with disabilities, limited English proficiency, and other disadvantaged groups, such as those who may be homeless, exiting foster care or otherwise disconnected.

Submitted by SE.

By SE University Communications

Baltimore schools vying for federal funding to boost mental health …

The Baltimore school system has applied for a federal grant that would funnel up to $2.3 million for mental health services to 13 schools in West Baltimore.

The Promoting Student Resilience grant is designed to help school systems address the behavioral and mental health needs of students in communities that have experienced significant civil unrest in the past two years.

The school district, in partnership with the Health Department and several other city agencies, submitted its application last month to the U.S. Department of Education.

The schools that would benefit are in Upton-Druid Heights, Penn North and Sandtown-Winchester, neighborhoods that were most affected by the protests and riots last year after the death of Freddie Gray. Gray, 25, died in April 2015 after suffering a severe spinal cord injury in police custody.

In first 'State of Schools' address, Baltimore schools new CEO issues call to action to entire city

In first ‘State of Schools’ address, Baltimore schools new CEO issues call to action to entire city

Sonja Santelises wandered into a private room of a Baltimore funeral home a few weeks ago where she found a group of black teenage boys mourning the murder of their 15-year-old friend.

Santelises, the incoming CEO of city schools, recalled that moment to a roomful of hundreds of rapt fellow educators…

Sonja Santelises wandered into a private room of a Baltimore funeral home a few weeks ago where she found a group of black teenage boys mourning the murder of their 15-year-old friend.

Santelises, the incoming CEO of city schools, recalled that moment to a roomful of hundreds of rapt fellow educators…

(Erica L. Green)

The grant supports efforts to help teachers better understand and educate highly traumatized and troubled students.

“That doesn’t mean third-grade teachers have to become licensed clinicians,” Santelises said.

School officials want to increase the number of clinicians and mental health screenings for students and launch stress-reduction and mindfulness groups.

“This is nothing more that young people in other communities have access to already, through insurance or other connections,” Santelises said.

The schools grant aligns with a Resiliency in Communities after Stress and Trauma grant being sought by the city Health Department. That grant would focus on the same three communities.

Baltimore schools considering new academic standards for athletes

Baltimore schools considering new academic standards for athletes

The Baltimore school board is considering requiring students to maintain a GPA of at least a 1.75, or a C-, in order to play on an interscholastic sports team.

The policy, which would take effect in the 2017-2018 school year, would establish the first minimum GPA for athletic participation in the…

The Baltimore school board is considering requiring students to maintain a GPA of at least a 1.75, or a C-, in order to play on an interscholastic sports team.

The policy, which would take effect in the 2017-2018 school year, would establish the first minimum GPA for athletic participation in the…

(Erica L. Green)

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said she wants to strengthen the relationship between her department and the school system.

“Dr. Santelises understands that in order for our children to be well, in order for our children to learn, they also need to have these underlying issues be addressed,” Wen said. “We have to bring trauma training to everyone who comes into contact with our children.”

The Baltimore Sun reported on the prevalence of trauma in city students’ lives in the 2014 series “Collateral Damage.” The series detailed how people, especially children, suffer when living in violent neighborhoods.

Promise Heights, a program of the University of Maryland School of Social Work that has partnered with the Upton-Druid Heights community, released the results of a survey last year that captured students’ experiences.

More than 200 students from Baltimore Renaissance Academy High School — where a student was accused of fatally stabbing another student last year — and Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts were surveyed.

Forty-three percent of the students said they witnessed physical violence at least once a week, and 39 percent said they knew someone who had been killed at a young age.

Forty percent said they knew someone who possessed a gun, and nearly 19 percent said they could easily get one.

erica.green@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EricaLG

Baltimore schools vying for federal funding to boost mental health resources

The Baltimore school system has applied for a federal grant that would funnel up to $2.3 million for mental health services to 13 schools in West Baltimore.

The Promoting Student Resilience grant is designed to help school systems address the behavioral and mental health needs of students in communities that have experienced significant civil unrest in the past two years.

The school district, in partnership with the Health Department and several other city agencies, submitted its application last month to the U.S. Department of Education.

The schools that would benefit are in Upton-Druid Heights, Penn North and Sandtown-Winchester, neighborhoods that were most affected by the protests and riots last year after the death of Freddie Gray. Gray, 25, died in April 2015 after suffering a severe spinal cord injury in police custody.

In first 'State of Schools' address, Baltimore schools new CEO issues call to action to entire city

In first ‘State of Schools’ address, Baltimore schools new CEO issues call to action to entire city

Sonja Santelises wandered into a private room of a Baltimore funeral home a few weeks ago where she found a group of black teenage boys mourning the murder of their 15-year-old friend.

