Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Updates from US Dept of ED, Office of Safe & Healthy Students

Source: American School Counselor Association


U.S. ED/HHS Awards Nine States Race to The Top-Early Learning Challenge Grants to Help Build Statewide Systems of High Quality Early Education Programs

On December 16, 2011, the White House announced that nine states - California, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and Washington - will receive grant awards from the $500 million Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge fund, a competitive grant program jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.  

Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius made the announcement of state grantees at a White House event with over 100 early learning and development experts, educators, policymakers, and researchers.

"In a matter of months, early education and child development experts throughout the country, together with state and local leaders, worked to build comprehensive plans for expanding access to high-quality early learning," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "All applicants showed tremendous dedication and drive to build stronger foundations and create greater opportunities for more children. Their work will help lead the way in ensuring excellent early learning and support for every child." "A strong educational system is critical not just for our children but also for our nation's economic future," said U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. "The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge takes a holistic approach to early education, promotes innovation, and focuses on what it takes to help put young children on the path of learning, opportunity, and success."

Through the competition, 35 states, D.C. and Puerto Rico have created plans to increase access to high-quality programs for children from low-income families, providing more children from birth to age 5 with a strong foundation they need for success in school and beyond.  The number and list of winners was determined both by the quality of the applications and the funds available. 

The Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge will support the work of the nine state grantees to develop new approaches to raising the bar across early learning centers and to close the school readiness gap. Awards will invest in grantees' work to build statewide systems of high-quality early learning and development programs. These investments will impact all early learning programs, including Head Start, public pre-K, childcare, and private preschools. Key reforms will include: aligning and raising standards for existing early learning and development programs; improving training and support for the early learning workforce through evidence-based practices; and building robust evaluation systems that promote effective practices and programs to help parents make informed decisions.

The fiscal year 2011 budget provided an additional $700 million to invest in early learning and elementary and post secondary education reform. In addition to the $500 million awarded today to Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge grantees, seven states - Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania - have applied for a share of the $200 million to invest in K-12 education reform. Awards will be announced later this month.

State data relevant to the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge along with peer reviewers' scores and comments were recently posted online. Grant awards will range from around $50 million up to $100 million, depending on State population and proposed plans. Budgets will be finalized after discussions between the grantees and the Departments, and states will draw down funds in accordance with their plans.

To learn more about the Race to the Top-Early Learning Challenge, visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-earlylearningchallenge .

U.S. Justice's OJP's OJJDP Announces a new Bulletin-"Bullying in Schools: An Overview"

The U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs' Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention has released Bullying in Schools: An Overview.

This bulletin examines the connection between different types and frequencies of bullying, truancy, and student achievement, and whether students' engagement in school mediates these factors. It discusses the results of three studies conducted in 2007 at the National Center for School Engagement, and compares these results with those from a Swedish study.

The authors conclude that victimization in the form of bullying can distance students from learning. Schools can overcome this negative effect if they adopt strategies that engage students in their work, creating positive learning environments that produce academic achievement.


Bullying in Schools: An Overview (NCJ 234205) is available online at:www.ojjdp.gov/pubs/234205.pdf.

The Center for School Mental Health and the IDEA Partnership (U.S. ED Funded) Announces Request for Proposals for the 18th Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health, October 25-27, 2012 in Salt Lake City, Utah

Proposals are now being accepted for the 18th Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health to be held October 25-27, 2012 at the Marriott Hotel (75 S. West Temple) in Salt Lake City, Utah.  The Conference is sponsored by the Center for School Mental Health (CSMH) and the IDEA Partnership (funded by the Office of Special Education Programs [OSEP], sponsored by the National Association of State Directors of Special Education).

The theme of this year's conference is School Mental Health: Promoting Positive Outcomes for Students, Families, Schools, and Communities.

The conference features twelve specialty tracks and offers speakers and participants numerous opportunities to advance knowledge and skills and to network related to school mental health practice, research, training, and policy. The deadline for submissions is January 23, 2012.

To read the Request for Proposalshttp://csmh.umaryland.edu/docs/annual/FINALRFP%20for%2017th%20Annual.pdf.

All proposals must be submitted online athttp://cf.umaryland.edu/csmha/abstract_conference.cfm .

HHS' HRSA Offers Support for School-Based Health Centers will Increase access to Care for Many Children under the Affordable Care Act Through School-Based Health Center Construction Grants

As a result of the Affordable Care Act, more than $14 million was awarded on December 8, 2011 to 45 school-based health centers across the country allowing the number of children served to increase by nearly 50 percent, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced.

Clinics receiving the awards, made possible by the health reform law, are already providing much-needed health care services to 112,000 children.  Today's infusion of new money will enable them to expand their capacity and modernize their facilities, which will allow them to treat an estimated additional 53,000 children in 29 States.

Funds awarded today will help create jobs for Americans across the country. Funds will support job opportunities as more Americans will be needed to meet the clinics' pressing capital needs - including construction, renovation and new equipment. 

School-based health centers enable children with acute or chronic illnesses to attend school, and improve the overall health and wellness of all children through health screenings, health promotion and disease prevention activities.  Typically, a school-based clinic provides a combination of primary care, mental health care, substance abuse counseling, case management, dental health, nutrition education, health education, and health promotion activities.

"These grants will enable school-based health centers to establish new sites or upgrade their current facilities, which will increase their ability to provide preventive and primary health care services, and help children improve their health and remain healthy," said HRSA Administrator Mary K. Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N. 

The Affordable Care Act provides $200 million in funding from 2010 - 2013 for the School-Based Health Center Capital Program to address significant and pressing capital needs and to improve delivery and support expansion of services at school-based health centers.

These grants are the second in the series of awards that will be made available to school-based health centers under the Affordable Care Act.  The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) oversees the School-Based Health Center Capital Program.

A full list of new grantees is available at: http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2011pres/12/20111208a_grantees.html .

To learn more about School-Based Health Centers, visit: http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/12/health-centers12082011a.html .

To learn more about the Affordable Care Act, visit: www.healthcare.gov


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