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  • February 13, 2024 8:39 AM | Anonymous

    Highmark Foundation now accepting applications for 2024-2025 school grants program

    Jan. 29, 2024 | PITTSBURGH

    PITTSBURGH (Jan. 29, 2024) — The Highmark Foundation is now accepting applications for its 2024-2025 School Grants Program, which will make available up to $500,000 for school grades K-12 in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The goal of this ongoing program is to create healthier school environments that result in positive, sustainable, and lasting change through comprehensive strategies.

    "This multifaceted program equips schools with resources that develop healthier and safer school environments," said Highmark Foundation President Yvonne Cook. "The Highmark Foundation recognizes the value of early intervention and preventive health programs and appreciates the vital role schools play to promote students' health, safety, education, and well-being."

    Public, private, parochial, charter schools, and vocational high schools throughout West Virginia and Pennsylvania are invited to apply for the following offerings of the Highmark Foundation's School Grants Program:

    Physical Health

    Schools are an important contributor to physical health, not only because they are where students spend majority of their days, but they are also the setting for health education, physical education, and breakfast and lunch meals. All of these contribute to strong physical health and help individuals develop lifelong healthy habits.

    Highmark Foundation will provide grants up to $7,500 for programmatic activities including (but not limited to):

    • Increasing physical activity
    • Healthy eating and nutrition education
    • Improving personal hygiene habits
    • Health promotion and disease prevention education

    School-Based Health

    Numerous studies have linked school-based health care to educational and health-related outcomes. Schools can contribute to increased use of vaccination and preventive services, reduced asthma morbidity, fewer emergency department visits and hospital admissions, and lower illegal substance use and alcohol consumption.

    Social Health

    Recognizing that social health factors are an important part of a person's overall health, programs under this category seek to connect students and families to the services and supports they need outside of the school community to be healthy. Highmark Foundation will provide grants up to $7,500 for programmatic activities including (but not limited to):

    • Food security initiatives
    • Social-emotional learning and school connectedness programs
    • Housing and homelessness interventions

    Entering its twelfth year, the Highmark Foundation's School Grants Program has provided more than $4.2 million to help bring about healthy changes in schools in Highmark Foundation's service region.

    The link to the online application can be found at https://highmarkfoundationrfp.versaic.com.

    About About Highmark Foundation

    The Highmark Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) private, charitable organization dedicated to improving the health, wellbeing, and quality of life for individuals who reside in the communities served by Highmark, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. We fulfill our missing by awarding high-impact grants to charitable organizations that implement evidence-based programs aimed at improving community health. Central to the Foundation's mission is identifying and continuously reevaluating our region's prevailing health care needs. By doing so, the Foundation remains at the forefront of those needs, well-equipped to pinpoint the issues that more urgently need support.

    In 2021, two new restricted funds were established at the Highmark Foundation — the Highmark West Virginia Charitable Fund for Health and the United Concordia Dental Charitable Fund. These funds support the ongoing work of the Highmark Foundation across its footprint and beyond.

    For more information, visit www.highmarkfoundation.org and follow the Highmark Foundation on LinkedIn.


    Bethany Ross
    Highmark Health

  • February 12, 2024 8:13 PM | Anonymous

    We’re starting our countdown to the Highmark Bright Blue Futures Community Day at the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Hunt Armory. Through our partnership with the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation, we are thrilled to bring this free event to the community. Join us for a fun morning of skating, games, music, and more as we celebrate the third year of the Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Hunt Armory on Saturday, March 2nd.

    The event is free, but registration is required:  Click here to register today

  • February 10, 2024 7:51 AM | Anonymous

    With more women than ever responsible for their financial well-being – and the financial well-being of their families – it’s critical that women know how to save and plan for their future.

    • Women control one-third of total U.S. household financial assets–more than $10 trillion.
    • By 2022, women will control more than 60% of the wealth in the U.S. 
    • According to Forbes Community Voice, 95% of U.S. women are either solely or jointly responsible for household decisions.

    Horace Mann is a long-time corporate supporter. Join one of their Women and Retirement workshops, designed to empower your future through financial education.

    Register today!

    Hope to see you there!

    The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered a recommendation, investment, tax or legal advice.

  • January 31, 2024 10:57 AM | Anonymous

    Hey Digital Change Makers,

    With so many new trends and challenges popping up on social media, it can be overwhelming to keep up with everything your students are engaging with online. This month’s email update has all you need to keep up-to-date on top social media crazes and what to keep your eye out for online.

