JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas –
The Randolph Field Independent School District has received
a $1.25 million grant from the Department of Defense that will focus on efforts
to support the social and emotional needs of military students.
The Department of Defense Education Activity Educational
Partnership grant will allow the district to provide programs for students at
the elementary, middle and high school campuses, said Susan Bendele, RFISD
Bendele said those programs include peer tutoring, student
clubs, family support and behavior management.
Eighty percent of the school district’s 1,350 students, from
pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, are children of an active-duty service member,
Bendele said. Through the grant, Bendele said the district is providing
resources for all students in the district, including those who are new and
those whose parents are being deployed or on temporary duty.
“Military families have a very strong support network, but
there’s always more need than can be met,” Bendele said. “Our hope is to
provide a really strong additional level of support for military families and
their kids. In general, just for their emotional health and wellbeing.”
Bendele said there are already student support clubs at the
elementary, middle and high school campuses and that the district is hoping to
expand those student support groups through the grant. She said programs with
family support activities could include field trips.
“When you look at the mobility of military kids adjusting to
new schools and new friends, we really wanted to say it’s not always just about
academics,” Bendele said. “It’s really
about the whole child and how we can help in a broader sense.”
The behavior management aspect of the grant will include
programs for helping special needs children, teaching children how to act in a
social environment and how to handle their emotions, Bendele said.
Also, Bendele said, the grant will provide professional
development for teachers, counselors and district staff to learn how they can
best support children.
“What we hope for is that kids who are feeling emotionally
supported and are socially comfortable will make better students,” Bendele
Bendele said the grant is for five years and that the
district plans to start offering programs and services through the grant during
the current school year.
The grant is the third one the Department of Defense
Education Activity Educational Partnership has awarded RFISD since 2009.
Bendele said the first two grants were focused on improving academic
This year the Department of Defense Education Activity
Educational Partnership awarded 56 grants that supported 298 schools in the
U.S. with significant military-connected student populations. The total for all
the grants is $63 million.
The grants help fund projects including those for science,
technology, engineering and math, supporting the social and emotional needs of
military students, encouraging parental involvement and opportunities for
students to study strategic languages.