LOGAN TWP. — The Delsea Regional, Elk Township, Logan Township, and the Lumberton School Districts have been awarded “The School Climate Transformation Grant” by the U.S. Department of Education. The districts will receive up to $2.4 million over the course of four years from the U.S. Department of Education to support training for teachers, staff, and students to implement evidence-based strategies to improve school climate for elementary and middle school students attending the four school districts cited above, through a partnership with Dr. Shelley Zion from Rowan University’s C.A.S.E (Center for Access, Success and Equity).
A total of $429,793 will be administered during the first year to plan and implement the initial goals of the project. The project builds on the work that Dr. Zion and the C.A.S.E. team has been leading over the past three years.
The grant was awarded to the four rural school districts partnering with C.A.S.E. to improve equity, culture, and climate in their schools. The grant will support current work as well as expand upon programs to include Positive Behavioral Intervention Support (PBIS), implementing Restorative Justice practices, increasing trauma-informed supports, student lead action research projects, mentoring (both teacher to student and student to student), and developing district climate teams.
Using these best practices to enhance the work already occurring in the districts will provide these districts with the ability to engage faculty, staff, students, and families/community with a focus on improving student learning while also focusing on the overall social and emotional development of their students to ensure future student success.
“The commitment by the U.S. Department of Education to further the work our school districts are engaging in with middle and elementary school students and staff around climate and culture is an amazing validation of our work thus far,” Delsea Assistant Superintendent Dr. Melissa Williams explained. “This funding will allow all four districts an opportunity to fund innovative projects and programs while partnering with community partners in the name of our students.”
Mrs. Patricia L. Haney, Superintendent of Logan Township School District, further elaborated on the benefit of this grant by stating, “As a school district which is slated for reduced state funding over the next few years, Logan Township is thrilled that we will be able to continue our work to build the capacity of our staff and students in the area of Equitable Culture and Climate as a result of being one of four districts which will receive this grant from the U.S. Department of Education. This grant will help all four districts to continue to grow in our understanding of the influence of culture on human behavior while continuing to build an equitable climate and culture in each of our schools, which meets the needs of marginalized populations of students.”
Mr. Joseph Langowski, Superintendent of the Lumberton Township School District, highlighted the work of C.A.S.E. Executive Director Dr. Shelley Zion. “Dr. Zion’s work is transformative. The grant title, “The Case for Student Voice as a Change Agent in Schools,’ describes our collective commitment to improve social emotional opportunities for our students by providing them with greater voice in their schools. This grant will give us unprecedented opportunities to better serve our students.”
Zion stated, “Each of these leaders has demonstrated a persistent commitment to addressing issues of equity, including the voices of students, and improving schools for all students. These funds allow us to deepen our work, and to serve as a model for schools in South Jersey and nationwide.”