February 23, 2017 - Volume 37 Issue 4


The Highmark Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2017-2018 Creating a Healthy School Environment Grant and Awards Program, which will make available a total of $425,000 for school grades kindergarten through 12 in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The goal of the program is to create healthier school environments that experience positive, sustainable and lasting change through comprehensive strategies.

“The Highmark Foundation recognizes that schools are powerful places to shape the health, safety, education and well-being of children,” Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook said. “As a result, we created a multi-faceted program to provide them with the funding resources they need to create healthier and safer school environments. This strategy is aligned with the Highmark Foundation’s mission, goals and focus that illustrate the effectiveness of early intervention and preventive health programs.”

Public, private, vocational, parochial and charter schools throughout West Virginia and most of Pennsylvania are invited to apply for the three offerings of the Highmark Foundation’s Creating a Healthy School Environment Grant and Awards Program:

  • Building Sustainable and Lasting Changes in Schools grant funding ranges from $5,000-7,500 per school district to support evidence-based programs that address one of four priority areas: bullying prevention, child injury prevention, healthy eating and physical activity, or environmental health. As a requirement for funding, grant recipients must provide measureable pre- and post-program intervention status reports. Application deadline: March 17, 2017.
  • Advancing Excellence in School Nursing awards recognize the important role school nurses play in adolescent health and wellness. Up to eight school nurses will be presented this honor, accompanied by $1,500 to be used for professional development or school resources. Application deadline: March 17, 2017.
  • Meeting Health Needs through Supportive Services grants are part of a strategy to support economically disadvantaged school districts and high-needs schools with financial assistance to meet basic health requests. Child Health and Wellness grants up to $1,000 will be awarded to schools to assist with the purchase of items affecting students’ supportive, social and health needs. School Equipment and Supplies Challenge grants will match up to $2,500 for the purchase of specialized equipment or supplies that enable school nurses to better perform their valuable services. No application deadline.

Now entering its fifth year, the Highmark Foundation’s Creating a Healthy School Environment Grant and Awards Program has provided more than $1.6 million of support to schools in communities served by Highmark, Inc., in Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“We are pleased to continue this grant and awards program for the benefit of our children’s health and education,” Cook said. “We encourage all eligible schools to apply.” 


West Virginia high schools are encouraged to participate in West Virginia Lemonade Day. It is a free educational program designed to teach young people how to start, own and operate their own businesses. Mentorship opportunities are available for high schools that want to participate. A complete list of required partner commitments and other information are available from the West Virginia Lemonade Day Director, Jennifer Wotring, at or 304-296-9021, extension 14.

The West Virginia Department of Education is seeking organizations across the state to help feed children and provide supervised activities during the summer months. When school is out of session during the summer months, community programs and organizations are vital to ensuring children in West Virginia are still receiving the nutrition they need, especially in low-income areas.

County boards of education, local government agencies and other nonprofit organizations can participate in the Summer Food Service Program, which ensures children (ages 18 and under) in lower-income areas continue to receive free, nutritious meals during the summer when they do not have access to the programs that are available to them during the school year, like the School Breakfast Program or National School Lunch Program. Feeding sites often include schools, churches, community centers, pools, parks, libraries, housing complexes and summer camps.

“Supporting summer feeding sites in your community is one of the most important things you can do to ensure no child goes hungry this summer,” state Supt. Michael Martirano said. “Children require consistent, good-quality nutrition for development of their minds and bodies. We want to make certain every child returns to the classroom in the fall ready to learn.”

An average of 178,000 children in West Virginia, about 63 percent of school children, depend on free and reduced-price meals at school, yet only about 10,000 receive the free meals provided by the Summer Food Service Program.

“In 2016, 485 Summer Food Program sites provided nutritious meals to children in West Virginia, and we believe many organizations will renew their commitment for 2017,” Amanda Harrison, executive director of the Office of Child Nutrition, said. “We encourage new organizations in communities all across the state to join us so the number of sites can grow and more children have access to healthy meals.”

Organizations interested in becoming 2017 summer sponsors should contact Cybele Boehm with the Office of Child Nutrition at or by calling (304) 558-2709. Summer sites will be announced in May.

The West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Adult Education has announced funding opportunities for Adult Education programs and Integrated English Language and Civics Education programs in accordance with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, Title II, and Adult Education and Family Literacy Act for fiscal year 2018 (July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018). Application forms and guidance information are available for download on the West Virginia Adult Education website at

Applications will be accepted by mail or email. Applications mailed must be postmarked  by April 7, 2017, and applications emailed must be received by 4:00 p.m. on April 7, 2017, Eastern Time.

Eligible providers must be local educational agencies, community-based organizations or faith-based organizations, volunteer literacy organizations, institutions of higher education, public or private nonprofit agencies, libraries, public housing authorities, nonprofit institutions that is not previously described and have the ability to provide adult education and literacy activities to eligible individuals, consortiums or coalitions of the agencies, organizations, institutions, or libraries as described above, or partnerships between employers and entities described in any of items above.

A technical assistance webinar will be held on March 7. Potential applicants will have the opportunity to ask questions regarding the application. Questions may also be submitted to All questions and responses will be available in the FAQ section on the website.

The purpose of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act is to provide adults with education opportunities to acquire and improve their literacy skills necessary to become self-sufficient and to participate effectively as productive workers, family members, and citizens.

Many teachers take advantage of professional development sites that allow them to earn badges for viewing webinars or engaging in user communities to make better use of tools in their classrooms. A new entry in this field is Apple Education, which is giving teachers the opportunity to learn about iOS and Mac tools and integrate them into their instruction.

The Apple Teacher program, which was introduced in 2016, provides an online portal and a learning community to which teachers can gain access with their Apple identifications through their iTunes accounts. They can earn badges to monitor the tools they master.

The program allows teachers to proceed at their own paces and take quizzes when they are ready. They can find starter guides for overviews with interactive content for each individual tool. By using the starter guides and exploring the tools, teachers can generate ideas for use in their classrooms. Also, by using the #AppleTeacher hashtag, teachers can join a community of educators to share experiences.

The Apple Teacher program is one way that teachers enhance their knowledge and skills beyond what they learn in professional development workshops.

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