MPS reaps more than $9 million in federal grants

More than $9 million in federally-funded grants will boost Milwaukee Public Schools’ efforts to better address the academic, behavioral and mental health needs of students.


The competitive grants, announced earlier this month, total approximately $9.1 million and are intended to touch a range of district programs and services, including arts education, literacy, counseling services and school safety initiatives.

“These grants support and complement the important work taking place in schools every day to prepare students for college and careers and to ensure a strong safety net is in place for our students,” MPS superintendent Darienne Driver said in an announcement.

The grants encompass:

*A two-year grant of $744,000 that will support the district’s Focus on Literacy Foundations program at Carver Academy, Forest Home Elementary School, Jackson Early Childhood and Elementary School, and Rogers Street Academy. The grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, is aimed at helping K4-3rd grade students at what MPS calls “high need” schools improve literacy skills. Along with supporting the use of technology throughout literacy curriculum, the grant will back collaborative efforts among educators as well as book distributions to ramp up reading at home.

*A four-year $1.2 million grant, also from the U.S. Department of Education, will add to the district’s arts education programming by connecting students with area museums and arts groups. Educators and artists will team up to develop project-based lessons for students according to exhibits they encounter at museums. The district expects the grant to impact about 70 art teachers and 6,300 students.

*A five-year $3.6 million grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, will target MPS’ Resilient Kids program to ensure students facing trauma, anxiety and other mental health issues can tap into school-based counseling. The grant will help the district better identify students in need of mental health resources, support students in understanding and confronting their emotions and develop “on-site collaborations between school-based and community-based mental health systems,” according to MPS. Schools to benefit from the grant include Bethune Academy, Forest Home, Kagel Elementary School, Keefe Avenue School, Dr. King Jr. School, Pierce Elementary School, Sherman Multicultural Arts School, and Westside Academy.

*A $3.5 million grant factoring into a larger grant given to the state, will be directed toward the Wisconsin AWARE Project, focused on creating safe environments in schools and ensuring students with mental health issues have access to support. The grant is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

*A two-year $100,000 grant, also from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, will train more than 400 professionals to identify and address mental health issues in students of MPS middle schools and high schools. Training, to be conducted through the Milwaukee Project AWARE program, will touch MPS, the Milwaukee Police Department, Rogers Behavioral health System, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, and United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee.

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