How State Education Agencies are Leveraging Federal COVID Relief Funds

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Aided by a historic federal investment, state and local education systems are transitioning from responding to the immediate urgency of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to implementing prevention and academic recovery strategies 

Below are examples of how states are leveraging federal emergency relief funds to improve education for all students. You can find information on all of CCSSO's Coronavirus recovery resources here

Investments in Tutoring 

  • Louisiana Invests in Tutoring: Over the next two years, Louisiana is committing up to $40 million in ESSER funds to provide tutoring vouchers for students in grades K-4. The tutoring services will focus on reading and target students who are performing below grade-level. By making vouchers available for students in our youngest grades, parents will be able to choose the right tutoring service provider that meets their unique needs. The goal is that students accelerate learning and strengthen their literacy proficiency.
  • Arkansas Tutoring Corps: The Arkansas Department of Education and the Office of Education Renewal Zones announced the launch of the Arkansas Tutoring Corps to serve the academic needs of students across the state. The goals of the Arkansas Tutoring Corps are three-fold; (1) To build a system of recruiting and training tutors who are equipped to meet the academic needs of students in their geographic area (2) To expand the Arkansas Tutoring Corps across the state and (3) To connect tutors with organizations serving students with academic needs in Arkansas for employment as tutors.
  • District of Columbia Investing in High-Dosage Tutoring: Over the next three years, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education will lead a major $40 million investment in scaling and supporting high-impact tutoring across the District, with a particular focus on at-risk students and other students who have experienced disrupted instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. The investment will be made using a combination of ESSER and other federal stimulus funds.
  • Oklahoma High-Dosage Math Tutoring Program (12/15/2021): The Oklahoma State Department of Education is opening a high-dosage tutoring program to all 8th-grade students in public schools. The Oklahoma Math Tutoring Corps is an initiative funded with approximately $5 million in federal relief funding and will help close pandemic-related gaps in math learning and algebra readiness. 
  • South Carolina Partnership Provides Virtual Tutoring Support to Students (11/22/2021): The South Carolina Department of Education and the South Carolina State Library (SCSL) announced a $1.5 million partnership to address the continuing academic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership will span the next three years and is funded through the American Rescue Plan's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER).
  • Tennessee ‘TN ALL Corps’ Tutoring: The Tennessee Department of Education announced it will invest in TN ALL Corps tutoring supports beginning in the 2020-21 school year through summer 2024 through a grant matching program available to both school districts and community partners. Combining funding that is available at the state, district, and community levels, Tennessee can dramatically increase the amount of learning time children have access to—helping to mitigate learning loss and accelerate student achievement.

