Newark Central School District recently won a $3.75 million School Climate and Transformation Grant to develop, enhance or expand support services in order to improve behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for students, including those in the Red Creek and Williamson districts.
NCSD applied for the five-year federal grant on behalf of the three-district consortium of high-need rural school districts serving nearly 4,000 students.
Jay Roscup, director of community schools in Wayne County, wrote the grant with Mark Miller, NCSD director of grants and special projects. Lyons won a similar grant — shared with Sodus, North Rose-Wolcott and Clyde-Savannah — that expired in September. Those districts were not eligible to reapply.
Roscup said consistency among support services in financially strapped, high-need schools ensure successful behavior and academic outcomes, especially those in eastern Wayne County where there is a high level of transiency.
“Your highest-needs students are rotating from district to district,” said Roscup, adding that uniformity is essential.
According to Miller, nearly 1 in 5 students in Newark will move at least three times during their educational career; 61% of NCSD students are classified as economically disadvantaged by the New York State Education Department.
“These factors and others have a negative impact on academic success,’’ Miller said.
The grant will be used to set up multi-tiered support systems to address poverty, homelessness, abuse, trauma and/or neglect, food insecurity, emotional stability, alcohol and substance abuse, dysfunctional home environments, and mental illness.
The goal is to have participating districts use consultants and trainers to implement MTSS practices for students, use restorative practices and positive behavioral intervention and support systems to improve behavior and relationships, work with local agencies and service providers to deter alcohol and drug use, and develop community partnerships.
Roscup said the objective is to ensure each district has a “menu of research-based support options that work” for all students’ individual needs.
“This is important work and we are thrilled that we were able to win this national grant for our region,” NCSD Superintendent Matt Cook said. “Building systems that support the academic and behavioral work is foundational to our success as a district.”
Laurie Palmisano, NCSD director of community schools, will oversee grant distribution to Red Creek and Williamson.
“We know that the school climate plays a critical role in the potential success and school experiences of a student,” Palmisano said. “Students who learn in a positive learning environment are more likely to develop skills that will help them be successful in school and in life.”