    ANNOUNCEMENT: It’s not too late to register for the Digital4Good Summit on February 5th, 2024! Watch live project showcases by youth leaders, dive into interactive discussions with Google, and learn how YOU can help make the digital world a safer place. You won’t want to miss our most exciting and inspiring event of the year. Register for FREE to host a watch party for your classroom or school HERE.

    Our Train the Trainer Program is going very well this year in school districts. If you would love to learn more on how you could organize for your community of schools, please reach out. Information HERE.

    Feel free to copy and paste the above paragraph into your newsletter to spread the word! Now, let’s dive into some of the top trends your students are talking about today.

    What’s Hot 

    Top Platform/App: Yubo

    Nicknamed “Tinder for Teens,” Yubo was designed to help preteens and teens make friends online. Users can exchange messages and video chat after “swiping right” on each other. 

    Hit Soundtrack: “Made for Me” by Muni Long

    This R&B song that has been trending on TikTok for a month is about finding the person that completes and understands you.

    Viral Challenge Alert: “Made for Me Challenge”

    Muni Long, a popular R&B artist, recently sang her new song “Made for Me” at the Soul Train Awards. A user dubbed “Blue Pajama Girl” has turned the song into a viral dance challenge on TikTok. 

    Youth Tech & Social Media Insights

    Key Study Spotlight: “An Artificial Therapist (Manage Your Life Online) to Support the Mental Health of Youth: Co-Design and Case Series”

    Most participants (aged 16-24) had a positive experience using Manage Your Life Online (MYLO) and found it easy to use, with high usability ratingsMYLO effectively adapted its questioning based on user input, resulting in a significant decrease in problem-related distress and improved self-reported conflict resolution tendencies, suggesting its potential as a valuable tool for users in managing their mental health.

    Risky Business: Sugar Moms/Dads

    Sugar moms/dads are defined as the people who solicit things from younger individuals in return for money. The National Library of Medicine illustrates the dangerous intentions of these people and illustrates that youth should automatically block any and all accounts these messages are sent from.

    Dating Violence & Mental Health

    Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Response w/ SafeBAE

    Discover groundbreaking strategies in teen dating violence prevention with SafeBAE. This insightful session for educators, students, and parents highlights the critical link between dating violence and teen mental health, drawing on findings from the CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Participants will explore SafeBAE's innovative resources, including their comprehensive educational materials, alternative justice solutions, and free youth programs, all aimed at creating safer school environments. Register for this FREE event here.

    Thanks for being a part of the Digital4Good family!


    Kim Karr

  • January 22, 2024 8:11 PM | Anonymous

    Show you care with life insurance

    It’s not always easy to say, “I love you.” Sometimes your actions can speak louder than your words, though. Like cooking dinner, planning a special trip, or buying life insurance. Yes, you read that right. Purchasing life insurance tells your loved ones you care so much about them that you want to help them be financially secure, even if you’re gone.

    So if you really want to say “I love you” through your actions, it’s time to purchase life insurance, or review your current coverage. Horace Mann is a long-time corporate supporter. Contact your local Horace Mann representative today for an appointment and a free life insurance needs analysis.

    Horace Mann Life Insurance company underwrites Horace Mann life insurance products. The information provided here is for general informational purposes only, and should not be considered a recommendation or investment, tax or legal advice.

    Horace Mann Service Corporation and certain of its affiliates (Horace Mann) enter into agreements with educational associations where Horace Mann pays the association to provide services aimed at familiarizing association members with the Horace Mann brand, products or services. For more information, email your inquiry to association.relations@horacemann.com.

    EML-00271 (Dec. 23)

  • December 17, 2023 5:50 PM | Anonymous

    Check out this great story for the season from partner, The HYDE Institute:  https://www.thoughtsoncharacter.com/discovery-story-1-never-too-young

  • December 08, 2023 7:49 AM | Anonymous

    Testimonials That Inspire: Meet educators who were once in your shoes, grappling with escalating discipline issues. They took a stand, implemented our digital literacy strategies, and witnessed a phenomenal transformation in their schools.

    Dramatic Turnaround: Imagine a school where students are not only disciplined but also digitally savvy and responsible. These are not just dreams; they are realities being lived by educators who dared to make a change.

    The Ripple Effect: Beyond better behavior in classrooms, these educators saw an uplifting change in the entire school culture. A harmonious environment where respect and responsibility are the norms, not the exceptions.

    The upcoming webinar on Wednesday, 12/13 at 12:30 PM PST is your gateway to this transformation. Hear firsthand from these educators and learn how you can replicate their success in your school.

    Remember, the cost of inaction is far greater than the effort of taking this crucial step. Be the change-maker your school desperately needs.