Santelises, the incoming CEO of city schools, recalled that moment to a roomful of hundreds of rapt fellow educators…

Sonja Santelises wandered into a private room of a Baltimore funeral home a few weeks ago where she found a group of black teenage boys mourning the murder of their 15-year-old friend.

Santelises, the incoming CEO of city schools, recalled that moment to a roomful of hundreds of rapt fellow educators…

(Erica L. Green)

The grant supports efforts to help teachers better understand and educate highly traumatized and troubled students.

“That doesn’t mean third-grade teachers have to become licensed clinicians,” Santelises said.

School officials want to increase the number of clinicians and mental health screenings for students and launch stress-reduction and mindfulness groups.

“This is nothing more that young people in other communities have access to already, through insurance or other connections,” Santelises said.

The schools grant aligns with a Resiliency in Communities after Stress and Trauma grant being sought by the city Health Department. That grant would focus on the same three communities.

Baltimore schools considering new academic standards for athletes

Baltimore schools considering new academic standards for athletes

The Baltimore school board is considering requiring students to maintain a GPA of at least a 1.75, or a C-, in order to play on an interscholastic sports team.

The policy, which would take effect in the 2017-2018 school year, would establish the first minimum GPA for athletic participation in the…

The Baltimore school board is considering requiring students to maintain a GPA of at least a 1.75, or a C-, in order to play on an interscholastic sports team.

The policy, which would take effect in the 2017-2018 school year, would establish the first minimum GPA for athletic participation in the…

(Erica L. Green)

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said she wants to strengthen the relationship between her department and the school system.

“Dr. Santelises understands that in order for our children to be well, in order for our children to learn, they also need to have these underlying issues be addressed,” Wen said. “We have to bring trauma training to everyone who comes into contact with our children.”

The Baltimore Sun reported on the prevalence of trauma in city students’ lives in the 2014 series “Collateral Damage.” The series detailed how people, especially children, suffer when living in violent neighborhoods.

Promise Heights, a program of the University of Maryland School of Social Work that has partnered with the Upton-Druid Heights community, released the results of a survey last year that captured students’ experiences.

More than 200 students from Baltimore Renaissance Academy High School — where a student was accused of fatally stabbing another student last year — and Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts were surveyed.

Forty-three percent of the students said they witnessed physical violence at least once a week, and 39 percent said they knew someone who had been killed at a young age.

Forty percent said they knew someone who possessed a gun, and nearly 19 percent said they could easily get one.

erica.green@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EricaLG

Report: Over $2 million in grants in 2015-16 boosted JWCC programs – Herald

QUINCY — The John Wood Community College Board was given a report Wednesday night on the impact of $2.2 million in federal, state and private grants the college received in the last fiscal year.

Alan Prewitt, grants and compliance officer, teamed with Dave Hetzler, director of career, technical and health education strategic programs, to provide an analysis of how the grants provided educational access and service to the community in fiscal 2016.

Prewitt and Hetzler also outlined how students, local business and industry, and nonprofit organizations benefited from the grant funds.

“We have some fine programs in place,” Trustee Randy Sims said.

Among the highlights of the presentation were:

º Adult education, literacy and GED: JWCC received federal funding to serve adults seeking to improve math, language and workplace skills. The college assisted 173 adults in acquiring basic, secondary and English as a second language skills, and 30 students from Adams, Brown and Pike counties in earning a general educational credential, known as a GED.

º Volunteer Service to the Community: Federal, state and private funds helped JWCC sponsor the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, placing 881 volunteers in Adams, Brown and Pike counties. Those RSVP volunteers performed 134,698 hours of service for 126 nonprofit agencies. The volunteer hours were the equivalent of a $3.09 million investment in the community, based on the Independent Sector Value of Volunteer Time of $22.96 an hour in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.

º Student internships: The college’s state Cooperative Work Study grant subsidized half of 22 students’ internship wages at 15 area employers.

º Career and technical education: A federal grant assisted 130 students in earning nationally recognized workforce credentials. The grant also paid for robotics, hydraulics, computers, industrial controls and welding equipment.

º Workforce training: An Illinois Network of Advanced Manufacturing grant funded the creation of laddered credentials for students to pursue in precision machining, welding and industrial maintenance. As a result of the grant, 153 students earned 1,799 credit hours in manufacturing topics and 132 earned a credential.

