The US Department of Education announced on Friday, May 24, it is awarding more than $1.3 million to Newtown Public School District to help with ongoing recovery efforts following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School on 12/14. This grant, which is being made through the Department's Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) program, will support school district leaders as they continue to restore a safe and healthy environment that is critical to teaching and learning.
The grant announcement was made as US Education Secretary Arne Duncan joined Gov Dannel Malloy to visit Classical Magnet School in Hartford on Friday. Mr Duncan and Gov Malloy were to co-host a town hall at the school to highlight the importance of comprehensive school safety efforts and the need to ensure that all Americans are able to live free of fear.
“This tragedy has forever changed the entire Newtown community — and our country,” said Mr Duncan. “While we continue efforts to enact President Obama’s comprehensive approach to make our schools and communities safer, we want to do whatever we can to support ongoing recovery efforts and ensure this community has the resources it needs to meet the needs of its teachers, students and families.”
The Department’s Project SERV grants provide funding for school districts, colleges and universities that have experienced a significant traumatic event and need resources to respond, recover, and re-establish safe environments for students. The Office of Safe and Healthy Students has awarded more than $33.5 million through 106 grants, including Newtown, since the program began in 2001. Additionally, following the severe weather in Oklahoma last week that damaged schools and cost lives of children and adults, the Department is working to coordinate with education leaders in the state to help restore learning and to provide financial resources and other support through Project SERV.
Newtown’s $1.3 million Project SERV grant will financially support both the actions taken by the district immediately following the shootings, as well as the district’s comprehensive school-based behavioral and academic recovery program. Those services aim to meet the needs of students, school staff, parents and family members affected by the tragedy and include support groups for parents, siblings, students and teachers; creative expression and wellness activities; counseling; training for educators and school personnel; and additional support staff.