May 18, 2020 – The Georgia Foundation for Public Education and the Innovation Fund Foundation – the philanthropic arms of the Georgia Department of Education and the Governor's Office of Student Achievement, respectively – are awarding $100,000 in COVID-19 Response Fund grants to Georgia districts and schools.
The COVID-19 Response Fund provides grants of up to $10,000 to mitigate the long-term impacts of the pandemic in the following areas: school meals, distance/remote learning services and software, facilities/equipment, mental health services, supplemental learning services, professional learning, and services for at-risk student populations. Schools in low-wealth areas and schools identified for the most intensive state supports (Turnaround-Eligible schools) were given priority points in scoring.
“The selected schools and districts have comprehensive, creative plans to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on their students," GFPE Executive Director Paige Pushkin said. “I congratulate them on their successful applications and look forward to the implementation of their work. The need in this area continues – we received more than 800 high-quality applications – and we welcome partners who would like to continue the investment in Georgia's public schools during this time."
“These programs go beyond education – we feel confident that they will address the consequences of the pandemic in schools, but also in the community," IFF Executive Director Jaclyn Colona said. “The selected schools and districts will use this small investment to make a potentially long-term impact on the lives of students, families, faculty, and the community. This process helped us see just how deep the need is all over the state, and we hope we can share these data with prospective partners in the near future."
The CRF grants will fund a wide variety of projects in response to the pandemic – everything from small-group counseling sessions and other mental health supports to face masks and handwashing stations to virtual summer school and tutoring.
The Georgia Foundation for Public Education and Innovation Fund Foundation are strongly committed to helping schools recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In a separate project, GFPE and IFF partnered with the Georgia Department of Education, Governor's Office of Student Achievement, and AT&T to deploy 448 Wi-Fi rangers to 36 school districts. Click here to learn more.
Click here for more information on GFPE, and here for more information on IFF.
Lyerly Elementary School (Chattooga County Schools) – $10,000 – Mental Health Services
Lyerly Elementary School will use CRF funds to provide small-group counseling sessions for high-risk students to mitigate stress responses to the pandemic. In addition, the school will provide Trauma-Based Responsiveness Intervention professional development to faculty prior to students returning in fall 2020.
Decatur County School District – $10,000 – Supplemental Learning Services
The Decatur County School District will implement an eight-week, virtual summer-school program to provide essential academic supports for targeted students before returning to school in the fall. The summer program will serve kindergarten through twelfth grade students who require remediation based on performance from winter 2020.
International Community School (DeKalb County charter school) – $10,000 – At-Risk Student Populations
International Community School serves students from more than 20 countries. The pandemic and distance learning have presented challenges in serving a diverse student population. The school will use their funds to partner with New American Pathways to source translators and interpreters to communicate more seamlessly with the student body and families. The school will also develop a weekly family newsletter to ensure students and families have access to crucial information during the pandemic and beyond.
Campbell Elementary School (Fulton County Schools) – $10,000 – At-Risk Student Populations
Campbell Elementary School will address the mental health and emotional impacts caused by the pandemic. Specifically, the school will partner with the Atlanta Ballet, South Fulton Dance, Atlanta's Mindfulness Institute, and others to implement a summer program focused on mitigating the stress and trauma caused by the public health crisis.
Gordon County School System – $10,000 – Supplemental Learning Services
The Gordon County School System will implement “Passing the Pandemic: Helping Students Recover," a project which will allow high school students to complete required courses they were unable to complete due to the pandemic. The grant will fund the teachers and materials needed for this extended learning opportunity, which aims to help more than 300 students receive the credits required for graduation.
Jefferson Academy (Jefferson City Schools) – $5,000 – At-Risk Student Populations
Jefferson Academy aims to combat the school's early closure and the summer slide by providing reading material to at-risk students in second through fifth grades. The school will identify at-risk students, select individualized reading materials, and deliver book bags filled with books and instructions for how to log students' reading throughout the summer.
Jefferson County Schools – $10,000 – Professional Learning
As a result of the pandemic, students, families, and faculty have experienced severe mental health and emotional impacts. In response, Jefferson County Schools will implement Resilience Circles, a combination of facilitated face-to-face and virtual professional development experiences for school faculties, over the 2020-2021 school year in partnership with the Georgia Leadership Institute for School Improvement (GLISI).
Marietta City Schools – $10,000 – Supplemental Learning Services
Although most students from Marietta City Schools have been able to access the district's online learning platform since school buildings closed in March, there are three schools in the district with high populations of economically disadvantaged students and English Learners who have struggled with consistent virtual attendance and coursework completion. The district will employ students from Kennesaw State University's Bagwell College of Education as virtual summer tutors and mentors to encourage remote attendance and course completion for these students.
Mitchell County Elementary School (Mitchell County Schools) – $10,000 – Facilities/Equipment
Mitchell County, identified early as a hotspot in Georgia during the COVID-19 pandemic, will purchase face masks, hand sanitizer, mobile handwashing stations, forehead thermometers, and face shields for the 20202-2021 school year. This grant will provide 355 students and staff with two reusable face masks and increased handwashing options. The school will also use CRF funds to purchase sewing fabric and sewing supplies for students to develop their sewing skills by making recyclable cloth face masks for the student body.
Richmond County School System – $10,000 – At-Risk Student Populations
The Richmond County School System will provide eighth- through twelfth-grade students the opportunity to attend online summer school to recover credits for courses they did not pass in the 2019-2020 school year. In addition, the grant will provide supplemental tutoring services to these students to complement their online summer school coursework.
White County Schools – $5,000 – School Meals
White County Schools' School Nutrition Department, in partnership with the district's Transportation Department, will use CRF funds to deliver breakfast and lunch to students through the end of July, via mobile feeding routes developed in response to the COVID-19 crisis.