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Thirty-five schools take first step in Iowa Department of Education’s Safe and Supportive grant initiative

DES MOINES – Thirty-five Iowa high schools, including Solon High School and Clear Creek Amana High School, partnered with the Iowa Department of Education to work on solutions to eliminate barriers to learning, including bullying and substance abuse.
Iowa is one of 11 states to be chosen for the prestigious federal grant to participate in the Safe and Supportive program. Nearly $14 million will be spent in Iowa over the next four years to support efforts that will measure and improve statewide conditions for learning, which include school safety, student engagement in school, and the overall school environment.
This spring, the Iowa Department of Education asked students, parents and faculty at the high schools to fill out a confidential survey.  The survey focused on issues ranging from student safety to student relationships with other students and adults, to whether students have adequate resources in their schools. 
“We look forward to embarking on this new, groundbreaking program,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Jason Glass.  “For the first time, we will measure conditions for learning by surveying the real experts – students, parents and faculty.”
After the initial survey is scored, 80 percent of the grant funding will be used for direct support of the schools that show the greatest opportunity for improvement.  The Iowa Department of Education will provide resources and work with those schools to implement activities that improve conditions for learning.
Information will be gathered each year for four years.  By the fourth year, the final survey will show the nation how much progress Iowa has made in improving conditions for learning. 
“It’s our responsibility to offer Iowa students our support and give them the best environment we can for them to learn and succeed,” continued Director Glass.  “In doing so, we will once again reclaim our status as the national leader in education.”
High schools were randomly selected across the state and agreed to participate in the survey.
To receive online updates, visit these social networks:
Facebook:  http://on.fb.me/SafeSupportiveSchoolsIowa.
Twitter:  http://twitter.com/SafeSupportIowa.