Summer Learning Investments 

  • Connecticut Invests in Summer Enrichment Grants (06/13/2022): The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) announced the recipients of the department’s 2022 Summer Enrichment Grant Program, which will deploy over $12 million in CSDE’s federal COVID relief funding to 200 programs delivering high-quality and accessible enrichment opportunities to children. The state initially committed $8 million to the program but increased its investment by an additional $4 million after a large and competitive application pool demonstrated a substantial need. 
  • Missouri Makes Investments in Summer School (05/23/2022): Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is giving grants to school districts to expand summer school throughout the state. Funding is available for school districts and charters that either haven’t provided summer school in the past or have but didn’t claim specific types of state aid for programs last year. In all, the state has reserved about $20 million in federal COVID relief funding for the program relief. Read this NPR story to learn about MO’s ongoing efforts to address learning needs here.
  • Louisiana’s Summer Learning Investments: The Louisiana Department of Education allocated more than $27 million in ARP ESSER funds to school systems to implement high-quality summer learning experiences that include mentor opportunities, extra-curricular activities, and high-dosage tutoring. School systems will use these funds in combination with their formula dollars, to target students most impacted by the pandemic.
  • Missouri Expanding Access to Summer Learning 05/23/2022): The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is distributing grants to school districts to expand summer school throughout the state. School districts and charters that either have not provided summer school in the past or have but did not claim specific types of state aid for programs last year are eligible for this grant funding. DESE reserved about $20 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding for the program.  The St. Louis on the Air radio show highlights on this program here.
  • North Dakota Grants Provide Summer Learning and Fun (05/20/2022): The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction has awarded $200,000 in grants to 11 summer learning programs across the state. The programs will provide everything from reading and mathematics classes to instruction in computer coding, robotics, engineering, music, and theater. Some programs will offer outdoor activities, including rock climbing and hiking. Grants are funded by the Department of Public Instruction’s share of federal education relief funds targeted at supporting COVID-19 student learning recovery.
  • South Carolina Dedicates $14.5 Million to Expand Summer and After-school Programs (04/19/2022): The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) partnered with the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance (SCAA) to provide up to $14.5 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding to expand summer and after-school programs to address COVID-19 related learning loss in disadvantaged communities.  SCDE will provide up to $12 million to SCAA for the expansion of summer and after-school programs in districts and community organizations.  Funding for the first year of the partnership is expected to serve 45 organizations and over 4,000 students. Additionally, $1 million will be provided to support parent programs provided by the Columbia Urban League, and $1.5 million to support after-school programs provided by Wings for Kids.
  • Connecticut to Continue Successful Summer Enrichment Program for Summer 2022 (04/19/2022 The Connecticut State Department of Education is dedicating $8 million of federal relief funding to continue the state’s Summer Enrichment Program in 2022. The program, launched last year, was created to help connect students during the summer months to high-quality enrichment opportunities, including at summer camps, childcare centers, and other similar programs, with a priority for those in towns and communities that were most disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
  • Ohio Provides Summer Learning and Afterschool Program Grants (04/28/2022): The Ohio Department of Education awarded $89 million in Summer Learning and Afterschool Opportunities Grants to 161 community-based partners. Awardees will use these funds to create or expand out-of-school time services that address the academic needs and overall wellbeing of students most in need of services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • North Carolina Summer Program Grants for Student Support: The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Summer Career Accelerator grant program will help fund high-quality, evidence-based learning and workforce-aligned summer programs for students identified as having been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and others. Similarly, the Summer Bridge Academy grant program will help fund high-quality, evidence-based in-person learning and enrichment summer programs. 
  • Connecticut Evaluation Shows Summer Enrichment Grants Helped Reengage Students (03/03/2022): An evaluation on the impact of Connecticut’s 2021 Summer Enrichment Grants shows that the initiative successfully helped reengage thousands of students in time for the return to in-person learning in the fall, following the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during the previous school year.
  • Alabama Summer Reading Camp (02/17/2022): The Alabama State Department of Education is supporting Summer Reading Camps, which are to be offered, at a minimum, to all K-3 students identified with a reading deficiency per the Alabama Literacy Act. Funds appropriated by the American Rescue Plan Act–Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III (ARPA-ESSER III state reserve funds), in support of the Alabama Reading Initiative, will fund Summer Reading Camps based on a per-pupil allocation determined by the number of students of each local education agency who are not proficient on a state-approved reading assessment during the prior academic year.
  • New Hampshire Launches the Second Year of Summer Camp (01/14/2022): The New Hampshire Department of Education is launching its second year of ReKINDling Curiosity, an initiative aimed at ensuring that every child can attend summer camp in 2022.
  • Oklahoma to Cultivate Community Partnerships to Benefit Students (10/06/2021):  The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is using $21 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds over three years to develop and expand high-quality afterschool and summer programs. The OSDE will award competitive grants to schools and community organizations that partner to provide services designed to address students’ academic, social and emotional needs.  
  • New Hampshire Brings Mental Health Support into Summer Camps (06/22/2021): The Department of Education, in collaboration with the Community Behavioral Health Association, is utilizing federal COVID-19 response funds to offer mental health training for camp counselors, as well as be on-site at many camps throughout the state to help with children’s mental health needs.
  • Connecticut Expands Summer Learning (04/21/2021): Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced the allocation of up to $11 million in federal funding for COVID-19 recovery efforts toward the expansion of programs that connect students to high-quality summer enrichment and recreational opportunities, with an emphasis on communities and children who were most impacted by the pandemic. 
     

