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State Wins School Climate Grant

The Delaware Department of Education has been awarded a federal grant to improve school climate in buildings across the state.  Titled “School Climate and Student Success,” Delaware’s grant has first-year funding of $458,660 and will span five years, with a total potential award of $2, 297,739. Delaware’s grant was among the 130 awards totaling $70 million issued by the U.S. Department of Education as part of four new grant programs under the Obama administration’s “Now Is the Time” plan, which aims to make schools safer, reduce gun violence by keeping guns out of dangerous hands and increase mental health services.

“For our children to be able to concentrate and learn, they must feel safe and protected in our schools,” Delaware Secretary of Education Mark Murphy said. “This grant will help us make systematic improvements that will make a difference for children at the classroom level.”

Delaware won one of 12 state School Climate Transformation grants to develop, enhance, or expand state-wide systems of support for, and technical assistance to, school districts and schools implementing an evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral framework for improving behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for all students.

Delaware’s project is a collaboration between the Delaware Department of Education, the Delaware Positive Behavior Support Project at the University of Delaware and Delaware public schools.  It entails two major components that will support schools in their implementation of DE-PBS, the state’s Positive Behavioral Support system that integrates a social and emotional learning approach and multi-tiered systems of positive behavioral interventions and supports. The first component is to provide expanded evidence-based professional development and data integration tools to 15 districts and five charter schools. Those districts/charters encompass 140 schools serving 74,500 students in all three counties. The second is to provide technical assistance to nine schools identified as having the greatest needs within three districts: Brandywine, Capital and Red Clay Consolidated.


The project will result in the creation of: three tools for assessing school climate and the fidelity of implementation of an integrated social and emotional learning/positive behavior supports approach; an interactive computer reporting system that integrates data from the three tools and links results to recommended professional development tailored to the needs of individual schools; and training modules that districts and charters can use for professional development, including podcasts and resources/interventions targeting areas of school climate.

Alison May