How States Plan to Use Federal Pandemic Relief Funds, Part 2

The U.S. Department of Education recently approved 21 state plans for use of their American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds. These states join 11 others and Washington, D.C. whose plans were approved earlier this year. The plans detail how each state is using and plans to use ARP ESSER funds to safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and equitably expand learning opportunities.  Many states already invested this money in summer learning opportunities to help mitigate learning loss that may have occurred over the past year. Here are some highlights of how the recently approved states plan to use this influx of federal money moving forward:

  • Alabama will use a portion of its $674 million to support improved mental and social emotional health, hiring nurses, counselors, social workers, psychologists, and other support professionals.
  • Alaska plans to spend some of its $119 million to support districts, community-based organizations, tribal organizations, and other non-profits in implementing evidence-based reading instruction for grades K-5, to provide educators with professional development in the science of reading, and to make high quality instructional resources and activities available to all students statewide.
  • Connecticut plans to invest its $369 million in high-quality instructional materials made available on its Open Education Resources portal; two digital platforms to support learning acceleration and credit recovery; high dosage tutoring to support students with specific learning disabilities; and expanded pathways to educator certification.
  • Delaware plans to use a portion of its $137 million to extend its Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Wellbeing plan to provide districts and schools with resources to identify and provide interventions to students who may be experiencing mental health challenges.
  • Georgia’s $1.4 billion will support schools by increasing bandwidth, infrastructure, and equipment for students and educators; creating and curating standards-aligned instructional resources and courses; and providing responsive and relevant professional learning.
  • Hawaii plans to use its $137 million to implement high dosage tutoring, extended learning time, academic coaching, opportunities for credit recovery/remediation, and an accelerated personalized learning program.
  • Illinois will dedicate a portion of its $1.6 billion to closing the digital divide, building on its efforts to ensure all school districts can equip each student with their own computer. The state will also offer competitive grants to schools and community-based organizations to create partnerships to support the social emotional and mental health needs of students and staff.
  • Indiana is investing its $666 million in evidence-based interventions to address the impact of lost instructional time, summer learning, and afterschool programs.
  • Iowa is using its $258 million to support the implementation of evidence-based interventions and practices that accelerate learning.
  • Kansas’ $277 million will support the implementation of interventions to mitigate the academic impact of lost instructional time, including focusing on the science of teaching language and literacy skills, standards-based mathematics instruction, social-emotional learning, screening and progress monitoring, and evaluation of learning progress toward achievement of state curricular standards.
  • Kentucky will use a portion of its $611 million to offer professional development in literacy instruction for educators and staff and to increase student and teacher access to high-quality instructional resources.
  • Louisiana will allocate some of its $870 million to address the impact of lost instructional time through a discretionary grant process that prioritizes students most impacted by the pandemic. The state’s plan emphasizes accelerating learning which connects unfinished instruction to new learning rather than remediation and includes tutoring in reading and math.
  • Minnesota will award a portion of its $441 million to districts and charters to address the academic impact of lost instructional time. Districts and charters will be required to select and implement evidence-based practices focused on the needs of underserved students, including those who have missed the most in-person instruction and did not consistently participate in remote instruction.
  • Montana allocated funds from its  $127 million to school districts to invest in evidence-based programs and provide tools to help school districts decide how to select interventions.
  • New Jersey plans to use a portion of its $923 million to establish an “Acceleration Coach and Educator Support” formula grant to support district implementation of professional learning for staff to help better understand learning acceleration and interventions.
  • New Mexico will use its $327 million to support strategies to accelerate learning, such professional learning on academic acceleration, communities of practice for educators and administrators, high-dosage tutoring programs, and peer-to-peer tutoring and mentoring.
  • New York will spend its $3 billion to address the academic impact of lost instructional time and expand afterschool programs as subgrants to 398 high-need school districts. A portion of funds will also invest in early learning through a new full-day prekindergarten program for four-year olds and the expansion of existing programs.
  • North Dakota is partnering with the North Dakota Department of Human Services to use a portion of its $101 million to offer high-quality, well-resourced classrooms for four-year-olds through grants of $120,000 to public, private, and religious organizations.
  • Pennsylvania allocated its $1.6 billion for evidence-based interventions to address the academic and other impacts of lost instructional time and as subgrant to districts and local education agencies to meet its goals, with an emphasis on social, emotional, and mental health supports; professional development and technical assistance to educators, support staff, school leaders, and health professionals; and reading support and improvement for students.
  • South Carolina plans to provide training and instructional materials to schools where 33 percent or more of third graders scored in the lowest performance level on the 2019 state summative reading or language arts assessment with some of its $705 million.

Forty-six states submitted plans for ARP-ESSER funds to the U.S. Department of Education; with 32 now approved. As the other states’ plans are approved, we will keep you updated. Meanwhile, 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