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Western Kentucky Educational Cooperative receives $750k

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The U.S. Department of Education is awarding more than 70 million dollars over 38 states to improve school climate and keep students safe, including a Western Kentucky organization. The  Western Kentucky Educational Cooperative will receive nearly $750,000 in School Climate Transformation grants that are part of President Obama and Vice President Biden’s “Now is the Time” initiative, a comprehensive plan to make  schools safer, reduce gun violence by keeping guns out of dangerous hands, and increase mental-health services.

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says a safe learning environment is crucial to the learning process.

“If we can’t help protect kids and staff, and make them feel safe at school, then everything else that we do is secondary,” Duncan said . “If kids don’t feel safe, they can’t learn. It’s that simple” 

The funds will be used to develop systems of support to improve behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for students. The goals of the program are to connect students and families to services that will improve conditions for learning and behavioral response to mental-health issues.

Middle schools and junior high schools in the 10 school districts comprising WKEC’s Consortium for Innovations in Education will benefit from the grant. These districts included: Ballard County, Crittenden County, Dawson Springs Independent, Fulton County, Fulton Independent, Hickman County, Livingston County, Mayfield Independent, McLean County, and Paducah Independent.
 
“The grant will enable these districts to develop student behavioral improvement programs ultimately focused on developing all students as leaders,” said Dr. John Settle, WKEC executive director. “This is a tremendous opportunity for these schools, and the Cooperative is privileged to continue our mission of assisting districts in maximizing resources to prepare students to excel.”
 
School districts also will use funds to implement models for reform and evidence-based practices that address the school-to-prison pipeline—especially those most at-risk, out of classrooms and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The grants provide funding for up to five years.

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