Newtown Public School District Awarded $6.4M in Grants

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the Newtown Public School District one of the largest Project SERV grants.

NEWTOWN, Conn. – The U.S. Department of Education has announced it is awarding an additional $3.1 million to Newtown Public School District to help with ongoing recovery efforts over the next two school years in response to the tragic shootings at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

This award, combined with a $1.3 million grant for the 2012-13 school year and a $1.9 million grant for the 2013-14 school year, brings the total awarded to Newtown to more than $6.4 million-one of the largest Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grants ever awarded.

As a result of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, President Obama developed Now Is the Time, an initiative to keep schools and communities safe and to help prevent future tragedies such as the one in Newtown. Since announcing the plan in January 2013, the president and his administration have taken a number of steps to help keep our kids and communities safer. While Now Is the Time is designed to prevent violence, sadly, it will still occur. The Project SERV grants will help students, families and communities that have suffered senseless, violent acts recover and heal from them.
This grant is awarded through the Department’s Project SERV program, which awards Immediate Services and Extended Services grants to 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.

“We are continuing to support Newtown’s recovery efforts,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This additional grant will assist with ongoing efforts and immediate needs to help the community heal after this terrible tragedy that Americans will never forget.”

While the two Immediate Services grants-$1.3 million and $1.9 million-addressed the needs of the entire school community, the $3.1 million Extended Services grant is more narrowly focused on students and staff who were directly impacted by the incident. Most families kept their children enrolled in Newtown Public Schools. These students need continued monitoring and additional services/support.

Based on a comprehensive needs assessment that the district conducted, the sense that school is an unsafe place still pervades the community, and severe posttraumatic stress, anxiety, depression and grief continue to affect students’ performance in and outside of the classroom. The assessment showed that while progress has been achieved since the time of the incident, additional services are needed to restore the learning environment. The $3.1 million Extended Services Project SERV grant will be used to offer additional services that include trauma education on how trauma impacts learning and behaviors; trauma- and grief-focused counseling services; comprehensive individual and family therapies and resources that students, staff, and families can access in the community; and more.

The Department’s Office of Safe and Healthy Students administers the Project SERV grant program. It has awarded more than $42 million through 121 grants, including Newtown’s additional grant, since the program began in 2001. Click here for more information about the Project SERV program.

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