Press Room NEWSLETTERS
April 19, 2019

ED Review... a bi-weekly update on U.S. Department of Education activities relevant to the Intergovernmental and Corporate community and other stakeholders

What's inside...
School Climate Resources Guide
Secretary's Travel Log
State Education Leadership Conference
Funding Opportunities
Financial Aid Offers
Odds and Ends
Quote to Note
Upcoming Events

School Climate Resources Guide

School Climate Resources Guide

Acting on the recommendations of the Federal Commission on School Safety, Secretary DeVos announced the "Parent and Educator Guide to School Climate Resources." This guide, produced jointly by the Department's Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) and Office for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), provides best practices and resources that parents and educators can utilize as they work to achieve a positive school climate, lower disciplinary issues, and enhance school safety.

"We know that fostering a positive school climate is critical to the well-being, safety, and long-term success of all students," the Secretary said. "In the absence of a safe and positive learning environment, a student may feel disconnected, disregard consequences, and engage in bullying or other destructive behaviors.  As teachers and school leaders assess the unique needs of their school communities, we hope this guide helps them make the decisions that are right for their students and also provides parents and guardians with effective tools to support teachers in making those decisions."

The question-and-answer document provides parents and educators with useful decision-making frameworks and implementation tools, as well as best practices that school leaders can consider as they work to foster positive and inclusive learning environments.  Examples from schools across the country illustrate the various interventions communities are employing to enhance student behavior and achievement.  With recent research highlighting the importance of evaluating school climate through a range of indicators, the guide also features diagnostic tools so educators can collect and utilize data to drive their climate improvement strategy.

Additionally, the document provides information for teachers and school leaders on how they can receive support from the Department's two technical assistance centers dedicated to promoting safe and supportive schools: theNational Center of Safe and Supportive Learning Environments and the Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavioral Interventions and Sup­ports.

Moreover, the guide includes an appendix of resources spanning the work of government agencies and private organizations.

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Secretary's Travel Log

Secretary's Travel Log

Last week, Secretary DeVos traveled to Fairfield Township, Ohio, to participate in Butler Tech's Manufacturing Recognition and Signing Day.  The day recognized and celebrated students who will be graduating and entering the workforce.  Following the ceremony, during which she delivered remarks, the Secretary toured a manufacturing classroom and heard directly from students who have benefitted from the institution's learning opportunities (photos and video).

This week, the Secretary traveled to Kentucky and was joined by Governor Matt Bevin and Commissioner of Education Wayne Lewis for two events.  First, in Lexington, they hosted a roundtable discussion with more than 20 families, educators, stakeholders, and elected officials on school choice in the state and how Education Freedom Scholarships (EFS) could help expand education options (press release).  Second, in Benton, they announced a second Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant for the Marshall County School District, to assist in ongoing recovery efforts following the January 23, 2018, shooting at Marshall County High School (press release).

Before her trips, the Secretary joined a roundtable discussion with the Department's Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE) and Vera Institute of Justice on the Second Chance Pell experimental site initiative(see also Frequently Asked Questions), participated in a fireside chat at the Council of Chief State School Officers' (CCSSO) Legislative Conference, testified before the House of Representatives' Committee on Education and Labor, and, joined by U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, who is sponsoring EFS legislation, participated in a fireside chat at the Reagan Institute Summit on Education.

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State Education Leadership Conference

State Education Leadership Conference

On April 10, the Department hosted a State Education Leadership Conference for key Georgia education officials (readout).  This was the first in a series of meetings the agency plans to host that gives state and local leaders the opportunity to engage with senior Department officials on a wide range of education-related topics.  Participants discussed issues important to Georgians, including the Secretary's Education Freedom Scholarship proposal, efforts to improve school safety, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) implementation, Higher Education Act (HEA) reauthorization, and Perkins transition plans, among other shared topics of interest.

"Throughout her tenure in office, Secretary Betsy DeVos has been an ardent supporter of federalism and for empowering state and local leaders to have more local control over the education of their students," stated Deputy Secretary Mitchell Zais, who presided over the meeting.  "The State Education Leadership Conference series is one of the ways in which the Department is realizing the Secretary's vision, allowing state and local decisions-makers important access to staff and resources at the federal level.  I look forward to deepening our relationship with Georgia and many other states over the course of the next two years."

For some quick facts about Georgia's education system, check out the infographic created for the event.

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Funding Opportunities

Don't miss these newly issued Notices Inviting Applications (NIAs) for grant competitions.

