The Kent School District will receive $505,064 of federal funds for community outreach about the importance of school attendance.
The money will be used for students who need additional support as the school district’s reengagement specialist will conduct home visits and partner with a community-based organization to connect families with extra resources, according to a June 28 news release from the state Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI).
All students have the right to a safe and healthy school environment, according to OSPI. Washington’s public schools are supporting students’ physical and mental health by implementing projects funded by the federal Stronger Connections Grant Program.
OSPI has awarded $15 million over the next three years to 26 school districts that will implement a range of supports, from hiring mental health specialists to addressing absenteeism to providing professional development on resilience.
“Across the state, our schools work hard to create safe and supportive learning environments for our students,” said State Superintendent Chris Reykdal. “These grant dollars will complement the health and safety efforts these districts already have in place and will support the grantees in meeting the unique needs of their local communities.”
The Stronger Connections Grant Program stems from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act signed by President Joe Biden in June 2022. A total of $1 billion was allocated for state education agencies to competitively award subgrants to local education agencies where an average of 40% of students or more are experiencing poverty.
In Washington, OSPI received 54 applications requesting nearly $75 million in grant funding. The top applicants were awarded based on the quality of their proposals, their ability to provide direct services to address student needs, their ability to build capacity for continuous improvement, and their level of meaningful involvement with stakeholders, including students and their families. Consideration was also given to equitably distributing the funds based on the geographic location of the applicants.
The Kent School District will receive $505,064, according to an email from spokesperson Katy Payne.