The Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) in June awarded the Arlington Public Schools a grant of $56,500 to support the ongoing work of Safe & Supportive Schools, a districtwide, multiyear initiative focused on student mental health and community engagement. The most recent grant is the third and final award, fulfilling AEF’s total pledge of $200,000.
In 2017, AEF committed to a District Investment Grant of $200,000 to fund instituting Safe & Supportive Schools within the town's public schools. The first phase of the grant was for $100,500 and funded Youth Mental Health First-Aid training for more than 300 APS staff. The second phase of the grant began last fall. AEF granted $43,000 to support community outreach and engagement around youth mental-health issues. Because of Covid-19, however, the main event to connect with the community had to be postponed. This event, known as ENGAGE: A Parent University, is now scheduled to occur next May.
In the current and final stage of Safe & Supportive Schools, APS will benefit from consultation with Education Everywhere to create deep and sustainable awareness of and support for youth mental health throughout the town's public schools.
Since 2017, town public schools have worked with AEF to aid schools in crafting safe-school action plans to ensure all students are able to learn in healthy and supportive climates. This work blossomed into districtwide efforts, informed leadership teams and drove a dramatic increase in the number of school staff fluent in how to promote youth mental health and how to administer mental-health first-aid to young people in need.
Now, this final stage of the safe-schools initiative aims to solidify the work of the previous four years. Sara Burd, director of counseling and social-emotional learning, “The last phase of implementation will ensure that policies, protocols and positive changes in school culture will outlive staff turnover, new building construction, political elections and generations of students.”
In addition, and perhaps most important, the overriding goal is to effectively reach all students to truly provide a safe and equitable learning environment for all.
To learn more or apply for a grant, visit www.aefma.org.
This announcement was published was published Monday, June 22, 2020.
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