Competitive/Innovative Grant Programs 

  • Maryland Announces Awards for Innovative Grant Program (06/28/2022):  The Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) is disbursing more than $169 million in federal COVID relief funding to LEAs across the state to directly accelerate learning and seed long-term, sustainable, and transformational change in Maryland school communities. The Initiative offered LEAs the opportunity to propose initiatives and programs across seven, high-leverage strategies rooted in research and evidence-of-best-practice for driving student outcomes, bolstering teacher pipelines, and supporting teacher and staff recruitment and retention. All 24 Maryland School Districts applied to the Maryland Leads program and received an award. The largest awarded program investments are in two strategy areas: Grow Your Own Staff and the Science of Reading.
  • Connecticut Makes Investments in After School Grants (06/22/2022) The Connecticut State Department of Education invested more than $8.7 million of federal COVID relief funding to support 45 after-school programs across the state. Expansion grants will open new free or affordable after-school programs. Enhancement grants will allow existing programs to better meet the increased needs of students and to improve program quality.
  • Ohio Awards $14 Million in Grants to Accelerate K-12 Learning (05/27/2022): The Ohio Department of Education, in partnership with the Ohio Department of Higher Education, awarded $14 million in Statewide Mathematics and Literacy Tutoring Grants to Ohio colleges and universities planning to create or expand mathematics and literacy tutoring programs for Ohio’s K-12 students in one-on-one or small-group settings. These COVID-19 relief grants focus on providing direct services for Ohio students who experienced greater disruptions to learning and did not engage consistently in school during the pandemic.
  • Washington Expands Support for Programs to Support Students (05/26/2022): The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s (OSPI) Level Up program provides access to project-based learning opportunities in content areas ranging from playwriting to robotics for students in grades 3–6, regardless of their economic background. The Level Up program has added staff and expanded its programming with support from competitive grants provided by OSPI for community-based organizations from federal COVID relief funds.
  • Louisiana Invests in High-Quality Educational Opportunities: In Fall 2021, The Louisiana Department of Education opened a competitive application for school systems to request funds to expand high-quality educational opportunities. School systems selected from a list of research-based activities, established performance expectations and developed a strategic plan to helps support implementation of the model. To date, 36 applications have been approved from 31 school systems. Allocations thus far total $10,800,000 for planning and $28,170,000 for implementation, for a total commitment of nearly $39 million ARP ESSER funds.
  • North Dakota Academic Summer Learning Grant: The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction is providing funding for new or expanding summer educational camps and learning experiences in the summers of 2022 or 2023 that will provide evidence-based academic enrichment opportunities for students who may have endured learning loss due to the disruptions in education caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding source of the Summer Academic Enrichment Grant is the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER).
  • Colorado State Board of Education Advances Transportation Assistance Grant Program (05/12/2022): Students attending low-performing schools in Colorado’s Adams 14 School District could have access to transportation to attend higher-performing schools in the district or in adjacent districts under a new grant program endorsed by the Colorado State Board of Education. The Transportation Assistance Grant Program could be available for students who attend eligible schools determined by the state. Eligible school districts, BOCES, charter schools and community-based organizations will be eligible to apply for funding to provide transportation for eligible families who wish to send their children to higher-performing schools. 
  • Colorado Announces Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant (05/3/2022): The Colorado Department of Education is making up to $10 million available for school districts and community-based providers for quality afterschool and summer programs to help students overcome academic challenges brought on by the pandemic. The new ESSER Expanded Learning Opportunities grant is funded through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds set aside for state-level priorities. Eligible applicants can receive up to $2 million with a maximum of $2,000 per student served annually.
