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

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.

SEL In Practice: Suite360 & Marion Schools
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Limited time offer — Grants available for Michigan schools

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.

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.

To register and to apply for the grant, schools should fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Award decisions are being made on a rolling, first-come, first-served basis.


    1. For Michigan districts or schools only.
    2. For new districts/schools not currently using Suite360.
    3. Each grant given can be used for the $1,000 customization program outlined below. It does not include the Intervention & Restorative Justice program (an additional $2,000 cost per building).
    4. Schools must implement with fidelity* by following the recommended scope and sequence for optimal student outcomes.

*Implementing with fidelity means deploying one lesson per week for the remainder of the school year.


This webinar introduces the grant program and demonstrates how the Michigan Cares dashboard works.

Customization options

Because the Michigan Cares portal has been paid for by the state, there are additional features available to schools and districts through this grant opportunity:

The evidence for SEL is crystal clear

The evidence is increasingly clear that students benefit greatly from an education that goes beyond academics to foster their social & emotional development.

Research shows that a focus on SEL leads to dramatic improvements in academic performance, student behavior, and lifetime outcomes. In fact, a 2015 study from Columbia University found an average return-on-investment of 11:1 for evidence-based SEL programs.

Student outcomes​

The digital lessons available cover a variety of topics that help children in grades K-12 learn to:

  • Understand and manage their emotions
  • Set and achieve positive goals
  • Feel and show empathy for others
  • Establish and maintain positive relationships
  • Make responsible decisions
  • Recognize signs of poor mental health in themselves and others
  • Develop healthy coping techniques

CASEL alignment

All lessons are evidence-backed, with much of the content aligned with the standards developed by the National Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) and mapped to the grade-specific learning objectives published by various federal and state education boards.


Lessons can be accessed across devices (browser-based, mobile-friendly, and includes free app for students to download).

Over 600 grade-appropriate lessons!

Five programs to customize

There are a few different programs developed by Evolution Labs that you can choose from when customizing your school or district’s mental health program, including:

Student Programming

Character development and social emotional learning program for students

Parent Programming

Support programming for parents to equip them to be your school's ally by addressing social and emotional issues at home

Staff Programming

Support programming that equips staff with SEL strategies, talking points, and professional development.

Mental Health & Prevention Programming

Support programming that addresses tough mental health and safety topics and helps students understand what to do if they or someone they care about experiences symptoms of a mental health problem.

Intervention & Restorative Practices Programming

Intervention and restorative justice programming for students who commit infractions. Schools can add this customized program onto their bundle for an additional $2,000 per building.
additional fee

Add on a restorative justice program for an additional $2,000 per building​

Educators and legislators now recognize that detention and suspension do not positively impact student behavior — and in many cases reward bad behavior. This programming enables educators to assign lessons to students related to their infraction. Professionally developed around a discipline matrix, lessons cover a wide range of infractions, helping kids learn from their actions and reduce recidivism. The healthiest and most effective way to address challenging behavior is to approach each incident as a learning opportunity and an exercise in empathy.

You can add intervention & restorative justice programming onto your customized bundle for an additional $2,000 per building.

How two Michigan school districts use this programming

Curious what this programming might look like in action? See how Port Huron Schools and Marion Public Schools implemented evidence-based SEL and restorative justice programs in their schools.

Don't miss out — Apply for a grant today!

Are you interested in applying for our grant to customize a data-driven SEL program for your school/district? Fill out the form below and one of our representatives will reach out to you soon.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

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.