ESSER III Funds & Safe In-Person Return
Under the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which became law in March 2021, school districts around the country will receive funding to address the impact of COVID-19 on students' academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. This funding is known as "ESSER III."
"ESSER" is short for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief. ESSER III receives its numerical designation from the fact that the ARP ESSER Fund is the third set of COVID-related federal relief grants for schools that Congress has passed since the pandemic began.
ESSER I and ESSER II were established respectively by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act in December 2020.
How Much Money Will ESSER III Provide?
ESSER III will provide nearly $122 billion to state educational agencies and school districts to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s students.
Kirby School District 140 is expected to receive $3,394,032 in ESSER III funds.
How Will District 140 Use Its ESSER III Funds?
As presented at the D140 Board of Education meeting on September 16, 2021, the District plans to use its ESSER III grant money in four major areas:
- Academic Supports
- Social-Emotional Supports
- Health and Safety
- Capital Improvements
For details about District 140's plan for using its ESSER III funds and for returning safely to full in-person instruction, please review the information below.
ARP-ESSER III Funds Use Plan
The information listed below serves as the Kirby School District 140 Funds Use Plan for safely reopening schools and details how funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) will be used by the District. This plan focuses on four areas - Academic Supports, Social-Emotional Supports, Health/Safety Resources, and Capital Improvements - to ensure the safety of our students and staff as well as address learning loss that may have occurred during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Our plan recognizes that no less than 20% of all ESSER III funds must be used to directly address student learning loss. Funding has been allocated per the law, with budgeted amounts exceeding minimum requirements in all areas. Ongoing updates will be made to this plan in conjunction with amendments to the ESSER III grant and in accordance with the District’s changing needs.
Academic and Social-Emotional Supports
The global pandemic interrupted our instructional model and forced schools to provide instruction in a variety of ways (e.g. remote, hybrid, asynchronous, etc.). As we return to full-time in-person instruction, we will support academic growth and bridge learning gaps resulting from interruption in instruction by allocating ARP-ESSER III funds to:
- Review Student Data
The District will review all relevant and available assessment data to help determine planning for student learning needs.
- Plan for Individualized Student Learning
Teachers will use their collective data to create focused instructional plans for students’ academic and social-emotional needs. Strategic grouping in the classroom will allow students to accelerate their learning through intentional planning and directed feedback.
- Focus on District Student Subgroups
Additional support will be provided for students presenting needs, including our Special Education population, English Language Learners, students receiving intervention services, and our diverse ethnic and socio-economic populations.
- Maintain a Rigorous Mathematics Curriculum
The District will support robust instruction, comprehension of the eight mathematical practices, and increased longevity of mathematics instruction, including professional development for teachers.
- Provide Access to Necessary Resources and Technology
The District is committed to ensuring all students have the materials and resources to succeed, including physical materials, online resources, and technology. Our technology replenishment cycle allows students and staff access to up-to-date equipment. Access to needed resources will be supplied through various funding sources, including the ESSER grant.
- Implement Staffing Adjustments
To ensure students are receiving the attention necessary to combat any learning loss and have the opportunity to accelerate their learning, the District is committed to keeping our class sizes low. Additional staff will be secured at our largest grade levels. This funding for ESSER III will maintain staffing in FY23 supported through ESSER II in FY22.
- Provide Extended School Year Summer Program FY23 and FY24
Supporting learners throughout the summer will ensure students maintain skills and are able to review and preview material prior to a new school year.
- Support Summer Enrichment Learning Programs
We will offer summer learning programs free of charge to families and provide online access to literature and literature packs for students. Continued choice reading is a known accelerator for student learning. Providing students with reading materials for the summer helps maintain their instructional reading levels.
- Offer Individualized After-School Tutoring Sessions
Allowing students to meet with teachers in a small group setting allows more individualized attention to help them acquire knowledge that may have been difficult for them in the classroom. Direct student/teacher interaction provides students key instruction to support their learning.
- Provide Staff Professional Development
Providing professional development for our teachers is vital in sustaining the level of instruction we deliver to our students. Topics range from technology integration, understanding of pedagogy and instructional strategies, and supporting our student’s social and emotional well-being.
- Support Staff Curriculum Work in Priority Standards and Vertical Articulation
Staff collaboration to align standards and resources is crucial in our schools. Staff will work through unit planning and assessment development to ensure students are supported and challenged in the classroom.
The onset of COVID-19 presented unique challenges in the school environment. As we return to full in-person instruction, we’ve implemented additional safety measures which require personnel support. ARP-ESSER III funds will support the hiring of an additional nurse and additional crossing guards.
ESSER III funds provide school districts with the opportunity to address capital improvements that may help bridge the digital divide, improve the learning environment, or make schools safer for students and staff. As we return to full-time in-person instruction, we will purchase supplemental materials for all curriculum areas, including flexible seating furniture for Project Lead the Way classrooms and additional flexible seating to reduce sharing of materials and promote robust student learning experiences.