Superintendent's Notes

Superintendent's Notes


$442K grant funds “Project BEST”

During our recent strategic planning process and further meetings with local school district leadership teams, there seems to be a recurring theme that schools need more support from behavior experts within their buildings. Extremely tight budgets make it difficult to meet this need.

The good news is that the MAISD is in the final stages of hiring two Field Coordinators and a School Climate & Culture Consultant for "Project BEST: Behavior & Environment Scale-up & Technical assistance" initiative. Paid for with a $442,125 annual grant through the U.S. Department of Education, behavior experts with Project BEST will increase and expand support and technical assistance to schools in order to reduce behavior issues, improve student engagement, and raise student achievement. The grant is renewable for up to five years.

The School Climate & Culture Consultant (.67 FTE) will provide direction and management for Project BEST including training and support of the field coordinators, program implementation, budgeting, and federal grant reporting. [On a side note, this person will also serve as our MAISD Health Consultant (.33 FTE).] The Project Best Field Coordinators will deliver ongoing, in-school building support to build district capacity to fully implement and sustain the very BEST learning environments for students.

Initially, our Project BEST crew will be working directly with Muskegon and Mona Shores Public Schools, with plans for rolling the project out into more schools over time. They will be training teachers and school leaders, putting supports in place, and then stepping back and provide coaching.

The MAISD was one of three in the state to receive the competitive grant known as the "School Climate Transformation Grant" and one of 71 in the nation. The grant requires that schools implement an evidence-based, "multi-tiered behavioral framework" which is aligned with the Michigan Department of Education guidelines. Our consultants have already been providing schools with assistance for Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) focusing on positive behavior and social/emotional supports for several years. However, this grant will boost that work by making these behavior experts available inside local school buildings.

This grant and Project BEST are truly a gift to our students, teachers, and school leaders. We look forward to reporting the results back to all of you.

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Dr. John Severson
Muskegon Area ISD Superintendent