  • Washington SEA & Community-Based Organizations Partner to Support Students (04/27/2022): The Washington State Office of Public Instruction is investing over $22.5 million in 97 community-based organizations (CBOs) spanning nearly all of the state’s counties. The funding went out through competitive grants, and the CBOs will work in partnership with an LEA so their supports are complementing what a local school district, state-tribal education compact school, or charter school already has in place. Each of the CBOs has a focus on supporting students furthest from economic and educational justice. Grant funds have been provided to support four key activity areas: academic supports, behavioral health supports, case management and wraparound services, and student mentoring.
  • Arizona Announces School and Community Grantees: The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) has awarded more than two dozen schools and community groups with grants from ADE’s ESSER state set-aside funds from the American Rescue Plan. All funded projects share the goal of supporting schools, students, educators, and families as they recover from the effects of the pandemic. You can view all of the investments made with federal recovery dollars by visiting the ADE ESSER Set Aside Funds page
  • Ohio Tutoring Grants to Accelerate Learning (03/25/2022): The Ohio Department of Education and Ohio Department of Higher Education will provide up to $20 million in grants to Ohio’s colleges and universities to offer mathematics and literacy tutoring for Ohio’s K-12 students. The grants will provide tutoring supports to accelerate learning for students across the state. These federally supported COVID-19 relief grants are part of a larger package of recovery supports, including summer enrichment and after-school learning grants, which will directly meet the needs of Ohio’s students.
  • Illinois State-Funded Freedom Schools Network (03/24/2022): The Illinois State Board of Education announced a $17 million grant to create the nation's first state-funded Freedom Schools network. The Phillip Jackson Freedom Schools Grant, funded with federal COVID relief dollars, will supplement the learning taking place in school through a research-based, multicultural curriculum during the summer and/or school year. The program aims to improve outcomes for low-income students and address the opportunity gap and learning loss caused by the pandemic.
  • Illinois Awards Community Grants to Support the Mental Health of Students and Educators (03/14/2022): The Illinois State Board of Education will award 136 grant awards totaling $86.4 million to support the mental health of students and educators. These Community Partnership Grants will support collaboration between school districts and community organizations to address the trauma students and educators have experienced during the pandemic. The partnership model promotes alignment between the services students receive in and out of school. Grants are awarded for two years with funding from the second and third rounds of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief.
  • Georgia Announces Expanding Opportunities for Teachers Grants: With its ESSER III SEA reserve funds, the Georgia Department of Education awarded $6.8 million in Expanding Opportunities for Teachers Grants to cover tuition, fees and exam costs for Georgia public school teachers enrolled in approved Teacher and Teacher Leader Endorsement programs. The Department is also providing $5 million for alternative teacher certification through the Georgia Teacher Academies for Preparation and Pedagogy program.
  • Washington Reimagine Education Project: The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Reimagine Education Project aims to capitalize on the significant latitude educators have been given these past two years to accelerate learning recovery and rethink what works in education. The project supports 2-year pilots led by educators or schools/programs to investigate an innovative approach to learning in an in-person setting, or to investigate instructional and/or social-emotional practices in alternative learning experience and online settings.
  • Mississippi Investments in Student Safety and Learning (02/24/2022): The Mississippi Department of Education is investing up to $49 million of its American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds in four new services to support student safety and learning statewide. The four services include a health and school safety platform, web-based high-dosage tutoring, a college and career readiness platform and online learning resources. School districts can subscribe to the services, which are free to them.
  • Oklahoma Grants Awarded to Schools and Community Partners for Extended Learning Opportunities (02/18/2022) The Oklahoma State Department of Education awarded 68 schools and community partners $18.1 million under its High-Quality Afterschool and Summer Learning Programs initiative. Applicants for the grant were required to apply with an organization or school in order to establish or expand a school-based partnership. The partners will provide evidence-based, comprehensive afterschool and summer learning and academic support and enrichment to area students.
