Learn How States Plan to Use Federal Pandemic Relief Funds

States and school districts around the country are seeing the influx of American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds. The U.S. Department of Education recently approved plans from 11 states and Washington, D.C. for using the funds to safely reopen and sustain  the operation of schools, and address the needs of students, including equitably expanding opportunity for students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this year, the department distributed two thirds of the ARP ESSER funds, totaling $81 billion, to 50 states and the District of Columbia. The remaining third of the funding to states will be made available once their plans are approved.

Here’s some information about how Arkansas, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Washington D.C. plan to use their ARP ESSER funds:

  • Arkansas will use its $418 million to support  Arkansas Tutoring Corps that will create a system to recruit, prepare, and support candidates to become qualified tutors who provide instruction or intervention to meet the needs of at-risk learners or students most impacted by lost instructional time.
  • Massachusetts will use a portion of its $611 million in ARP ESSER funds to help schools fund Acceleration Academies this summer (2021), which will allow students to learn and build skills working intensively on one subject in small, hands-on learning environments with excellent teachers.
  • Ohio’s $1.4 billion in ARP ESSER funds will build and implement a multi-year plan to reach students impacted by the pandemic. In addition, the state’s plan includes developing trauma-informed and culturally responsive practices to meet students’ academic, social, and emotional needs when they reengage in learning by responding to mental health data from the Ohio Healthy Youth Environments survey.
  • Oklahoma’s plan for its $498 million in relief funds includes partnering with state colleges and universities for a Math Tutoring Corps to help address middle and high school learning disruptions due to the pandemic as well as implementing evidence-based summer learning afterschool programs. In addition, the state will use its funds to hire new school counselors, mental health professionals, and recreational therapists.
  • Oregon will invest its $374 million in ARP ESSER funds to safely reopen schools in partnership with the Oregon Health Authority, developing the Ready Schools Safe Learners (RSSL) Guidance. It is also investing in evidence-based interventions to support accelerated learning.
  • Rhode Island’s $138 million in ARP ESSER funds will significantly expand summer learning options statewide through its All-Course Network platform, which provides free instruction to students on topics ranging from AP classes to animation courses.
  • South Dakota will spend its $127 million in federal relief for education to focus on strategies designed to engage and re-engage students who may have missed out on instruction and educational opportunities over the last year.
  • Texas plans to use its $4 billion in  ARP ESSER funds to address the academic impact of lost instructional time for Texas students and to offer high-dosage tutoring, high-quality instructional material. The funding will also support job-embedded professional learning for teachers and other school personnel.
  • Utah will award $205 million in ARP ESSER funds for evidence-based summer learning and afterschool programming through a competitive grant process to both districts and community-based organizations that support students’ academic, social and emotional, and mental health needs.
  • Tennessee will use its $830 million in ARP ESSER funds to support high-dosage tutoring using a statewide tutoring model called Tennessee Accelerating Literacy and Learning Corps. In addition, it will invest in summer learning and afterschool programs through a partnership with PBS and the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network.
  • Washington, D.C.’s $128 million in ARP ESSER funds will provide Out of School Time grants to enable community-based organizations to provide summer learning programs designed to improve academic performance through evidence-based interventions.
  • West Virginia will spend its $254 million to support the implementation of a Roadmap-to-Recovery that outlines how schools will operate during the COVID-19 pandemic, including a campaign for high school students to get vaccinated. The state will also implement evidence-based interventions to address the impact of lost instructional time on students, including meeting the needs of students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

These 12 plans illustrate a variety of creative approaches to safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most, particularly those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As these states implement their ARP ESSER funding plans and other states receive approval, they will need support and services from the greater education community. You can learn even more about how the federal funding pandemic relief is being distributed from MDR’s MarketView.

Source: U.S. Department of Education Press Releases