Philadelphia Schools Using Federal Funds to Support Students Impacted by Gun Violence

The School District of Philadelphia is allocating ESSER funding toward supporting students and families in schools most affected by gun violence. Schools in these communities will receive greater trauma, mental health, and social-emotional supports. The funding will also help provide multi-faceted and evidence-based school climate programming aimed at fostering strong relationships and building community. By doing so, the district aims to support students’ mental health, build emotional resilience, and develop skill sets required to break the cycle of violence.

We are spotlighting this because it is a timely and thoughtful use of recovery funds given the rise in gun violence nationally and appears to be a thoughtful local response to recent incidents in the Philadelphia community.

Reviewer Analysis

The Education Trust

It’s heartening to see targeted funding towards students most in need, and that the funding is directed towards evidence-based practices that are not focused on hardening schools, but in providing support that research shows is critical for improving safety in schools.

The Rural Alliance

A great use of federal funding. It is a great response to a local community.

Leslie Villegas

To ensure ELs and their families are meaningfully supported through this effort, it is imperative that programming aimed at fostering strong relationships and building community are culturally and linguistically appropriate.


These are crucial supports needed to address the aftermath of violence and it appears as though the district is doing what it can in the context of a community impacted by the ravages of poverty.

Southern Regional Education Board

The idea of addressing the root causes by building community and relationships is innovative. Too often programs focus just on the problem - not the root causes.


We are encouraged that the School District of Philadelphia is investing in the mental health of their students and families. We especially appreciate that the decision to focus these efforts in schools most affected by gun violence was an outcome of feedback from the community.

Jocelyn Pickford

This program seeks to address an urgent local need and has the potential to improve school climate.

New Leaders

Investing funds in supporting students’ mental health and well-being is an encouraging use of funds. The use of evidenced-based practices that focus on relationships and community is also promising.

The Bush Center

Another hedged yes. I appreciate that this specifically addresses local concerns. How does it fit with the investments the district is making in academic recovery?

Results for America

We love that Philadelphia is investing in supports for students’ mental health and well-being and that they are approaching this challenge with a holistic set of strategies.

Have a K-12 Practice You'd Like to See on EduRecoveryHub?

Submit a Practice for Review Today!

Submit a Practice