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Minnesota will receive $10.5 million in federal funds to help high-need school districts create safer and healthier learning environments, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.

The award is part of a $1 billion aid package made possible by federal legislation approved in the wake of a school shooting in May in Uvalde, Texas.

"We have years of evidence that demonstrate the value of building safe and supportive schools," U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a news release that highlighted action taken by St. Paul Public Schools.

That district's measures include efforts to hire 32 counselors, social workers and psychologists, and to partner with community organizations to provide mental health support for students.

"We're developing a really deep capacity for how to best meet the emerging needs of students and families, and embrace our communities," Superintendent Joe Gothard said in a news conference Thursday.

Gothard also cited district policies to make schools more inclusive, including a recent school board vote allowing individuals or groups to burn sage and other Native American medicines in ceremonies across the district — a practice known as smudging.

He added he also would like to see the state's second-largest district expand its work to steer fourth- and fifth-graders from chemical use and violence.

The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act calls upon the state Department of Education to distribute the $10.5 million to high-need districts on a competitive basis.