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Chamberlain Middle School awarded $205,500 grant

CHAMBERLAIN — More than $1.1 million will be invested in South Dakota's public school districts to advance social and emotional skills among students and teachers alike. The Chamberlain MIddle School is one of eight recipients of the Social and Emotional Innovation Programs (SEL) grant that is awarded by the South Dakota Department of Education and will receive $205,000.

Deb Johnson, superintendent of Chamberlain School District, partnered with Chelsey Tyrell, Chamberlain K-12 counselor, and Rick Pearson, Chamberlain Middle School principal, to complete the application process for the grant in August. Tyrell and Pearson will be the project managers of the programs.

"The funds will be used over the next three years to work with all the middle school students and staff to move the school in to a very supportive and successful learning environment. Educators and students will learn more about managing their emotions and how to set and achieve goals," Johnson said.

The SEL programs teach self-awareness, self-management, relationship skills, social awareness and responsible decision making. The grant money can also be used to give teachers the chance to attend seminars at the national, state and regional level.

"The Chamberlain Elementary School already uses the Second step SEL program and now we can purchase it for the middle school," Johnson said.

The Second Step SEL uses a holistic approach that creates a more empathetic society by providing educators, families, and the larger community tools to enable them to take an active role in the social-emotional growth of today's children.

With the implementation of this program, Johnson hopes to increase attendance and reduce absences due to risky or disruptive behaviors, and plans to track situations that are observed in the Chamberlain School District.

"We could have received up to $225,000 but requested a little bit less, because that is all we needed," Johnson said.

The Superintendent has already informed the School Board and sent notices to the local media in Chamberlain, so they could share in the excitement of receiving the SEL grant

Besides Chamberlain, the following South Dakota public schools received SEL grants:

• Bennett County Middle School : $452,175

• Eagle Butte Upper Elementary : $225,000

• Elementary Immersion Center, Sioux Falls: $83,314

• Hawthorne Elementary, Sioux Falls: $165,640

• Hayward Elementary, Sioux Falls: $108,616

• Laura B. Anderson Elementary, Sioux Falls: $183,278

• Martin Grade School: $87,929