Press Release

Experts Find Untapped Potential Sources of Federal Funding to Address K-12 Students’ Social and Emotional Development

Contact: Libby Simmons
317- 454-8031

New review identifies 15 programs school districts can explore to support prevention activities such as anti-bullying, school safety, and social and emotional development.

WASHINGTON, DC – In response to increasing demands on school districts to address students’ social and emotional development, researchers from the George Washington University have identified 15 federal education programs that educators could explore to support universal prevention and social and emotional learning, while also promoting academic achievement. 

Highly visible events of violence and bullying on school campuses have heightened interest in helping young people develop the skills to be resilient to trauma and to deal with everyday stressors. Universal prevention and social and emotional development programs help students learn to recognize and manage emotions, solve problems effectively, and establish positive relationships with others.  

“By promoting the social and emotional development of every student, we can create safer school environments and support higher academic achievement,” said Dr. Olga Acosta Price, Director of the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools at the Milken Institute School of Public Health and a co-author of the guide. “The evidence-based programs are out there, but many school districts struggle to identify funding that would allow them to implement and sustain these effective approaches. We want to provide them with a roadmap.” 

In partnership with the Center on Education Policy and with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CHHCS published a user-friendly resource entitled “A Guide to Federal Education Funding that Can Support K-12 Universal Prevention and Social and Emotional Learning Activities.” Informed by the expert input of former U.S. Department of Education officials William Modzeleski and Dana Carr, the guide lists a host of potential funding opportunities authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). Examples of funds already appropriated and available were identified within the Safe and Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act, the Promise Neighborhoods program, and the Elementary and Secondary School Counseling program. 

“Many school district administrators are unaware that a number of U.S. Department of Education programs allow funds to be used to support students’ mental wellbeing,” explained Diane Rentner, Deputy Director of the Center on Education Policy and a co-author of the guide. “School districts need to pursue multiple complimentary funding strategies that build towards a common vision to meet students’ social and emotional development needs.”

The guide also identifies local schools, school districts, and state education agencies that have successfully supported their prevention programs with federal education dollars, such as Carthage Central School District located near Fort Drum Army Base in New York. Through afterschool programs, the highly transient student body is provided with counseling services and life skills coaching, including a family assistance coordinator specifically designated to work with military families. In addition, the 21st Century Community Learning Center at Carthage provides opportunities for credit recovery to students who may have fallen behind due to their multiple relocations from state to state.

Additionally, CHHCS has released an annotated bibliography of significant research regarding the impacts of school-based behavioral and emotional health interventions on student academic performance. “Studies show that students who received a behavioral health intervention exhibited greater academic motivation and commitment to school,” Dr. Price noted. “School-wide interventions correlated with fewer reports of violence, bullying and problem behaviors.”

Educators and school administrators are encouraged to register via the CHHCS website for an upcoming webinar with the authors to learn more about the identified funding opportunities.  


About the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools

The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools is a nonpartisan resource center at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University that builds on a 20-year commitment to achieve better health outcomes for children and adolescents through school-connected health programs and services. CHHCS’s web site,, provides up-to-date information for health professionals, educators, funders, and families to assist in promoting the health of children through school-connected programs. 

About the Center on Education Policy

Based in Washington, D.C., and founded in 1995 by Jack Jennings, the Center on Education Policy at the George Washington University is a national advocate for public education and for more effective public schools. The Center works to help Americans better understand the role of public education in a democracy and the need to improve the academic quality of public schools. The Center does not represent special interests. Instead, it helps citizens make sense of conflicting opinions and perceptions about public education and create conditions that will lead to better public schools. Visit CEP’s homepage for more information:

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. It is striving to build a national culture of health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit Follow the Foundation on Twitter at or on Facebook at

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