Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison and Taylor counties received the money on behalf of the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium Board of Directors and Gadsden County Schools.

CHIPLEY — Six rural school districts in the Florida Panhandle have been awarded a five-year, $3.5 million U.S. Department Education School Climate Transformation grant.

Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison and Taylor counties received the money on behalf of the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium Board of Directors and Gadsden County Schools.

 “We are excited about this opportunity and look forward to providing the services to these schools and communities,” said John Selover, PAEC executive director.

 School climate plays a critical role in the potential success and school experiences of a student. Students who learn in positive learning environments are more likely to improve academically, participate more fully in the classroom and develop skills that will help them be successful in school and in life.

 Recent studies on school climate have focused on the many different elements and indicators of the overall quality of a school’s climate and its relationship to academic and behavioral outcomes.

 Over the five-year period, the climate grant will serve 700 instructional and leadership staff and impact the lives of more than 13,000 K-12 students at 16 schools.

 The three primary goals of the grant include:


Improve school climate through enhanced quality, fidelity, and consistency of Multi-Tiered Support Systems;
Reduce inequities, including racial, socioeconomic and other high-need student disparities in discipline and academic performance, through tiered implementation of culturally responsive evidence-based practices; and
Develop sustainability through family engagement and community partnerships.

Project activities include: providing staff with professional development and technical assistance in implementing MTSS; facilitating job-embedded professional development, coaching, and regional professional learning communities for implementing evidence-based practices, including restorative justice and social-emotional learning; hiring regional, cross-district mental health specialists to support expanded school mental health, safety, and substance abuse prevention activities; integrating academic, behavioral, and social-emotional data for problem solving and decision making; and strengthening connections between schools, families and community service agencies.