$25 Million in Grants to Gage Usefulness of School Safety Efforts

$25 Million in Grants to Gage Usefulness of School Safety Efforts 

A new grant program is seeking U.S. schools to receive access to programs to address school safety. The "Safer Schools in America Impact Grant" will make a total of $25 million worth of in-kind safety solutions from 16 companies available to recipients over three years. Those systems will be deployed no cost to the schools, and, in return, the schools will need to make data available for the purposes of research.

The project is an initiative of Global Grid for Learning and McREL International. Global Grid is a membership-based public benefit corporation that sets up public-private partnerships to help tackle "big school challenges," such as safety. McREL is a nonprofit research and development organization that turns its research into "practical, effective guidance and training for teachers and school leaders."

For this program, safety covers a lot of ground: emotional, physical and digital safety, emergency preparedness and culture and community engagement. Participating companies primarily produce programs to manage students during and after school, communicate with people, handle visitors, solicit for anonymous tips, filter web access and measure student well-being.

The current list encompasses:

Districts that are members of Global Grid can nominate up to three schools each to qualify for grants. That membership is free. Up to 100 schools will be selected for the initial phase of the grant, by Jan. 30, 2019; an additional 400 schools will be selected in later phases throughout the year.

The two organizations said they'll be capturing data from participating schools for research projects on how to foster safer school environments.

"Parents, students, teachers and administrators expect schools to be safe, secure, and supportive for teaching and learning, but little research has been done to date to measure the effectiveness of the solutions that we purchase to address safety and well-being," said Sandra Elliott, chief academic officer at Global Grid, in a statement.

McREL will be contributing "to building a better evidence base that helps educators and parents make informed decisions about which approaches will work best for their students and schools," added CEO Bryan Goodwin.

The application is available through the Global Grid website. Those districts that aren't Global Grid members will be sent a membership form in response to their application.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.