The U.S. Department of Education has awarded approximately $1 billion to 56 states and territories across the nation through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), with Mississippi set to receive over $13 million of the funds.
Through the BSCA, Congress provided the funding in Title IV, Part A to State Educational Agencies (SEAs) to develop state grant programs to provide all students with safe and supportive learning opportunities and environments that are critical for their success.
Now, the grants will be allocated to high-need local educational agencies under the BSCA Stronger Connections grant program.
“We have years of evidence that demonstrate the value of building safe and supportive schools. These efforts improve academic achievement, promote emotional well-being, reduce disciplinary actions, and increase positive behaviors,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Safe and supportive schools help our children and youth overcome trauma and provide a strong foundation of emotional and physical safety. These grants will provide real benefits to real students in real schools.”
Cardona outlined three principles that he suggests SEAs should implement into the grant competitions in a letter to chief state school officers.
The principles include:
- Implementing comprehensive, evidence-based strategies that meet student social, emotional, and mental well-being needs; create positive, inclusive, and supportive school environments; and increase access to place-based interventions and services
- Engaging students, families, educators, staff, and community organizations in the selection and implementation of strategies and interventions to create safe, inclusive, and supportive learning environments
- Designing and implementing policies and practices that are responsive to underserved students, protect student rights, and demonstrate respect for student dignity and potential. These policies are consistent with the Administration’s previous position on these issues.
Here is the complete list of states in the Southern region that have been awarded funds: