Gaggle Speaks

Ideas, news, and advice for K-12 educators and administrators to help create safe learning environments.

Written by Lisa Railton
on August 11, 2021

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) eliminated 49 programs under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), creating one large block grant to increase the ways in which districts could use these education dollars. With the added flexibility, this groundbreaking piece of legislation allows districts to use these funds how they see fit. 

School violence, cyberbullying, and student mental health were all top of mind for the authors of ESSA, who understood that these issues have expanded since the era of NCLB. Because of this, Title IV dollars—the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG)—can be utilized to ensure both the mental and physical safety of every student. At least 20% of a district’s Title IV funds must go to safe and healthy schools, and an additional 20% is required to go toward a well-rounded education. The remaining 60% is free to be used on any priorities that fall within the three categories of the SSAEG to more fluidly address 21st century needs. 

Definitions and uses within Title IV are purposely broad so that educators can use the funds in ways that best support the needs of the district and community. This gives school districts the freedom to use this funding to support student health and safety in ways that make the most sense for their specific needs. Allowable uses for Title IV funding include:

  • Implementing systems and practices to prevent bullying and harassment
  • Establishing or improving dropout prevention
  • Developing relationship-building skills to help improve safety through the recognition and prevention of coercion, violence, or abuse
  • Providing school-based mental health services and counseling
  • Implementing programs that support a healthy, active lifestyle

To learn more about using Title IV dollars to promote student safety and well-being, read our new ESSA: Title IV Funding Guidelines report. Authored by education funding experts Dr. Kecia Ray and Susan Gentz from K20Connect, this resource details the ways districts can benefit from Title IV funding.

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