For Immediate Release
Tuesday, September 28, 2021

ISBE announces $100 million grant to support social-emotional and mental health supports for students and educators

New grant funds partnerships between schools and community organizations to address traumatic impact of COVID-19 pandemic

​SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) announced today a $100 million grant to support the social-emotional well-being and mental health of students and educators. The grant will fund partnerships between school districts and community organizations to address the trauma students and educators have experienced during the pandemic.

The Community Partnership Grant will help engage both schools and community health and services providers in the treatment of students' and educators' mental health needs. The partnership model promotes alignment in identifying and addressing the needs of students and school staff both in and out of school. The partnership model also supports sustainability beyond the initial funding by deepening connections between schools and communities.

“As we work to ensure our students safely return to classrooms for in-person learning, we must also prioritize their mental health, and the mental health of our educators, after an enormously challenging period of isolation," said Governor JB Pritzker. “Through $100 million in funding, this administration aims to put social-emotional support front and center in our schools. By building partnerships between our schools and community providers, we can create opportunities to heal both in and out of the classroom and lift up our communities."

“Students and educators do not leave their trauma at the door when they come to school," said State Superintendent of Education Dr. Carmen I. Ayala. “Trauma and stress change our brains and affect the way we interact with everyday life. The Community Partnership Grant takes a holistic inside- and outside-of-school approach to ensure students and educators have the supports they need to heal from the ongoing pandemic and be successful in teaching and learning. We truly hope this opportunity will provide the foundation to build and sustain lasting partnerships that will benefit our students."

The grant is open to all partnerships between school districts and community organizations statewide but gives priority to high-need school districts (those in Tiers 1 and 2 of the Evidence-Based Funding formula) and partnerships proposing to serve the communities most adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grant recipients will conduct a needs assessment to pinpoint gaps in local trauma-informed practices. Grantees then will design and implement action plans to increase integrated supports and services. Action plans will include supports during and outside of the typical school day, as well as family engagement, and professional learning. Grantees must consider in their planning student voice; substance abuse prevention and treatment; and the specific needs of early learners, LGBQT populations, youth in the state's care, and youth and families experiencing housing insecurity.

Find more information on ISBE's Mental Health webpage. Proposals are due by 5 p.m. Nov. 12.