Gov. John Carney recently announced that nine Delaware school districts and charter schools will receive a combined $1 million in opportunity grant funding to support programs that help disadvantaged students and English language learners succeed in classrooms across the state.
Delaware’s opportunity grant program — created and funded by Carney and members of the general assembly in the fiscal 2018 budget — will help districts and charter schools improve supports for low-income students, students chronically exposed to stress and trauma, and English language learners. District and charter awardees will use the grant to fund programs in the 2017-18 school year.
The 2017 awardees are:
— Colonial School District: $200,000 to Castle Hills Elementary, Harry O. Eisenberg Elementary, Pleasantville Elementary and Wilmington Manor Elementary schools. The plan is for Colonial to implement trauma-informed supports and deepen the responsive classrooms approach through embedded training, coaching and other supports. A group of teacher-leaders will be developed. The plan is designed for this core group of teachers to turn the training around to the rest of the staff.
— Christina School District: $106,832 to Elbert Palmer Elementary School. EPE will support 250 students and their families through a compassionate care model. EPE intends to reduce student suspensions, increase student attendance, increase family involvement, increase student achievement and provide more resources for families dealing with complex trauma.
— Red Clay School District: $106,832 to Richardson Park Elementary School. Richardson Park will provide trauma informed care to students by changing the school level climate. They will support staff in re-conceptualizing disruptive behavior to a trauma informed lens and provide access to higher level of trauma care for students in need. The project will: produce school staff who can identify, support and refer all students exposed to trauma and who can integrate trauma informed care with existing programming; increase access to more intensive care of students of need and their families; and strengthen Richardson Park’s network of trauma referrals.
— Brandywine School District — Mt. Pleasant: $100,000 to Mount Pleasant Elementary School. The intended impact of this project will be to serve 30-40 high need students and their families with ongoing, targeted supports; 200 families with services to meet their needs throughout the school year; and the adult and student population. They expect to see improvements in chronic absenteeism, family engagement, climate and student achievement. MPE seeks to become a comprehensive services center, as well as implement mindfulness initiatives throughout the school.
— Great Oaks Charter School: $100,000. Great Oaks will support implementation of broad trauma based and social emotional programming to support 120 students with weekly individual and/or group counseling. All 446 students of the school’s students will benefit from the implementation of a restorative discipline system designed to drive self-agency and positive decision making. Great Oaks serves grades six through eight.
— Kuumba Academy Charter School: $100,000. Kuumba will use the grant to fund a portion of its comprehensive trauma-informed practices and supports package. The package addresses school culture, academic needs, family engagement and service provision through a trauma-informed and culturally sensitive lens. Kuumba is committed to providing integrated student services and trauma-informed supports to low income students. The package will serve the school’s 750 students in grades kindergarten through eight.
— Las Americas Aspira Charter School: $100,000. LAAA will implement a reading framework supporting the needs of English learning students, including embedded teacher supports. This reading framework will enhance the balanced literacy framework by embedding language acquisition scaffolds so that all students, English learners included, improve their literacy achievement and close the reading achievement gap.
— Woodbridge School District: $97,678 to Woodbridge Early Childhood Center and Phillis Wheatley Elementary School. Woodbridge will provide parents with the necessary knowledge to make informed nutritional choices for their families and further develop staff members on trauma informed practices in order to support student’s academic and behavioral needs. One of the primary focus areas of the grant is to contract with a behavioral health provider to provide counseling services in both schools.
— Caesar Rodney School District: $88,656 to Caesar Rodney High School. Caesar Rodney will provide trauma informed supports and integrated services for the 750 English learner students. The plan is designed to train non-English as a second language certified teachers using a train-the-trainer model to better meet the academic and language needs. CRHS will utilize the expertise of the University of Delaware and WIDA resources, resources to assist in language acquisition for English learner students, to target planning, instruction and assessment.