Grantee Highlights

To address factors that affect conditions for learning and impede the building and maintenance of safe and supportive learning environments (e.g., bullying, harassment, violence, substance abuse), several states and districts across the country are in the process of implementing programmatic interventions or developing initiatives to improve student outcomes. This page is designed to share highlights from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students (OSHS) grantees, in particular recipients of the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling (ESSC), Project Prevent (P2), Promoting Student Resilience (PSR), and Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) grant programs.

The Osage County Interlocal Cooperative, Oklahoma [OCIC], as part of its Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration grant initiative, Project PREPARE is recruiting, training, and coaching school psychology, counseling, and social worker interns in the provision of high quality virtual and hybrid mental health services and caseload management.

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS), as part of its Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration grant initiative, Collaborative Internship for All (CIA), is recruiting, training and coaching school counseling interns en route to placing them in high-needs school communities. In its efforts to promote CIA internally and externally, and recruit and retain graduate students, the grant team discovered that there was untapped talent among its interns.  

The School District of Philadelphia is using their Project Prevent grant to increase capacity to identify, assess, and serve students exposed to pervasive violence and help ensure that students are offered mental health services for trauma and/or anxiety. Through Project Prevent funding, they are implementing evidence-based violence prevention strategies at all three tiers within the PBIS Framework.

As an innovative adaptation to the sudden disconnection of students from their school community over the course of the past year, the student support team at Del Norte County, California schools, a Mental Health Services Professional grantee, arranged to convert its Yoga Calm, an evidence-based program, to a combination in-person/Zoom! platform.

The Public Schools of Robeson County, North Carolina [PSRC], as part of its Project SCORE (School Counseling Opportunities in Robeson Education) Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration grant, has invested creativity, collaboration, and energy to ensure strong connections for students’ families despite public health imperatives for physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The district has initiated regular family support opportunities through scheduled on-line events, and maintains open communication, in part through an electronic newsletter.

The Charleston County School District (CCSD) in South Carolina, a Project Prevent grantee, recently adopted CASEL’s Reunite, Renew, and Thrive: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Roadmap for Reopening School. As part of Critical Practice 2 of the approach (design opportunities where adults can connect, heal, and build their capacity to support students), the district committed to providing a more universal approach to adult mental health and self-care.

While preparing for Year 2 of Pennsauken Public School District’s Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant, grant co-director and school psychologist Alexandra Pensiero realized that having “an in-person presence” would be important to students in a virtual environment. Ms. Pensiero and her team created webpage on their website dedicated to Mental Health.  Within, they share general information, information about the grant, and Bitmoji classrooms for the district mental health providers and mental health interns to introduce themselves to students and to offer resources.

The Sodus Central School District’s Mental Health Demonstration (MHD) grant, as part of Wayne County Community Schools, is helping to expand the pipeline of mental health providers into rural school districts. 

Through their Rural West Texas Mental Health Educational Learning Partnership (HELP) grant, Region 15 Education Service Center in San Angelo, TX has partnered with Angelo State University (member of the Texas Tech University system) to recruit provisionally licensed school counselors from the M.S. in Professional School Counseling program for placement in 43 participating school districts in newly created positions. 

Oakland Unified School District held an African American Female Excellence Black Girl Power Conference in the fall of 2018. The OUSD superintendent’s plan prioritizes continued support for African American female excellence programming, a program that complements their multi-tiered systems of support efforts and trauma programming. 

Hornell City School District (NY) used Elementary and Secondary Education School Counseling funds to hire three additional mental health providers to support students in Kindergarten through grade 6 in three different schools. With the extra support, these schools have been able to develop Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) teams. These PBIS teams reorganized the systems and structures in place to better support students. Teams also implemented and fine-tuned preventative measures to make students feel safer and more secure in the school environment.

Charter School for Applied Technologies (NY) used Elementary and Secondary Education School Counseling funds to hire two school counselors. The counselors played an integral role in creating a school-wide positive behavioral intervention and supports (PBIS) framework. Through PBIS, students have learned to take ownership of their behavior and recognize and use strategies to support their personal challenges. During the 2016-17 school year, Charter School for Applied Technologies witnessed a notable decrease in incidents of harassment and bullying, even as enrollment has increased steadily...

Gadsden City Schools (AL), an Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grant recipient, used its grant funds to hire two counselors and two social workers. The counselors and social workers provided students with individual counseling, group counseling, and crisis intervention.  The social workers liaised between the school system and partnering agencies in the community to plan activities for students.

Corbin School District, an Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grant recipient, used its grant funding to provide mental health counseling at all its schools, especially at the primary, elementary and middle school levels. Mental health services were provided through a series of projects, including Treehouse University—a trauma informed skill building curriculum for upper elementary and middle school students who have experienced a trauma in the recent past.

Bourbon County Schools, an Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grant recipient, provides its students with a series of mental health services and supports using grant funding. These services include individual and group sessions, addressing intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships with peers and adults, academics, managing stressful and inter-familial challenges, and bullying prevention.

Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative, a Project Prevent grant recipient, has used their funds to implement an online mental and behavioral health program called Ripple Effects for middle school students. The program provides interactive modules that teach students how to cope with and take action confronting mental and behavioral health issues, including bullying, sexual harassment, child abuse, depression, drug abuse, eating disorders, and suicide.

El Rancho Unified School District (CA), an Elementary and Secondary School Counseling (ESSC) grant recipient, used their ESSC funds to hire eight school-based mental health counselors (i.e. school social workers), provide all school sites professional development on early warning signs of students with mental health concerns, and establish a district-wide referral process known as ACCESS. The ACCESS process pairs screened students with mental health counselors directly at the school site.

Oxnard School District, an Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grant recipient, provides mental health services to students and families living within the most underserved areas of Ventura County, California through Acción Positiva. The program is coordinated by Chris Ridge, the District’s Director of Pupil Services and utilizes a partnership between Oxnard School District and New Dawn counseling services, a local mental health services provider.

The Lansing School District’s Project Prevent grant (Project PEACE), under the Office of Culture, is providing a series of four professional development sessions on trauma-sensitive schools. The series will focus on developing a safe and supportive environment for students who have been exposed to traumatic/toxic stress.

Murrieta Valley Unified School District, an Elementary and Secondary School Counseling grant recipient, won the 2017 H.P. McDaniel Foundation Group Award for their development of R.A.I.N. Elementary Counseling. Counselors in this district developed a model comprehensive program and completed significant research resulting in a major impact for the counseling field in the state of California. R.A.I.N. stands for:

Baltimore City Schools is utilizing its Promoting Student Resilience grant to establish a cohesive response to youth mental health needs, particularly in relation to trauma. Grant funds have been used to hire a trauma manager and trainers, and to provide a mandatory learning module on trauma-informed practices to all school teachers and staff. This article provides an overview of Baltimore City’s need for this work and its efforts to more effectively address the mental health needs of students. 

Buncombe County Schools identified evidence-based strategies to improve social and emotional skills in students, and a reliable way to assess students skills, in an effort to close achievement gaps among their students. Their social and emotional curriculum included Second Step, Mindful Schools, and the Compassionate Schools framework. Schools used the Devereux Student Strengths Assessment to measure students' social-emotional competencies and the impact of social and emotional skills interventions.

An Erlanger School District elementary school counseling team is featured in a case study, sponsored by the American School Counseling Association, to demonstrate their exemplary program promoting college and career readiness (CCR). The case study examines how this school's collaborative approach for implementing a CCR curriculum unit, Operation Occupation, for fifth grade students promotes student knowledge and skills related to CCR. These skills include awareness of occupations, financial responsibilities, and career goal setting.

Series builds off of last year’s Trauma Trainings for Educators that included an introduction to understanding Compassion Fatigue. This series will utilize reflective practices, videos, exercises, and collegial support to help teachers manage the challenges of this work while holding in mind each educator’s unique gifts and wisdom.

Contains Oakland Unified School Districts (OUSD) Restorative Justice Toolkit which informs their districts discipline matrix.

Provides the history of restorative practices in Milwaukee Public Schools and examples (with videos), of successful implementation of restorative practices in their schools. Restorative practices is part of Milwaukee's strategy for creating a healthy and connected school community.

Provides Hillsborough County Public School’s Multi-tiered System of Supports - Response to Intervention (MTSS-RtI) Department- with a framework and process to ensure students have an opportunity to receive multi-tiered instruction/interventions within the general education environment with fidelity. The district’s framework incorporates a problem solving process for ensuring quality instruction and school-wide behavior supports are delivered to ALL students.

Presents a video, created by the Elk Grove Unified School District, on the experience and successes of schools under Project GROW, an Elementary and Secondary School Counseling Grant program. The program uses a multi-tiered approach to address behavioral issues and provide developmentally appropriate interventions to students so that they can develop the skills to succeed in the instructional environment.

Presents findings for Michigan's Safe and Supportive Schools (S3) grant sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. Contains grantee progress and highlights: 65% of schools reported improved school safety scores, 52% of schools reported a decrease in bullying, 30% of Safe and Supportive Schools received "Reward" status, and 70% of S3 2010 Priority schools moved off the Priority List. This final report also presents trends in statewide graduation rates over the course of the grant, previews key initiatives, and details lessons learned.

Northeast Washington ESD 101 is using their Project Prevent grant to provide tiered mental health supports through their school-based mental health services to students and their families.

Features Lancaster Central School District's use of Peer Mediation to help resolve student problems in a non-threatening and positive way. Peer mediators are high school students trained to facilitate conflict resolutions between students.

Demonstrates through video Kentucky Valley Education Cooperative's adaptation of “Ripple Effects,” an online supported social and emotional learning program, for a rural setting. Kentucky Valley plans to implement it in over 70 schools by the end of their grant. Ripple Effects is an evidence based, trauma informed tool that can be used to support PBIS, Behavioral RTI, risk behavior prevention, and more.