The Mississippi River Transportation, Distribution and Logistics grant allowed JWCC to create career tracks and nationally recognized ladder programs in logistics, computer information systems and industrial maintenance. To date, 84 students have been served by this grant money, which has also provided for the purchase of equipment, workforce development center renovations and personnel.

Many of the grants are recurring federal ones. In recent years, the workforce programs have benefited greatly from grants. Hetzler said that before the influx of the Illinois Network Advanced Manufacturing grant, and the Mississippi River Transportation, Distribution and Logistics grant, funding the college’s manufacturing program was “pretty dormant.”

“Those programs would have probably shut down without those grants,” Hetzler said.

“This reflects a lot of hard work by the grant managers,” Prewitt said.

WKU Educational Opportunity Centers awarded grant to assist low-income students

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday (Aug. 17) that WKU has received a $236,900 competitive grant that will allow WKU to continue providing college admission and financial aid counseling to low-income students in several Kentucky counties. The funding was awarded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Educational Opportunity Centers TRIO grant program.

“I was pleased to work with Western Kentucky University to support this important program,” Senator McConnell said. “The funding will be used by WKU to continue to provide counseling and financial assistance to low-income students in an effort to help them overcome barriers to obtaining quality higher education and help them as they prepare to enter the workforce.”

Charlene Manco, Director of the WKU’s Educational Opportunity Centers TRIO Project, said: “The WKU Educational Opportunity Centers office (EOC) was pleased to hear of the refunding of its EOC TRIO Project for another five years. With this continued funding WKU will provide 1,000 nontraditional adults academic help for returning to the workforce each year. We know that the support provided by Senator McConnell was instrumental in this refunding. It is support from Kentucky’s political leaders and community leaders that help the project continue the vital work of assisting low-income nontraditional adults within a 10-county target area.”

The target counties are Allen, Barren, Butler, Edmonson, Hart, Logan, Metcalfe, Monroe, Simpson and Warren.

More: TRIO programs at WKU.

Contact: WKU Educational Opportunity Centers, (270) 745-4441

 

Prince George’s County’s Head Start Program Loses $6.5M Grant …

Prince George’s County’s Head Start program lost a $6.5 million federal grant after complaints of abuse and poor teacher training surfaced during an investigation.

The county’s public schools system and board of education were notified Monday that the grant was terminated due to failure to “timely correct one or more deficiencies,” a spokesperson said.

The program was apparently under a federal investigation for months after a review by the Administration for Children and Families allegedly revealed poor instructor training and alleged abuse of students.

According to the review, a teacher at the H. Winship Wheatley Early Childhood Center in Capitol Heights forced a 3-year-old boy to mop up his own urine after he had a bathroom accident during naptime on Dec. 17, 2015. 

As the child mopped the floor in urine-stained clothes, the teacher sent a photo to the boy’s parent with a caption explaining the punishment. The message included the abbreviation “LOL.” Another text sent to the parent said, “he worked that mop tho.”

The Administration for Children and Families says the punishment and texts were meant to humiliate the child and are a form of emotional abuse.

On June 15, a teacher and teacher’s assistant at James Ryder Randall Elementary School Head Start Center forced two children to hold objects over their head for an extended period of time as a punishment for their behavior. 

A witness said one of the children was crying and calling the teacher’s name, but was instructed to continue to hold the object. The other child dropped the object and was told to pick it back up, the Administration for Children and Families says.

The witness reported the incident and later asked the teacher how many minutes the children were given. The teacher replied, “Oh, probably like 5 minutes,” the report from the Administration for Children and Families says.

The review also found delays in the reporting of the incident that have since been corrected. 

In yet another incident, a five-year-old was able to wander away from the program and returned to his home, crying. According to the report, the child was unsupervised for about 50 minutes, and Head Start did not know where she was for about 75 minutes.

The child had to cross at least one street to get home, the report said.

Prince George’s County School CEO Kevin Maxwell responded to the report bluntly: “With all the work that we have done, we still have some people who we haven’t apparently gotten through to,” Maxwell said.

“What I can say is I expect our employees to behave appropriately,” Maxwell said. “And when they don’t, I am going to deal with them appropriately.”

Despite the loss of the grant, the program will begin Aug. 29 as planned.

“We are reviewing options with the Administration for Children Families regarding Head Start,” Raven Hill, a communications officer for Prince George’s County Public Schools, said in a statement.

School board members were scheduled to be briefed Wednesday morning on the next steps, which may include the use of private Head Start providers.

“Our goal is for children and families to have uninterrupted access to the Head Start program and services,” Hill said.