OCDE seeks applicants for grants to help schools implement social-emotional, academic and behavioral support systems

The Orange County Department of Education is accepting applications from school districts, publicly funded charter schools and county offices of education for the second round of grants designed to address students’ academic, behavioral and social needs as part of the California MTSS initiative.

The $6 million in combined grants will help local education agencies design and implement their own Multi-Tiered System of Support, or MTSS.

MTSS is a comprehensive framework that has been successfully used by numerous schools and districts to identify students who need social-emotional, academic or behavioral support; initiate a response plan; track progress; and make improvements over time. Rather than relying on a single program or practice, MTSS aligns multiple strategies and leverages staff collaboration and data-driven decision-making to help schools increase attendance, prevent dropouts, lower disciplinary rates, improve school climates and boost academic performance.SUMS Logo

In June, OCDE awarded $3.2 million in grants to 105 schools, districts and county offices of education as part of the first round of funding.

“These grants are a critical component of our statewide initiative to scale up MTSS” said Edgar Montes, director of the California MTSS initiative. “The funding enables county offices of education, districts and charter schools to participate in professional learning where these agencies align, reconfigure or streamline their existing system of support to ensure the local needs of all their students are met.”

In April 2016, the California Department of Education awarded OCDE with an initial $10 million in funding, authorizing it to serve as the lead agency to support districts in California as they scale up their MTSS frameworks. The following August, the governor’s budget allocated an additional $20 million to support the scope of work, which includes establishing tiers of trainers.

OCDE is issuing grants in three rounds, with the final application period coming in the months ahead. Applicants may apply for one-time funding of up to $25,000 as a single local education agency, or they can join a consortium of two or more agencies and receive up to $50,000 per application.

Grant recipients will work in concert with OCDE and receive technical support from its partners — these include the Butte County Office of Education and the SWIFT Center at the University of Kansas — to install, implement and sustain MTSS frameworks and scale up evidenced-based practices within their schools. The objective is to build strategies, supports and services that enable all students to succeed while promoting meaningful family and community engagement.

Applications can be found at www.ocde.us/SUMS and must be submitted to OCDE’s Instructional Services Division by 5 p.m. on Oct. 31, 2017. The second round of grant recipients will be announced in December 2017.

For more information, visit www.ocde.us/SUMS.