  • Comprehensive Centers Program.  This program supports the establishment of not less than 20 Comprehensive Centers to provide capacity-building services to state educational agencies (SEAs), regional educational agencies (REAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and schools that improve educational outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, and improve the quality of instruction.  Eligible applicants include research organizations, agencies, higher education institutions, or partnerships among such entities or individuals with the demonstrated ability or capacity to carry out the activities described in the notice.  Applications are due by May 24.
  • Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program.  This program supports the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education through the provision of campus-based child care services.  Eligible applicants are institutions of higher education that awarded a total of $250,000 or more of Federal Pell Grants during Fiscal Year 2018 to students enrolled at the institution.  Applications are due by May 31.
  • Perkins Innovation and Modernization Grant Program.  This program aims to identify, support, and rigorously evaluate evidence-based and innovative strategies and activities to improve and modernize career and technical education (CTE) and ensure workforce skills taught within federally funded CTE programs align with labor market needs.  Eligible applicants are Perkins Act formula funding sub-recipients (e.g., LEAs and community colleges), as well as certain consortia.  At least 25% of available grant aid must be awarded to rural areas, if a sufficient number of high-quality applications are received from rural communities.  There will be a pre-application webinar on April 25 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time.  Applications will be accepted through June 14.

Also, today is the deadline to apply to serve as a peer reviewer for the Comprehensive Centers Program grant competition. The Department will cover travel expenses and per diem, and selected reviewers will receive an honorarium. Please send your resume (up to five pages) and contact information (phone and email) to compcenterspeerreview@ed.gov.

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Financial Aid Offers

In recognition of National Financial Capability Month, the Department's Office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) issued guidance on what colleges and universities should avoid when issuing financial aid offers.  (For example, avoid calling financial aid offers "awards" or "letters."  Neither loans nor work-study are awards.  Using such terms as "financial aid offers" or "college financing" is clearer.)  FSA feels strongly that avoiding certain things will improve the clarity, transparency, and understandability of financial aid offers for students and families.  When students and families understand financial aid offers, they make informed decisions that help increase college enrollment, persistence, completion, and successful repayment of student loans.

For students and parents, the Department's Homeroom blog offers "5 Things to Know When Evaluating a Financial Aid Offer."

Another Homeroom blog tackles "Student Loan Forgiveness (and Other Ways the Government Can Help You Repay Your Loans)."

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Odds and Ends

  • On April 4, the Department's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) provided an update on the judicial decision regarding significant disproportionality.
  • In celebration of Month of the Military Child, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Frank Brogan attended Lackland, Texas, Independent School District's Purple Up Parade, honoring military-connected children who serve through the sacrifices made by their families.
  • The Department published the list of semifinalists for the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, which honors some of the nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors.
  • The Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) and the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics recently issued "Indicators of School Crime and Safety, 2018," the 21st in a series of annual publications, with a spotlight section covering youth opioid use, perceptions of bullying, and active shooter incidents in educational settings.
  • On April 9, the Department published the consensus language to revise federal regulations governing college accreditation, state approval of online colleges, religious institutions, competency-based education, and TEACH grants.  (Note: The agency will yet propose the rules and solicit public comment.)
  • Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross presented five U.S. organizations, including the Alamo Colleges District in San Antonio, Texas, with the Malcom Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation's presidential award for performance excellence and innovation.
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Quote to Note

"I am encouraged to see leaders like [Kentucky] Governor [Matt] Bevin and Commissioner [of Education Wayne] Lewis working to expand education opportunities in their state.  They are dedicated to rethinking education and improving outcomes for all students.  During our roundtable, we received great feedback on our Education Freedom Scholarships proposal.  If passed, Kentucky could receive up to $72 million for scholarships for students.  These funds could be used for a myriad of opportunities, including access to apprenticeship programs, summer and after-school education programs, or transportation to and out of district public schools.  The sky is truly the limit as [Kentucky] leaders…assess their students' needs and how best to utilize this additional money to meet those needs."

        Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (4/17/19), touting Education Freedom Scholarships' potential in Kentucky

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Upcoming Events

On Monday, April 22, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon ET, the Department will livestream the plenary session of its special convening for Second Chance Month, entitled "Rethinking Correctional and Reentry Education: A Second Chance at Learning."  This session will include remarks by Deputy Secretary Zais, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, and others.  The goal of the convening is to promote an exchange of innovative ideas among state and local leaders and underscore federal resources supporting these activities.

Then, on April 24, from 2 to 3 p.m. ET, FSA will host a webinar for college access professionals about how to use social media to promote Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) completion for students and families.

Teach to Lead's "Whole Child, Whole Teachers Summit," September 19-21 in Salt Lake City, Utah, will bring together teacher leaders and other stakeholders to address the comprehensive needs of children and teachers in an effort to transition from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement to one that promotes the long-term development and success of all children, as well as the well-being of all teachers.  Any teacher leader with an actionable idea is encouraged to apply here no later than 11:59 p.m. ET on May 17.  Accepted ideas will be notified the week of June 10.

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Last Modified: 04/22/2019