$100,000 grant for Michigan schools to expand state SEL and mental health offering for students and parents

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LANSING, Mich. — At a time when children’s mental health is paramount, schools now have an opportunity to utilize expanded online services and functionality building upon a free statewide social-emotional learning (SEL) program launched earlier this year. The new grant is made possible by Evolution Labs in partnership with Michigan Virtual.

Using Federal GEERS dollars, the Whitmer Administration funded Michigan Cares earlier this year to offer educators and Michigan families — children, teachers, and parents alike — free digital lessons focused on developing social, emotional, and mental wellbeing skills, which have become especially important in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. While the lessons have been available for free since April, this new grant program is made possible through additional resources from Evolution Labs in partnership with Michigan Virtual to ensure greater functionality so school administrators can add local student rostering to assign, monitor and track the use of these free lessons.

Michigan schools are required to deliver social and emotional learning to students, a skillset which has become especially critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. This grant program is designed to help schools deploy a local social and emotional learning program remotely to their students by using an effective, quality, turnkey systems approach for students, teachers, and parents.

The COVID-19 pandemic has an emotional impact on everyone. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes the stress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the fear and anxiety that many are feeling, children included. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, while a child’s reaction to a crisis may vary widely depending on their individual experience, children and adolescents are especially emotionally vulnerable to their experiences during a disaster.

Michigan Cares, designed by Evolution Labs, is a research and evidence-based social and emotional learning program offered by Michigan Virtual. The student program consists of thousands of educational videos, articles, activities, surveys, heuristics reflections, and lessons on topics critical to students’ mental health, social, emotional, and behavioral needs. The student curriculum is accompanied by companion programs for parents, educators and administrators — including the ability to assign, track and monitor courses so that educators can best support students. Much of the content is aligned with the National Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) standards, and mapped to the grade-specific learning objectives published by various federal and state education boards.

A webinar to introduce the grant program and to demonstrate the Michigan Cares dashboard will be held on Thursday, December 17 at 11 am. To register and to apply for the grant, schools should visit MichiganVirtual.org/SEL-Grants. Award decisions are being made on a rolling, first-come, first-served basis. For more information about Michigan Cares, visit MichiganVirtual.org/MichiganCares.

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About Michigan Virtual

Michigan Virtual™ (formally known as Michigan Virtual University®) provides online courses for Michigan students, professional development for educators and is the parent organization of the Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute®. As a nonprofit organization with more than 20 years of experience, Michigan Virtual is Michigan’s leading voice in online education. Visit us at michiganvirtual.org.

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Keep up with the latest Michigan Virtual has to offer

Limited Course Capacity

We’re sorry to inform you that we have reached capacity for several of our Semester 1 and Trimester 1 courses. You’ll notice when attempting to enroll students in our Student Learning Portal that some courses are unavailable. While we are no longer accepting new enrollments for these courses at this time, many courses continue to remain open for enrollment.

With many students across the state 100% remote, demand for our online courses is greater than ever before. Because every course we offer is taught by a Michigan-certified teacher, this high volume of enrollments has created capacity issues for our teachers who provide each and every student with individual feedback.

While the Michigan Virtual team anticipated and planned for significant increases in student enrollments this Fall, the increased demand we’ve experienced has been unprecedented. As a result, we are taking steps to hire even more part-and full-time teachers to support larger numbers of student enrollments for Semester 2 as well as for Trimester 2 and 3. 

For schools that still need online learning options this year, please fill out the form at the bottom of our virtual pathways page to meet with someone to discuss other solutions. While some of our teacher-led courses are full, we may still have the capacity to help you in upcoming terms or can discuss timing to implement a whole-school or collaborative program in which local teachers from your school/district use our online course content to teach students. We also have free course content and resources available for you to use.

We know this is an incredibly stressful time for all, and we’re sorry if the courses you’re looking for are unavailable. We never want to turn away a student who wants to learn from us. Our top concern, however, is student success, and we have a policy to not take on additional enrollments if we cannot guarantee that all students will have a quality online learning experience. 

We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate the unusually high volume of enrollments we are receiving.