“Nothing is easy in education, but they (STOPit Solutions and our ESA) made it very easy to apply for this grant. It was just so nice to be able to go through a process this straightforward.” Kathy Robertson, Support Services and Security administrator, El Dorado Schools District.
School administrators around the country are taking advantage of an exceptional funding opportunity to improve safety and security at their schools and get STOPit’s anonymous reporting system – at no cost. Educational Service Agencies (ESA’s) are not-for-profit cooperatives that pool important resources for member school districts, making them easier to access and more affordable to taxpayers. Thanks to a special partnership between ESA’s and STOPit Solutions, many schools are getting the grant-writing assistance they need to successfully apply for federal STOP School Violence Grant Program funding, for free.
Simple Process. Successful Outcomes.
Kathy Robertston and Melanie Burris, representatives from two school districts that successfully applied for funding, share their experience about the application process and why they chose STOPit.
STOPit: Can you briefly describe the process of working with your ESA and STOPit to secure funding?
“A former coworker of mine from another school district reached out to let us know about the opportunity. We were told about an online demo that we could go through to learn more about STOPit and then follow up with any questions,” says Kathy Robertson, Support Services and Security administrator for the El Dorado (Kansas) Schools District. “After it was over, we jumped right on the opportunity. I had to provide STOPit and the ESA with some basic contact information, some numbers for how many kids are in our schools, and that was about it. We started the whole process on December 5; we got our approval on December 13.”
Melanie Burris, Instructional Supervisor and Federal Programs Coordinator for the Dardanelle (Arkansas) Public Schools, shares a similar experience.
“The process was very easy. The ESA and STOPit worked together on the application, so for us, it wasn’t tedious or time-consuming at all. They handled the bulk of the work – all I had to do was supply some information about our demographics and a few more small details. Whenever I emailed the team with questions, I got immediate responses. We even found out about our grant approval quickly.”
STOPit: Why was implementing an anonymous reporting system like STOPit important for your school district?
“Prior to STOPit, the only option we had was a place that students could go online and fill out a Google survey, and the reports would go to the district’s communications director,” says Robertson. “The State of Kansas also has an anonymous, state-run hotline that students can submit tips to, and that information goes to the State Police, but few kids will use that. We really wanted something more for our district,” she continues. “Something that is customizable and can better accommodate the needs of our students and staff. One very important thing for us is that STOPit has 24-hour monitoring service, so emergencies can be reported day and night, weekend and holidays.”
Burris and her senior administration team had similar reasons for choosing the STOPit app.
“One of the reasons I investigated the tool was that our high school wanted to find a way to allow students to report incidents anonymously. When we learned STOPit was available and we were allowed to try it for free, our principal said, ‘Let’s do it.’,” she says.
“The reporting tools are a big benefit,” Burris continues. “Giving students the ability to report something that they wouldn’t have otherwise – because they know it’s guaranteed to remain anonymous – is a game changer.”
Burris concludes with a note about how COVID-19 has impacted their timetable for launching the tool. But she’s clear that getting started is simple, and they’ve already started training staff to be ready for when students return in the fall.
“We haven’t had the chance to roll it out to students due to COVID-19, but I was able to go through the process of training our principal and assistant principal. STOPit conducted the training with me through Zoom and walked me through all of the different things our schools needed to do to get started. It was straightforward; their customer care team is great, giving us every confidence this will be a tremendous benefit to our kids and school community.”
Thanks to this partnership between STOPit and ESA’s, the process to apply is simple and the rate of success for obtaining funding is high – 100 percent so far.
We do the work. Schools get the grants. Act now.
STOP Act grants are awarded to help schools improve their security by providing the tools to recognize, respond quickly to, and help prevent acts of violence.
Contact STOPit today to learn more about the anonymous reporting platform and how you can work with your regional ESA to implement anonymous reporting in your district, for free.
The deadline to contact STOPit to affirm interest in this opportunity and provide grant input is May 15. The deadline to submit a grant application for the current grants cycle is June 9, 2020.