Title IV Part A, also known as Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE), is part of the Every Student Succeeds Act reauthorization of the ESEA. The SSAE program is intended to improve students’ academic achievement by increasing the capacity of state educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and local communities to provide all students with: 

  • Access to a well-rounded education 
  • Improve school conditions for student learning, safe and healthy students 
  • Effective use of technology to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy of all students


Stronger Connections Grant (SCG)

Anticipated Timeline

May 2nd - Grant closed for 40% Free and Reduced Lunch. 

May 31st - Grant reopened at 7:00 AM for all schools. See Grant Guidance for qualifications. 

June 20th - Grant closed for all schools at 4:00 PM, no late submissions accepted.

July 1st - Grants graded by individual readers and scores turned in.

July 11th - Award letters sent out to districts. 

July 12th - Districts accept Stronger Connections Grant awards on EGrants. 

Grant Overview

The Stronger Connections grant aims to provide funding for Montana LEAs to develop, implement and evaluate a comprehensive approach that prioritizes physical and emotional safety for their unique school community (SEC. 4108 [20 U.S.C. 7118]). Funded activities and practices should prioritize safety, create a sense of belonging, implement trauma-responsive approaches, and teach positive behaviors to provide safe and supportive learning environments that improve academic achievement and the well-being of students. Read the full Grant Guidance and template document to learn more! All frequently asked questions will be answered on the FAQ document

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Title IV Part A Resources

Title IV-A Grant Application Information

Title IV-A E-grants Application Instructions

2023-2024 ESEA Consolidated Application

  • Will open on July 1st 
    • Application created by September 1, 2023
    • Application submitted by Sept. 30, 2023
    • Final Approved Application by Oct. 31, 2023
  • Last day to create amendments: Sept 1, 2024
  • Last day to obligate funds: Sept 30, 2024
  • Last day to liquidate funds: Oct  31, 2024
  • Final Expenditure Reports Due: Nov 8, 2024

2022-2023 ESEA Consolidated Application

  • Now Closed
    • Application created by September 1, 2022
    • Application submitted by Sept. 30, 2022
    • Final Approved Application by Oct. 31, 2022
  • Last day to create amendments: Sept 1, 2023
  • Last day to obligate funds: Sept 30, 2023
  • Last day to liquidate funds: Oct  31, 2023
  • Final Expenditure Reports Due: Nov 10, 2023

Safe & Healthy Students

Ensuring all students are healthy and feel safe and supported is central to the shared work across programs. Research shows that when schools and districts effectively focus on creating a safe, healthy, and supportive environment, students are more likely to engage in the curriculum, achieve academically, and develop positive relationships.

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Supporting safe and healthy students with:

Supporting Safe Students and Schools Supporting Physical & Mental Health 


Activities that can be considered for pairing with well-rounded education and/or effective use of technology: 

Pairing Activities
  • mentoring and school counseling
  • schoolwide positive behavioral interventions & supports



Montana Safety Rubric: In addition to general safety planning, this document can guide school districts working to prioritize their ESSA Title IV-A funds through a self-assessment of their school’s safety structure including physical, culture and climate, psychological and emotional health before, during, and after an emergency.

Check out the OPI Professional Learning Opportunities Portal for Safe and Healthy Students training opportunities. 

Grant Resources from the University of Montana: Center for Children, Families, and Workforce Development.  The Center wants to help Montana communities apply for grants.  Their resources include a grant search filtered for relevance to Montana, with special emphasis on rural communities.  They also offer a short training to help develop grant writing skills and are able to provide concrete assistance to schools and communities with the grant writing process. 

National School Mental Health Curriculum: Guidance and Best Practices for States, Districts, and Schools. Learn more about a new FREE curriculum for school mental health available in Montana from the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network.  

Well-Rounded Education Programs


Providing all students with access to a well-rounded education as a means of improving academic achievement. Ensuring all students have access to a holistic well-rounded education is central to the shared work across programs.

