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Newark, NR-Wolcott, Clyde-Savannah schools win transformative $3.75M grant

Money Will Have Big Impact On Students

– By Josh Durso

This one could make a big difference.

The Newark Central School District won a $3.75 million, five-year School Climate and Transformation Grant, which it will share with two other Wayne County school districts to help improve behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for students.

Red Creek and Williamson schools will share in the funding.

Officials with the Newark Central School District applied for the federal grant on behalf of the three-district consortium of high needs rural school districts.

The three districts have more than 4,000 students and 12 school buildings.

Jay Roscup, Director of Community Schools in Wayne County wrote the grant with Mark Miller, Director of Grants and Special Projects for the NCSD. Lyons won a similar 5-year grant for Lyons, Sodus, North Rose-Wolcott and the Clyde-Savannah districts that expired in September.

Since those districts were not allowed to re-apply for the grant having previously been its recipients, Roscup and Miller wrote the successful grant application for Newark, Williamson and Red Creek.

Roscup said it is imperative that in financially-strapped, high needs Wayne County schools, especially those in eastern Wayne County where there is such a high level of transiency, that there be consistency among support services provided to students to insure their successful behavioral and academic outcomes.

“Your highest need students are rotating from district to district. Uniformity of services is essential,” Roscup said.

Miller added that in Newark nearly 1 in 5 students will move three or more times during their educational career. Sixty one percent 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,’’ he said. Other issues related to poverty, homelessness, various types of abuse, trauma and or neglect; food insecurity, emotional stability, alcohol and other kinds of substance abuse, dysfunctional home environments and mental illness all adversely affect student outcomes and grant monies will be used to set up effective, multi-tiered support systems (MTSS) to more effectively address them.

The Goals

– Allow participating districts to use proven consultants and trainers to enable the three districts to implement the best MTSS practices for students.

– Use best restorative practices and Positive Behavioral Intervention and Support (PBIS) systems to improve behavior and relationships with the goal of improving the social and emotional learning climate in the schools.

– Work with local agencies and service providers to enhance prevention efforts to deter alcohol and other drug abuse that will also result in a decrease in suspensions, expulsions and absenteeism.

– Develop a higher level of community partnerships that will assist these school districts in helping to meet these goals.

Reaction to the Win

Roscup said the overall objective of the grant is to insure each district has a “great 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. Building systems that support the academic and behavioral work is foundational to our success as a district,” Newark Superintendent Matt Cook said.

Laurie Palmisano, who was recently appointed by the Newark Board of Education to be the grant-funded Director of NCSD’s Community Schools program will oversee distribution of grant monies to the Red Creek and Williamson districts according to School Climate and Transformation Grant specifications and guidelines.

“We know that the school climate plays a critical role in the potential success and school experiences of a student,” said Palmisano. “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. I am thrilled to have a role in this important work.”

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