Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,000,000)
Hillsborough County, which approximates the size of Rhode Island, includes Tampa, a large urban city, and several outlying municipalities. With over 1,512,000 people, the county is economically, ethnically, and linguistically diverse, with 29.6% of families speaking a language other than English. Serving this region is Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS), the 7th largest school district in the nation with over 220,000 students across 306 school sites. The district’s population is geographically diverse, with farming areas, suburbs, and a dense urban core. Nearly two-thirds (60.0%) of students are classified as economically disadvantaged (eligible for free and reduced-price meals), as compared to the state average of 54.4%. Recent trends in violent crimes, both in the community at large and localized in certain schools, are troubling. HCPS recognizes that early intervention through the provision of training to teachers and school staff and education to students is needed to help prevent school violence. Children who are socially and emotionally competent have the skills to successfully manage their emotions and behavior, cooperate with others, form positive relationships, and make responsible decisions (Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning, 2007). To prevent school violence in early childhood and beyond at six targeted elementary school sites, HCPS proposes to utilize grant funds to contract with 7 Mindsets, a Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) program provider, in order to both train teachers and school staff on program implementation and facilitate strengthened student SEL skills. As a result, HPCS anticipates these students will better manage their own behavior and responses and avoid engaging in bullying, addiction, and interpersonal violence.