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New grant money will improve school climate at multiple Big Bend schools

Posted at 6:26 PM, Oct 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-21 18:26:29-04

(WTXL) — A multi-million dollar grant aims to improve the quality of life of some high need schools in Gadsden County and the surrounding areas.

It's a way to enhance important programs for children that otherwise may not get it.

Panhandle Area Educational Consortium (PAEC) and the Gadsden County School District were just awarded a 2019 School Climate Transformation Grant through the U.S. Department of Education. \

The project is called Elevate Rural Florida and the grant is for $3.5 million to be dispersed over five years to 16 schools. The money benefits the students and teachers of Gadsden, Liberty, Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, and Taylor School Districts.

Some of the many goals of the program include increasing mental health support and student, educator, and family engagement, decreasing rates of student substance abuse, depression, and anxiety, and improving academic performance.

"Many of our students suffer from stressors or toxic stress as we know it now and we want to make sure that our children have the opportunity to get the help that they need," said Dr. Maria Pouncey, Admin. of Instructional Services at PAEC.

13,000 children will be served through the grant and 700 instructional and leadership staff will receive professional development and coaching.

For a full list of schools benefiting from the grant, click here.