For Immediate Release 11/17/16


Keith Oswald, Chief Academic Officer
School District of Palm Beach County
Phone: (561) 649-6805

Steven Schauder, Chief Program Officer
Prime Time Palm Beach County, Inc.
Phone: (561) 732-8066


The School District of Palm Beach County and Prime Time Palm Beach County
Receive Wallace Foundation Planning Grant
to Help Students Develop Social and Emotional Skills

The School District of Palm Beach County will partner with Prime Time
Palm Beach County for national Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning initiative.

            The School District of Palm Beach County will share a $400,000 grant with afterschool intermediary Prime Time Palm Beach County a local nonprofit organization dedicated to fostering high quality in out-of-school time (OST) programs. Together, they will devise a plan to help children in Palm Beach County develop positive social and emotional skills that are linked to success in school, career and life. These include abilities and traits such as teamwork, persistence, goal-setting, self-control and getting along with others.

The School District of Palm Beach County and Prime Time Palm Beach County are one of nine community partner pairs nationwide to receive a planning grant. The grants are the first phase in the Partnerships for Social and Emotional Learning initiative, a new, multi-year effort by The Wallace Foundation to better understand how schools and afterschool partners can improve and align experiences and climate to foster children’s social and emotional learning.

A growing body of research, including the Wallace-commissioned University of Chicago study Foundations for Young Adult Success, has linked social and emotional learning – which are known by different terms including non-cognitive skills, character and soft skills – to success in school, career and life. It is not yet known, however, how school and afterschool experiences can be aligned and delivered in real-world, urban settings to help develop these skills.

“There’s tremendous interest in helping children to develop the positive attributes and skills that are associated with well-being in and out of school and many models are being tested,” said Nancy Devine, the director of learning and enrichment at The Wallace Foundation. “We’re interested in exploring how an intentional partnership between school districts and organizations that provide programming during out-of-school hours can benefit young students.”

“We cannot underestimate the importance of social and emotional learning for our students. Creating a positive and supportive school climate is a key theme of our District’s Strategic Plan,” said Palm Beach County Schools Superintendent Robert Avossa, Ed.D. “This grant from the Wallace Foundation, and the support of important community partners such as Prime Time, will allow us to develop a program that we can replicate throughout our school district to ensure our students have the tools they need as they face additional pressures in today’s society.”

“The Wallace Foundation has given Prime Time and the School District an incredible opportunity to come together and plan an initiative that will have a lasting impact on the positive development on our children,” commented Suzette L. Harvey, president/CEO of Prime Time. “Through this planning grant, we will create a unified vision and framework for integrating social and emotional learning into the school day and after school that is synergistic, collaborative and measurable.  This is a true game-charger for how we address the needs of the whole child.”

Through the planning grant period, school districts and afterschool intermediaries will collaborate to improve adult practices that support the development of students’ social and emotional skills. Technical assistance and guidance will be provided to each pair of partners from national experts affiliated with the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality, the Forum for Youth Investment and the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning (CASEL).

The Palm Beach County partners were among 24 districts with high proportions of disadvantaged students that were invited to apply for the planning grant last spring. The foundation drew those candidates from a pool of 145 which were identified by scans and nominations from the field. The initiative builds on The Wallace Foundation’s years of work in youth development, including a dozen-year effort to encourage citywide coordination for afterschool that yielded more than 40 publications, as well as work with urban school districts.

In the next phase, in summer 2017, up to six district-intermediary pairs will be selected from among the nine cities chosen for planning grants to receive three-year implementation grants from Wallace. This phase will also include comprehensive research by The RAND Corporation to provide useful new evidence to the field.

About The School District of Palm Beach County
The School District of Palm Beach County is the eleventh largest in the nation and the fifth largest in the state of Florida with 185 schools, serving more than 183,000 students who speak 150 languages and dialects. As the largest employer in Palm Beach County, the school district has nearly 21,000 employees, including more than 12,000 teachers.

About Prime Time Palm Beach County
Prime Time Palm Beach County’s mission is to foster high quality in out-of-school time (OST) programs, which provide opportunities for children and youth to succeed. Accordingly, Prime Time oversees a system for reaching quality standards through assessment, program improvement planning and quality coaching. It also provides professional development, career advising, and networking opportunities to OST practitioners, and through partnerships, supports a range of enrichment activities available to OST programs countywide.