    Register Today

  • December 06, 2023 6:47 AM | Anonymous

    Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education
    Don Eichhorn Schools To Watch 2023-24


    Mechanicsburg, PA - Eleven exemplary Middle Grades Schools in Pennsylvania have been recognized as PA Don Eichhorn Schools: “Schools to Watch” (PA STW) as part of a recognition program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. In partnership with the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Education (PAMLE), Kutztown University, and the Horace Mann Service Corporation, PA STW has been recognizing schools since 2006-07. The Pennsylvania “Schools to Watch” leadership team has announced that the following schools have met the strict STW criteria and have been recognized:

    New Schools

    • Beaver Area Middle School in the Beaver Area SD – Beaver, PA
    • Dorseyville Middle School in the Fox Chapel SD – Pittsburgh, PA
    • Eastern York Middle School, in the Eastern York SD - Wrightsville, PA

    Re-designated for the 1st time. This school was originally recognized four years ago.

    • West Hempfield Middle School, Hempfield Area SD - Irwin, PA

    Re-designated for the 3rd time – This school was first recognized nine years ago

    • Central Valley Middle School, Central Valley SD – Monaca, PA

    Re-designated for the 4th time. These schools were originally recognized twelve years ago.

    • Cambria Heights Middle School, Cambria Heights SD – Patton, PA
    • Canon-McMillan Middle School, Canon-McMillan SD – Canonsburg, PA
    • Kennett Middle School, Kennett Consolidated SD – Landenberg, PA
    • Souderton Charter School Collaborative – Souderton, PA
    • Titusville Middle School, Titusville Area SD, Titusville, PA

    Re-designated for the 5th time – This school was originally recognized 15 years ago

    • Avonworth Middle School, Avonworth SD - Pittsburgh, PA

    These 11 schools join 38 other Pennsylvania middle-grades schools previously recognized and still active in the STW process. Since our beginning in 2006-07 we have recognized 62 schools across Pennsylvania. Schools opt out of the STW program for multiple reasons. These eleven schools will be recognized at the Pennsylvania Association for Middle Level Educations State Conference on February 24, 25 & 26, 2024, at the Crowne Plaza in King of Prussia. Each of these schools will have a local celebration in either May or June of 2024 in their school. They will also be recognized nationally with all the other recognized STW schools across the country in Washington DC at the National Forum’s National Schools to Watch Conference on June 20-22, 2024.

    PA STW State leaders selected each school for its Academic Excellence, Developmental Responsiveness, Social Equity and Organizational Structures and Processes. In addition, each school has strong leadership, teachers who work together to improve curriculum and instruction, and a commitment to assessment and accountability to bring about continuous improvement. Bruce Vosburgh, PA State STW Director, stated, “We congratulate these schools for being places that do great things for all of their students. These schools demonstrate that high-performing middle grades schools are places that focus on academic growth and achievement. They are also places that recognize the importance of meeting the needs of all of their students and ensure that every child has access to a challenging, high-quality education. These schools have proven that it is possible to overcome barriers to achieve excellence, and any middle-level school in any state can truly learn from their examples.”

    The Schools to Watch selection process is based on a written application that required schools to show how they met criteria developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle Grades Reform. Schools that appeared to meet the criteria were then visited by a state team, which observed classrooms, interviewed administrators, teachers, students, and parents, and looked at achievement data, suspension rates, quality of lessons, and student work.

    Schools are recognized for a three-year period, and at the end of three years they need to re-apply to continue to be recognized as a STW school. They must also demonstrate progress on specific goals in order to be re-designated. Unlike the Blue Ribbon recognition program, “Schools to Watch” requires schools to not just identify strengths, but to also focus on areas for continuous improvement; thus the three year re-designation. The re-designation process is based on the schools continued growth since their last STW recognition.

    Launched in 1999, Schools to Watch began as a national program to identify middle-grades schools across the country that were meeting or exceeding 37 researched based criteria developed by the National Forum. The Forum developed a website https://www.middlegradesforum.org/ that features online tours of schools, as well as detailed information about the selection criteria used in the recognition program. There are now 17 states across the country, which have trained Schools to Watch State Teams, with more than 650 schools recognized across the country.

    The National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform began as an alliance of 65 educators, researchers, national associations, and officers of professional organizations and foundations dedicated to improving education in the middle grades.

    Information about the STW program can be found on the website of the National Forum as well as on the PAMLE website.


    Contact person:

    Bruce Vosburgh, Director, PA STW

  • November 19, 2023 12:21 PM | Anonymous

    Hey PAMLE friends! Check out this great new book, Teaching Joy, about creating a joyful middle school classroom, recommended by #PAMLE22 keynote speaker, Kelly Weaver! A great gift, just in time for the holidays!


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