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Title IV-A supports students with a well-rounded education including programs such as: 

Activity Topics Subjects Within

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

  • increasing access for groups of underrepresented students to high-quality courses
  • supporting participation in nonprofit competitions (e.g. robotics, math competitions, computer programming)
  • providing students hands-on learning and exposure to STEM, including through field-based and service learning; supporting the creation and enhancement of STEM-focused specialty schools
  • facilitating collaboration among programs that take place during the school day and those that take place during out-of-school time to improve the integration of STEM instruction in those programs
  • integrating other academic subjects such as the arts into STEM curricula
Music and Arts
  • dance
  • media arts
  • theater
  • visual arts
Foreign Language Instruction is essential for students to fully participate in today’s global economy and increasingly diverse communities
Accelerated Learning Programs
  • pay for success; i.e.reimbursing low-income students to cover all or part of the costs of AP, IB, or other accelerated learning program examinations
  • increasing the availability of, and enrollment in, AP or IB programs, dual or concurrent enrollment programs, early college high schools, and other accelerated learning options 
  • Counseling, mentoring, or programs that develop study skills and critical thinking 
High School Redesign

with dual or concurrent enrollment and early college high schools:

  • strategies designed to decrease high school drop-out rates
  • to increase high school graduation rates and college-entrance rates
  • redesign what the high school experience can be
Civics Instruction
  • politics and government, including the foundations of the American political system

College and Career Counseling:

Career Pathways

designed to help students make informed and better educational and career choices as they develop personal, social, educational, and career skills:

  • offer students information starting in middle school about how to prepare for college, including the importance of choosing rigorous high school course offerings
  • how to choose from among career options, how to enroll in and receive federal financial aid through the FAFSA
  • how to pursue academic and occupational training needed to succeed in the workplace

help prepare students to transition to college:

  • assistance is provided on identifying postsecondary opportunities that are associated with students’ interests
  • applying for college admissions and obtaining financial aid
  • preparing for college aptitude tests (e.g. SAT and ACT)
Whole Child Skill Development
  • evidenced based practice
  • interventions that build resilience
  • self-control
  • empathy
  • persistence
  • other social and behavioral skills
Environmental Education
  • biology
  • chemistry
  • physics
  • ecology
  • earth science
  • atmospheric science
  • mathematics
  • geography


Check out the OPI Professional Learning Opportunities Portal for Well-Rounded Education training opportunities. 


Effective Use of Technology

Promoting digital literacy of all students and providing professional development to the educators that teach and support them. Ensuring that all students build the capacities necessary for thriving as 21st century learners and workforce contributors. 

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If a district receives Title IV-A SSAE program funds of $30,000 or greater, a portion of the funds must be used for increasing effective use of technology to improve the academic achievement, academic growth, and digital literacy of all students.  

If a district chooses to spend their Title IV-A funds on programs and activities to increase the effectiveness of technology, there is a 15% cap on spending for technology infrastructure (devices, equipment, software and digital content).  This cap applies to all districts*, but only to funds in the effective use of technology area.  *SRSA eligible districts may apply for a waiver to this rule by using "Reap-Flex" within Title IV-A.

Effective Use of Technology purchases fall into these main categories: 

Main Categories Digital Citizenship; Personalized Learning; and Improving Equity for All Learners
Provide Personalized Learning
  • learners use self-assessment and formative feedback to monitor growth
  • reflect on their learning 
  • challenge themselves to reach more rigorous goals
Discover, Adapt & Share High-Quality Resources
  • licensed educational resources
  • full online courses
  • curated digital collections
  • more granular resources such as images, videos, and assessment items
Implement Blended Learning Strategies

formal education that:

  • leverages both technology-based and face-to-face instructional approaches that include an element of online or digital learning
  • combined with supervised learning time
  • student-led learning, in which the elements are connected to provide an integrated learning experience where students are provided some control over time, path, or pace

ongoing professional development on how to implement blended learning projects and to support planning activities:

  • provide initial professional learning for educators on effective blended learning model instruction
  • ongoing collaborative planning time
  • ongoing, job-embedded professional learning opportunities to improve educator practice
  • ongoing opportunities could include access to digital professional learning resources, a collaborative community of practice, and/or coaching
Implement School- & District-wide Approaches

to inform instruction, support teacher collaboration, and personalize learning:

  • create learning communities composed of students
  • fellow educators in schools, museums, libraries, and after-school programs
  • experts in various disciplines around the world; members of community organizations; and families
  • provide personalized professional development so that educators receive tailored, job-embedded support


Resources and Professional Development

Title IV-A Stronger Connections Grant


Through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) of June 2022, the Montana Office of Public Instruction was awarded $4.8 million in additional funding for Title IV, Part A of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This one-time funding is in addition to the Title IV, Part A funding already allocated to the Montana OPI and 95% of these funds will be made available to Local Education Agencies (LEAs) through a competitive sub-grant application. We anticipate the competitive sub-grant application to open in the spring of 2023 for program activities to be implemented in the 2023-25 school years.

Questions, please contact Paige Sedahl, Title IV-A SSAE Program Manager, 406-422-2821.

School Safety Professional Development Grant



OPI Staff are here to help:

Paige Sedahl, Title IV-A SSAE Program Manager - 406.422.2821


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