Lawrence school district wins $532,509 Stronger Connections grant

photo by: Mike Yoder

Cynthia Johnson

The Kansas State Department of Education announced 13 Kansas school districts, including Lawrence, as Stronger Connections grant recipients.

KSDE awarded the Lawrence district a three-year $532,509 grant, effective through 2026, to support its strategic plan priority of providing safe and supportive schools.

In 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which provided $1 billion in funding to state educational agencies. Congress provided Kansas with $6,190,622 for local award grants.

The Lawrence district will use its funds to provide teachers with professional learning around classroom management and restorative practices, and to support students and families with chronic absenteeism, behavior issues and other barriers to learning, per a news release Tuesday.

Cynthia Johnson, the district’s executive director of inclusion, engagement, and belonging, served as chief author of the grant.

The funds will be used to hire two certified staff behavior support facilitators to support elementary, middle and high school building administrators, teachers and staff with training and to provide resources to students and families.

The grant also includes a community partnership component. Raintree Montessori School and Veritas Christian School, both private schools in Lawrence, will participate in grant activities. The district also will partner with the University of Kansas Achievement and Assessment Institute in the administration and evaluation of implementation plans and with other community organizations, including DCCCA, to provide training and resources.

“We are certainly excited to receive this grant to support our scholars, staff, and schools,” Superintendent Anthony Lewis said. “I appreciate Dr. Johnson and other district team members who were pivotal in submitting this grant and our partners at KU who helped us tremendously with our application.”


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