Safety & Security

Grants to Cover Cost of School Safety Software Licenses

A "public benefit corporation" that makes its membership free to schools is seeking "test pilot" districts willing to try education technology that aligns with the Safer Schools Framework the company has developed. The cost of the software license would be covered by a grant. Global Grid for Learning (GG4L) created the Safer Schools initiative with McREL, a nonprofit that does research on the effectiveness of ed tech.

The grant program will allow districts to cover the cost of school-wide deployment for ed tech solutions that align with the framework. So far, according to GG4L, there are 45 "curated" products available in the catalog, covering seven safety areas:

  • Emergency preparedness;

  • Emotional and behavioral health;

  • Digital and online safety;

  • Physical campus security;

  • Physical health and wellness;

  • Engaged community; and

  • Healthy culture.

Those schools receiving the grant must commit to deployment and validation of effectiveness for the chosen software for one or two semesters. And the solution must be deployed through GG4L Connect, a cloud-based integration platform that provides interoperability between student information systems and other district programs.

The funding is only available to GG4L members, but membership itself is free to schools and districts. (Ed tech vendors pay.) According to the company, the grant application takes about 10 minutes to complete, and covers applying for membership in GG4L as well. What the grant won't cover are any additional hardware or professional services costs that might be associated with one or another of the products.

"Data-driven, evidence-informed decision making is essential for those charged with school safety and student wellness," said Robert Iskander, GG4L founder and CEO, in a statement. "This enables any school to fill the gaps, identified by the Safer Schools self-assessment tool, to make its campus safer."

Student safety has come to the forefront as an element of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which stresses that all students should feel safe and supported as a condition for learning. This GG4L/McREL initiative has committed to using "independent measures of efficacy under an institutional quality research framework to establish best practices that can be shared nationally." The data collected "will be aggregated, anonymized and analyzed by McREL and GG4L and provided in quarterly and annual reports to all stakeholders."

Schools can apply for the grants on the GG4L website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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