Broward Schools Receive $3 Million to Fight Middle School Isolation

Broward Schools Receive $3 Million to Fight Middle School Isolation

The Fort Lauderdale-based Community Foundation of Broward has announced a $3 million grant to Broward County Public Schools to address the needs of isolated and struggling middle-school students.

The largest grant in the community foundation's thirty-year history will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the school district, enabling the district over the next three years to place twenty additional staff in ten middle schools, where they will provide social, emotional, and academic support to low-performing students likely to slip under the radar because they aren't defined as "special needs" or "gifted." As part of the program, individual learning plans will be created for each student, and their isolation and disengagement will be addressed through peer-to-peer mentoring, stepped-up efforts to connect them with teachers and counselors, and involvement in external activities.

The program builds on the community foundation's longstanding partnership with the district involving an initiative called School is Cool — Addressing Absenteeism, Behavioral Issues, and Low Course Performance in Reading and Math, which demonstrated that lower-performing students are often isolated, and that isolation often leads to alienation.

"Student learning isn't possible if they aren't present — physically, mentally, and emotionally," said Broward County Public Schools chief academic officer Dan Gohl.

"$6 Million Project to Address Student Isolation in Broward." Community Foundation of Broward Press Release 04/16/2018.