The East Greenwich School Department recently received a $140,000 grant from the Rhode Island Department of Education called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act Stronger Connections Grant Program to support evidence-based school climate initiatives. The word “climate” in this instance refers to how students and adult staff feel at school.
“We want all students to feel safe, welcomed, and included when they come to school so that they can learn to their fullest potential,” said Supt. Brian Ricca. “This applies to adults as well. We want all adults to have the tools to be their best professional selves for our students and their families. A school climate that is reflective of this benefits all humans.”
The grant’s use must be supplemental (i.e. not used for recurring operating costs). As part of the application process, district leadership had to analyze school climate data and engage a variety of stakeholders (including the Wellness Subcommittee, community mental health organizations, and student focus groups) to identify how to use these resources in the most effective and far-reaching manner in EG public schools.
“We will share a detailed breakdown of this grant’s impact no later than the first School Committee meeting in September,” Ricca said. “Our work in education is about relationships. These resources will go a long way to improve students’ sense of belonging, in part, by empowering student voices and building our Multi Tiered System of Support (MTSS) to meet diverse needs. We continue to make strides to make our Strategic Plan ‘All Means All,’ something that is a living, evolving document in each of our six buildings.”
He added, “Teaching and learning is about one thing, and one thing only: Relationships. Our fundamental job is to ensure that all students feel safe, welcomed, and included when they come to school. Then they can learn to their fullest potential.”