  • Michigan Education Equity Fund Grants: Nine and a half percent of Michigan’s ESSER state reserve funds were designated to create an education equity fund to provide targeted funding to reduce the digital divide and support student mental health in Michigan’s highest need school communities. Districts were able to apply for an amount up to 20 percent of their ESSER Formula allocation for the purpose of 1.) 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. 2.) Providing mental health services and supports.
  • Montana Afterschool Grants: The Montana Office of Public Instruction invested $3.8 million into the Montana Afterschool Grant program to support and empower young learners across the state through a coordinated, comprehensive, and consistent community approach. Leveraging the state's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funding, the Afterschool Grant is intended to fulfill the afterschool plans articulated in the State’s ARP ESSER Plan to enhance and expand student access to quality afterschool programming across the state. 
  • Colorado Releases Five ESSER Funding Opportunities (02/17/2022): The Colorado Department of Education released five funding opportunities for Colorado school districts from Colorado’s Elementary & Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund State Reserve. The opportunities include a program to support rural districts in building career-connected learning opportunities; grants to add capacity to rural districts in identifying and developing programs to strengthen student engagement; a grant program to support districts in purchasing eligible high-quality, standards-aligned K-8 mathematics curricula and K-3 READ Act-approved instructional programs, with special emphasis on students most impacted by the pandemic; a program to ensure LEAs have the capacity to meet the need for recruiting, retaining, and supporting the educator workforce; a program providing opportunities for districts to build and strengthen mentoring programs to ensure beginning teachers have the necessary support to build instructional capacity and effectiveness in the classroom.
  • North Dakota Announces First Recipient of Teacher Innovation Grant (02/14/2022): The Teacher Innovation Grant supports innovative and creative teaching and learning projects for North Dakota licensed teachers working in North Dakota public schools. The intent of the grant is to support proactive teaching approaches that integrate new instructional strategies and methods in the classroom. The state recently announced the first teacher to receive a grant. 
  • Maryland Leads Grant Program (02/09/2022): The Maryland State Department of Education launched a new grant initiative designed to support local education agencies in utilizing more than $150 million in federal funds to overcome the learning loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerate student learning to narrow opportunity and achievement gaps, and provide more targeted support for historically underserved students and their communities.
  • Iowa Awards Competitive Grants to Support Early Learning Programs (02/04/2022): Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education awarded 16 competitive planning grants, up to $10,000 each, to public school districts to explore the development of blending childcare and quality early learning programs in their communities. The Blended Early Learning in Educational Foundations (BELIEF) grants will support school districts working with community partners in developing plans to start evidence-based, customized early child care and preschool programs for children under the age of five.
  • Indiana Partners with Community Organizations to Accelerate Learning (12/27/2021): Governor Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana Department of Education announced that $35.2 million in state and federal grant funds are being awarded to 123 community partners and schools across the state as part of Indiana’s Student Learning Recovery Grant Program. These grants are awarded in addition to more than $122 million awarded over the summer to partnerships across the state to accelerate student learning.
  • Virginia Announces $107 Million in “Onward and Upward” Grants Supporting Math and Literacy Instruction: (10/19/2021) Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane invited Virginia’s 132 school divisions to apply for $107 million in federal pandemic-relief funds to move the commonwealth’s students onward and upward in their journey out of the pandemic by providing targeted math and literacy support to students, in addition to addressing their other academic and mental health needs. These “Onward and Upward VA” grants are funded from the American Rescue Plan Act and include support for programs during the school year, before- and after-school programs, and summer learning.
  • South Carolina Partnership Expands Arts Learning Initiatives (06/29/2021): The South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina Arts Commission announced a $20 million partnership will help public schools throughout the state address pandemic-related learning loss with proven, arts-based learning initiatives.

