The Iowa Department of Education has awarded a total of $5,688,647 in grants to 44 school districts, including a charter school, that will go to creating safer and healthier environments.

The funding comes from the Stronger Connections Grant (SCG), which is a component of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act of 2022, and provides $1 billion in funding for states to distribute to high-need schools under Title IV Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

Proposals that included conducting school safety assessments and creating safety plans, increasing access to integrated student supports, implementing Multi-Tiered Systems of Support or Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, or improving meaningful family engagement opportunities received priority consideration. The grants will also support initiatives to prevent and respond to acts of bullying, violence and harassment that impact school communities at individual and systemic levels.

The districts are:

  • Bedford
  • Burlington
  • Cardinal
  • Cedar Rapids
  • Centerville
  • Chariton
  • Choice Charter
  • Colfax-Mingo
  • Columbus
  • Des Moines
  • Dubuque
  • Fort Dodge
  • Fort Madison
  • Gilmore City Bradgate
  • Graettinger-Terril
  • Greene County
  • Hamburg
  • Hampton Dumont
  • Hartley-Melvin
  • Keokuk
  • Maple Valley-Anthon Oto
  • Marshalltown
  • Mason City
  • Midland
  • Monticello
  • Muscatine
  • Newton
  • Ottumwa
  • Paton Churdan
  • Perry
  • Riverside
  • Ruthven-Ayrshire
  • Saydel
  • Seymour
  • Sheldon
  • Sioux Center
  • South Tama
  • Spencer
  • Storm Lake
  • Waterloo
  • West Monona
  • Westwood
  • Winfield- Mt. Union

Districts had to write an action plan on what they are planning on doing with the grants. Most of the plans submitted by the awarded districts include: hire and/or train student and staff mentors, transition and student success coaches, promote physical fitness, professional development for educators in support of providing safe and supportive learning environments, implementing or enhancing school-wide Multi-Tiered Systems of Supports for students and strategies to improve academic success, strategies to improve student safety, hire critical student support staff, increase parent and family engagement, safety and violence prevention and security equipment.

Grants will be finalized following a 10-business-day appeal period as required by state law. The Notice of Intent to Award letters sent to the school districts today starts the 10-business day-period in which an unsuccessful grantee may file an appeal.

Districts have until Sept. 30, 2026, to use the grants.

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