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Superintendent Arntzen opens stronger connections grant for healthy students

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News from OPI

HELENA — Superintendent Elsie Arntzen is opening the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) Stronger Connections Grant Program on March 27 through Montana’s digital Egrants system. In June 2022 the federal congressional BSCA awarded the Office of Public Instruction (OPI) $4.8 million in additional funding for Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This one-time funding is in addition to the federal Title IV, Part A funding already allocated to the Montana OPI. Title IV Part A is also known as Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE). The SSAE program is intended to improve students’ academic achievement by increasing the capacity of state educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and local communities to provide all students with: 

- Access to a well-rounded education 

- Improve school conditions for student learning, safe and healthy students 

- Effective use of technology to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy of all students

“Supporting the mental health needs of our students through my Montana Hope initiative has been my top priority,” said Superintendent Elsie Arntzen. “Montana ranks near the top in the nation for teen suicide rates. Our school families and our community families are willing to address the needs of our children. This grant will help our most high-needs schools care for their students.”

The Stronger Connections Grant aims to provide funding for high-needs Montana schools to develop, implement, and evaluate a comprehensive approach that prioritizes physical and emotional safety for their school community. The competitive subgrant is open from March 27 to May 1 at 4 p.m. Schools will have the opportunity to apply for a minimum of $10,000 and a total of $175,000 per year for two years. Notification of awards will be sent to schools on July 1. 

For more information contact Paige Sedahl at or

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