[Editor's note: This report is based on a press release from the U.S. Department of Education, and was updated to include information provided by Newtown Public Schools.]
The U.S. Department of Education announced Monday that it is awarding an additional $1.9 million to Newtown Public School District to help with ongoing recovery efforts following the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.
The grant is being made through the Department's Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) program, which awards Immediate Services and Extended Services grants to school districts, colleges and universities that have experienced a significant traumatic event and need resources to respond, recover, and re-establish safe environments for students.
The $1.9 Million Grant Will Go Toward
The funds will cover expenses from Sept. 1, 2013, through Aug. 15, 2014, according to a press release from Newtown Public Schools. Specifically, the money will be used for:
- additional grief support services for siblings and those who lost their peers
- classroom-based psycho-education and skill-building strategies
- skill-based interventions for affected students identified as needing assistance for posttraumatic stress reactions, traumatic grief, separation anxiety and other behavioral and functional problems
- tutoring for students demonstrating academic decline since the incident
- additional security
- additional nursing services, and more.
According to Dr. John Reed, Interim Superintendent of Schools, it is hoped that further grants will be approved so that the work will continue well beyond Aug. 15, 2014.
Project SERV Grant Already at Work in Newtown
Newtown received its first Project SERV award—a $1.3 million grant—in May 2013. That grant financially supported both the actions taken by the district immediately following the shootings, as well as the district's comprehensive school-based behavioral and academic recovery program.
Those services aimed to meet the needs of students, school staff, parents and family members affected by the tragedy and included:
- support groups for parents, siblings, students and teachers
- creative expression and wellness activities
- training for educators and school personnel
- additional support staff
Newtown: We'll Maximize Impact of the Grant
In a statement released Monday afternoon, the Newtown School System said it was pleased that the continuation of the SERV Grant has been approved.
"The federal government has been an invaluable partner by helping to provide necessary resources to the Newtown School System so the important work begun with the first grant to support the emotional health and resiliency of our students, families and staff can be maintained," the release states. "Our school system understands that this level of support from the federal government is very significant and will work diligently to maximize the impact of the work funded by this $1.9 million."
"We wish to recognize the valuable assistance of David Esquith, Director, Office of Safe and Healthy Students at the U.S. Department of Education and the U. S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan," Newtown Public Schools added.
"We will do whatever we can to continue assisting and supporting the healing and recovery of Newtown," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. "This additional grant will help students, teachers, families, school district and community move forward after such an unimaginable tragedy."
Malloy: 'There Is No Blueprint for Healing'
“There is no blueprint for healing and the path will be different for each child, friend, family and survivor of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said, reacting to news of the grant. “I would like to thank President Obama and Secretary Duncan for their continued support of the state of Connecticut and community of Newtown as we resolve to move forward in the wake of these unthinkable acts. This is yet another act of kindness that will support the children of Newtown in the healing process.”
“It is essential that we support the children of Newtown in their efforts to heal from tragedies that occurred during their most developmental years,” Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman said. “I am thankful for this federal grant which further supports the critical work we’ve begun in this state.”