Using Title IV, Part A to Fund Full-Service Community Schools

IT'S VALENTINE'S DAY! (2).png

With the recent release of the long-awaited Student Support and Academic Enrichment (also now as Title IV, Part A) allocations in Minnesota, districts need to make some decisions quickly on how the funds will be used in their district. These funds are part of a federal grant under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This is the first year that the funds are being received as an allocation in Minnesota, with the previous allocation being made through a competitive grant. The funds can be used to improve students’ academic achievement by increasing capacity to:

  • Provide activities and programs that provide all students with a well-rounded education,

  • Support activities that promote safe and healthy students, and/or

  • Enhance technology to improve academic achievement and digital literacy of all students.

The amount of a district’s allocation can be found on the Minnesota Department of Education website at this link under the Title IV, Part Allocations at the bottom of the page.

These funds provide an amazing opportunity to consider new and creative approaches for meeting student needs. Given the federal requirements that funds need to supplement, and not supplant, current efforts the district is supporting, these funds allow districts to think creatively on how best students needs can be addressed in innovative ways.

I would encourage you to think about Full-Service Community Schools as a strategy the fits perfectly with the purpose of the Student Support and Academic Enrichment funds. Community Schools have been found to be an effective school improvement strategy as outlined in this brief by the Learning Policy Institute. Community schools have found to have gains in student learning, family engagement, school effectiveness and community vitality. They are a strategy that allow you to leverage community partnerships to provide more for students and families than a school can do alone. Partnering with community agencies provides a benefit for students, agencies and schools!

In addition to the funding provided here, there has been legislation introduced in both the Minnesota House and Senate, for an appropriation to support full-service community schools, meaning that districts that start to explore this option with the Title IV dollars now, may be in a good place to apply for grant funds later in the year if this bill is funded. A previous round of grants was awarded in 2016 and full-service community schools was a strategy championed by many candidates during the election campaign, including now-elected Governor Tim Walz.

The Strong Schools, Strong Communities Conference, being held March 14-15th in Bloomington, MN, is a great way to kick off building support for a community schools model in your school. Learn from national experts about the foundations of a community schools, principles for building strong partnerships and strategies for measuring outcomes. On March 13th, there is an optional site visit to see a community school in action and hear directly from partners about their work at the site.

How is your district planning on using Title IV, Part A funds to support students? I would love to hear about the work in your district!

Creating Safe Schools with T-MTSS

Creating Safe Schools with T-MTSS

The Trauma-informed Multi-tiered Systems of Support (T-MTSS) framework, partnered with a multi-disciplinary threat assessment process, is a model that can be adopted by schools to promote school safety and better outcomes for students. This graphic, developed by Continua Consulting, depicts the crucial elements of comprehensive Tier 1 supports for students. By incorporating universal screening for social-emotional concerns and using data to drive our practice in the area of behavior and social-emotional well-being, similar to best practice with academic instruction, we can better meet the needs of students. Using data allows us to  efficiently identify and align resources for students that need higher levels of support and intervention.

Read More

Trauma-Informed Organizational Assessment

Trauma-Informed Organizational Assessment

Last week on the blog, we covered the Essential Elements of a Trauma-Informed School. This week we are digging deeper into those seven elements to understand what are the key components of each element and how do we assess our current practices. For each element, I have outlined 4 questions about school practices in that area to guide reflection regarding current practices. It is imperative that we reflect and consider our current practices, beliefs and culture as we implement change. I have created a tool to assist you in this process along with a pdf fillable form that will help you capture your thoughts.

Read More