Dear FWSU Community,

Today, I’m reaching out with a request for feedback!

FWSU has been allocated $2,175,544 in ESSER III grant funds as part of the American Rescue Plan. We have engaged a variety of stakeholders to be able to share some possible investments with these funds. The survey at the bottom of this post will ask for some demographic information, the degree to which you support a specific investment, and a place to share additional considerations for these funds. 

A Little Context

ESSER funds are intended to “prepare for, prevent, and respond” to COVID-19 and there is a broad, but definitive list of allowable costs that school districts must follow. The US Department of Education states that these funds are intended, “to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operations of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s students,” with a special emphasis on meeting the needs of underserved student groups and those most significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Limitations:

  • FWSU must reserve at least 20% of funds to address “learning loss” through the implementation of evidence-based interventions and ensure that those interventions respond to students’ social, emotional, and academic needs and address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on underrepresented student subgroups (each major racial and ethnic group, children from low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, gender, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care).
  • FWSU should treat the funds as non-recurring, emergency aid and avoid building in programmatic costs that may not be sustainable after the period of performance ends.

Opportunities:

  • Funds can be used for:
    • Facilities:
      • Preparing schools for reopening
      • Testing, repairing, and upgrading projects to improve air quality in school buildings
      • Training and professional development on sanitizing and minimizing the spread of infectious diseases
      • Purchasing sanitation and cleaning supplies
      • Repairing and improving school facilities to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards
      • Improving indoor air quality

Limitations & Opportunities for ESSER III

  • Academic:
    • Addressing learning loss
    • Purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, connectivity, assistive technology, and adaptive equipment) for students that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including students from low-income families and children with disabilities
    • Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental after-school programs
    • Hiring new staff and avoiding layoffs
  • Social/Emotional:
    • Addressing the needs of children from low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth
    • Planning for or implementing activities during long-term closures, including providing meals to eligible students and providing technology for online learning
    • Providing mental health services and supports, including through the implementation of evidence-based full-service community schools and the hiring of counselors

Additional Information

Once we have reviewed and synthesized all of the feedback we will be updating our public spending plan. This plan can be found on the FWSU Website under the ESSER Tab. 

Please consider sharing your feedback with us by completing this survey.

Link to survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfqGtd69avUmMxlyEsEWTMnD_KYAMT-U5j_Nuy_SofDDwcXLw/viewform?usp=sf_link

Thank you for your partnership.

Best,

Scott Thompson
Director of Curriculum


Scott Thompson is the Director of Curriculum of Franklin West Supervisory Union and is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow him on Twitter @Stboatervt

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