To help school districts across the nation rebuild after the pandemic the federal government established several rounds of stimulus funding. The first two rounds of funding provided resources to the Anchorage Independent School District that assisted with preventing COVID-19 transmission and with providing the resources and staffing needed during the pandemic to provide quality virtual instruction and when possible, safe in-person instruction. The next round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding, following the enactment of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), is by far the largest, and will provide up to $212,923 to Anchorage Independent School District.
As we plan for expending available ARP ESSER funding in a manner that will make the needed impact for students we need stakeholder input from our staff, parents, students and community members! To collect that input we are providing three opportunities as follows:
- Coffee and Conversation with the Anchorage Superintendent and Principal, July 6, 2021, 8:30 a.m. in the school library (please use back library entrance).
- Anchorage Stakeholder ARP ESSER Survey due July 8, 2021.
- School Board Working Meeting, July 12, at 8:00 a.m. in the APS library (please use back library entrance). All those attending that would like the opportunity to speak to provide input into development of the school district’s ARP ESSER Plan will be provided the opportunity to do so.
The School Board will consider approval of a plan at their July 26, 2021 regular meeting which begins at 7:00 p.m. in the school library. Community members are welcome to attend. If you would like to sign-up to speak at the meeting, please complete the form at the following link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050448aaad2babfc1-board.
To help inform your input, we have assembled the following “Fast Facts” that pertain to ARP ESSER allowable expenditures and timelines:
- May be used for eligible costs dating back to March 12, 2020.
- Must be obligated by September 30, 2023.
- No less than twenty percent ($42,585) must be spent to address learning loss through implementing evidence-based interventions (summer learning, extended day, or after-school programs). These programs must respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs, and they must address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on underrepresented student subgroups.
- The following areas, taken directly from guidance received by the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), are eligible for expenditures:
- Any activity authorized by the ESEA of 1965, including the Native Hawaiian Education Act and the Alaska Native Educational Equity, Support and Assistance Act (20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.) (‘‘IDEA’’), the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq.), the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 (20 U.S.C. 2301 et seq.) (‘‘the Perkins Act’’) or subtitle B of Title VII of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11431 et seq.).
- Coordination of preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies with state, local, tribal and territorial public health departments and other relevant agencies to improve coordinated responses among such entities to prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus.
- Providing principals and other school leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their individual schools.
- Activities to address the unique needs of low-income children or students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness and foster care youth, including how outreach and service delivery will meet the needs of each population.
- Developing and implementing procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of local educational agencies.
- Training and professional development for staff of the local educational agency on sanitation and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases.
- Purchasing supplies to sanitize and clean the facilities of a local educational agency, including buildings operated by such agency.
- Planning for and coordinating during long-term closures, including how to provide meals to eligible students, technology for online learning to all students, guidance for carrying out requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 U.S.C. 1401 et seq.), and how to ensure other educational services can continue to be provided consistent with all federal, state and local requirements.
- Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software and connectivity) for students who are served by the local educational agency that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including low-income students and students with disabilities, which may include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.
- Providing mental health services and supports.
- Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness and children in foster care.
- Addressing learning loss among students, including low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness and children and youth in foster care, of the local educational agency, including by: (A) Administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable to accurately assess students’ academic progress and assists educators in meeting students’ academic needs, including through differentiating instruction. (B) Implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students. (C) Providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment. (D)Tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.
- School facility repairs and improvements to enable operation of schools to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards, and to support student health needs.
- Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and non-mechanical heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems, filtering, purification and other air cleaning, fans, control systems and window and door repair and replacement.
- Other activities that are necessary to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in local educational agencies and continuing to employ existing staff of the local educational agency.
- Developing strategies and implementing public health protocols, including, to the greatest extent practicable, policies in line with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators and other staff.
The eventual narrative that our school district submits along with a budget to KDE to support our plans for expenditure of ARP ESSER funds must address the following areas:
- The extent to which and how funds will be used to implement prevention and mitigation strategies consistent with CDC guidance on reopening schools.
- How the school district will use funds to address the academic impact of lost instructional time through the implementation of evidence-based interventions.
- How the LEA (school district) will spend the remainder of its funds.
- How the LEA (school district) will ensure that interventions address the academic impact of lost instructional time and respond to the academic, social, emotional and mental health needs of all students.
We appreciate your time to study this information and to provide meaningful input to inform our planning efforts. If you have related questions, please email Superintendent Kelley Ransdell, with subject line “APS ESSER Planning” at firstname.lastname@example.org.