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February 5, 2019
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



State Education Department Awards $1.6 Million in Safe and Supportive Schools Grants

Grants to Improve School Climate in Economically Disadvantaged Schools in 16 Districts

Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center Also Established

The State Education Department awarded $1.6 million in Safe and Supportive Schools grants to 16 school districts, Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today. The funds will be used to support initiatives to improve school climate in economically disadvantaged schools identified as being in the greatest need of assistance in building healthy, supportive, and safe learning environments. The 2018-19 enacted State Budget included $2 million to establish the Supportive Schools Grant (SSG) Program. The remaining funds will be used to establish a Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center.

“Social Emotional Learning can help both adults and children acquire the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need to understand and manage their emotions,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “By supporting students on both social emotional and academic levels, we provide them with interpersonal skills and a sense of well-being that will help them succeed in life.”

“We know a positive school climate has a positive impact on school safety, student social and emotional well-being and mental health,” Commissioner Elia said. “When our children feel safe and accepted, they are better prepared to learn. We thank the Governor and Legislature for including funds for these Safe and Supportive Schools grants in the Enacted Budget and expect this will help our schools build toward offering further social emotional support in their communities.”

The Board of Regents and the Department have made Social Emotional Learning (SEL) a priority. SEL increases student academic achievement, improves school climate, reduces exclusionary discipline and increases educational equity. New York’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan commits to fostering the development of SEL competencies for all students and adults in our schools and communities, to ensure that all students have access to support for their social-emotional well-being.

To determine school eligibility for grant funding, the Department identified the middle and high schools that were above the statewide average in each of the following areas:

  1. School Violence Index (SVI), which is the count of weighted incidents as a percentage of enrollment; and
  2. Suspension Rate; and
  3. Percentage of students who were Chronically Absent; and
  4. The Dropout Rate (for schools with high school grades only);


  1. Identified with a Persistently Dangerous Designation for the 2018-19 school year (two schools).

The schools that met these criteria were then sorted by those that serve the largest percentage of economically disadvantaged students so the grant funding could benefit the largest population of students who need it most.

The Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center will provide on-site technical assistance and monitor the implementation of grantee school climate improvement plans as well as identify appropriate, evidence-based providers of programs in bullying and violence prevention and school climate targeted to grantee schools’ needs.

Each district was awarded up to $100,000 and must submit an application for the Department’s approval that describes how the funds will be used to supplement, not supplant, existing district resources to: promote positive school climate; improve parent and student engagement; and reduce violence and incidences of bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Schools will also be required to administer the U.S. Department of Education School Climate Survey in spring 2019.

The $1.6 million was allocated between New York City and rest of the State by student enrollment. For the 2017-18 school year, NYC schools comprised 43.4 percent of K-12 enrollment statewide. Using this figure, the Department allocated $700,000 across seven NYC community school districts and $900,000 across nine districts in the rest of the State. Funding can only be used at the named schools in the table below.



School Name



  • Alternative High School at 44 (Persistently Dangerous School)
  • Math Science Technology Preparatory School at Seneca
  • Burgard High School
  • PS 66 North Park Middle Academy



  • George Washington Middle School



  • M Clifford Miller Middle School
  • J Watson Bailey Middle School



  • Robert J Kaiser Middle School



  • South Middle School



  • Mott Haven Village Preparatory High School



  • Bronx Mathematics Preparatory School (The)



  • IS 232



  • Thomas C Giordano MS 45



  • Frederick Douglass Academy V Middle School (Persistently Dangerous School)
  • IS 318 Math, Science & Technology Through Arts



  • IS 171 Abraham Lincoln



  • Bushwick Leaders High School for Academic Excellence



  • Vanguard Collegiate High School
  • Northwest College Preparatory High School



  • Mont Pleasant Middle School



  • Westside Academy at Blodgett
  • Clary Middle School
  • Lincoln Middle School



  • Troy Middle School



ESSA is Equity

The final approved ESSA plan emphasizes fostering equity in education for New York’s students; expands measures for school support and accountability and student success; and requires school-level improvement plans for the lowest performing schools overall, as well as schools with the lowest performance for certain student populations.

New York State is committed to ensuring that all students succeed and thrive in school no matter who they are, where they live, where they go to school, or where they come from. The plan includes strategies for supporting the professional growth of educators and ensuring that all students, including Multilingual learners/English language learners, immigrant students, migratory youth, students with disabilities, homeless youth, and neglected and delinquent youth, have access to a well-rounded, culturally responsive and sustaining education that supports students’ academic and social-emotional development.

ESSA strategies to foster equity include to: address disparities in training for teachers to help them be effective in the classroom; provide students more access to rigorous high school coursework; make schools equally welcoming environments for all students; increase fiscal transparency in school building spending; and use multiple measures to allow students to demonstrate proficiency in state learning standards.

ESSA also provides states and Local Education Agencies with funding to provide additional support to certain groups of students as well as to schools that have been identified for additional support. The plan also includes strategies for supporting the professional growth of educators and ensuring that all students receive a culturally responsive and sustaining education that supports their academic and social-emotional development. Additional information on the state’s ESSA plan can be found on NYSED’s website.