State Educational Agencies Encouraged To Apply for GSEM Program

August 8, 2018 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

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school-bus-1468791With the almost never-ending stories in the news about school shootings and other school-related violence, the importance of having a school emergency management plan is becoming a must. States can play an important role in ensuring that developing such plans on the local level is achieved to protect the health and well-being of students and faculty within these schools.

That’s why we’re encouraging states to apply for grant funding under a recently announced notice of funding availability (NOFO) from the U.S. Department of Education, which is awarding 16 grants worth a total of $8 million in federal fiscal year 2018 funding to eligible states under the Grants to States for School Emergency Management (GSEM) program (CFDA 84.184Q). The application deadline is Sept. 4.

The GSEM program provides grants to state educational agencies (SEAs) to help them assist local educational agencies (LEAs) by providing training and technical assistance in the development and implementation of high-quality school emergency operations plans (EOPs). According to the NOFA: “By having plans in place to keep students and staff safe, schools play a key role in taking preventive and protective measures to stop an emergency from occurring or reduce its impact. High-quality school EOPs can make our schools safer by supporting efforts to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from all threats and hazards, both natural and man-made. The GSEM program will help schools address violence and foster safer school environments by increasing the capacity of SEAs to assist LEAs in the development, implementation and review of high-quality and comprehensive school EOPs.”

ED cited a 2016 report from the Government Accountability Office that found that out of 51 SEAs, more than 60 percent required their LEAs to have EOPs and conduct emergency exercises, yet fewer than half of those states said that they also required their state to review these local school plans. Additionally, an estimated 59 percent of surveyed LEAs reported having limited resources available to implement and sustain emergency management planning efforts, thus reinforcing the value of state and federal support.

Awards will range from $250,000 to $750,000 per year for up to five years. The NOFA provides specific application review information and award priorities. For all of us with family members attending the nation’s schools, it could offer some level of comfort to know that their local schools have an emergency response plan. Hopefully, ED will get an overwhelming response from SEAs to this recent NOFO.

Let us know your reaction to this program. We’d love to hear from you.


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