Mental Health and Wellbeing 

  • Louisiana Creates Position to Focus on Behavior and Health Supports: In Fall 2021, The Louisiana Department of Education created a new position specifically focused on developing state-wide resources and providing support to school systems to expand behavior and health supports for students. Additionally, Louisiana allocated $7 million to school systems to put towards expanding these services.
  • Maine Creates Partnership to Engage Students in Story-Based Social Emotional and Literacy Program (04/27/2022): The Maine Department of Education partnered with SPIRIT SERIES to bring its interdisciplinary, story-based social-emotional learning and literacy programs to 12,500 students across Maine. This effort, made possible through federal relief funds, will provide a 100 percent scholarship to participating schools during the 2022-23 school year. Funding is also included for professional development opportunities, so that educators can further integrate the SERIES’ programming into their classrooms.
  • Mississippi Invests in Telehealth Services for K-12 Students (02/17/2022): The State Board of Education will award a $17.6 million grant to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) to create a telehealth delivery system within K-12 schools to provide remote healthcare and healthcare provider access to students. The Mississippi Department of Education expects UMMC to deliver on-demand urgent care and telebehaviorial health during school hours. UMMC services to students will include urgent care, mental health, remote patient monitoring and specialty consultation healthcare. MDE is using American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds to cover the grant.
  • South Carolina Announces Partnership to Help Educators Recognize and Address the Impacts of Pandemic Trauma (02/14/2022): The South Carolina Department of Education and Children’s Trust of South Carolina announced a partnership to help schools recognize and address the impacts of the pandemic on the mental health of children. Utilizing a train the trainer model, every school district is now eligible to send representatives to a nationally established training on adverse childhood experiences, also known as ACEs. 
  • New Hampshire to Provide Educators with Tools to Build Resilience: (01/28/2022): The New Hampshire Department of Education is partnering with The Regulated Classroom, an approach to cultivating conditions for felt safety in the classroom, to assist educators in preparing their students for learning and equipping educators with resources to reduce stress and dysregulation in the classroom. This initiative is funded through the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief.
  • Georgia Launches Effort to Support and Re-engage Rural Students (11/08/2021):  In October 2021, the Georgia Department of Education’s (GADOE) Office of Rural Education & Innovation announced its first round of initiatives to assist school districts with locating and supporting students who have disengaged from school as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. GADOE is partnering with Graduation Alliance and dedicating $5 million in ESSER COVID-19 relief funds to the location, engagement and individual support of up to 50,000 students in rural areas who have disengaged from school or are chronically absent due to COVID-related school disruptions, who are in danger of failing one or more classes, or whose families have requested additional support.
  • New York Community and Faith-Based Organizations to Receive Funding to Support Families (08/25/2021): Community and faith-based organizations across New York state will receive over $1 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security funds to provide services and supports for students and families adversely affected by the pandemic. The State Education Department’s Community Schools Technical Assistance Centers will provide grants to 47 entities.
  • Wisconsin to Distribute $10 Million to Support Students Experiencing Homelessness (08/24/2021): The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction will allocate more than $10 million in federal grant funds to aid school districts in identifying and supporting students experiencing homelessness. The funds are part of $800 million released from the U.S. Department of Education in the American Rescue Plan Act’s Homeless Children and Youth Program. There were 17,179 students experiencing homelessness in Wisconsin during the 2019-20 school year.
  • New Hampshire Brings Mental Health Support into Summer Camps (06/22/2021): The Department of Education, in collaboration with the Community Behavioral Health Association, is utilizing federal COVID-19 response funds to offer mental health training for camp counselors, as well as be on-site at many camps throughout the state to help with children’s mental health needs.
  • Oklahoma Awards $35 Million to 181 Districts for School Counselor Corps (06/30/2021): To help Oklahoma schools meet the needs of children in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is awarding grants to 181 school districts across the state to hire school counselors and school-based mental health professionals. OSDE is using $35.7 million in federal relief to fund the grant program called the Oklahoma School Counselor Corps.

 

Strengthening the Teacher Pipeline/Addressing Teacher Shortages 

 

  • Connecticut Launches Science of Reading Masterclass (06/21/2022): Connecticut launched a new Science of Reading Masterclass that will provide professional learning for educators at participating districts with $4.5 million in federal relief funds. 
  • Connecticut Seeks to Support Aspiring Educators by Alleviating Financial Barriers to Teaching (06/02/2022): Connecticut is investing $2 million in federal relief funding to support aspiring educators and defray certification-related testing costs.  This funding will be distributed to each of the Educator Preparation Programs across the state that opt into the program. Learn more here.
  • Louisiana Makes Investments to Strengthen Teacher Pipeline: Louisiana recognizes that a strong, effective educator is the number one in-school factor that impacts students outcomes. To combat the educator pipeline challenges, Louisiana is investing about $20 million  in several key initiatives that include: increase number of teachers certified in EL and/or SPED; new teacher supports; pre-educator pathways; para-to-teacher pipeline; and a state-wide recruitment and retention strategy.
  • Iowa Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship (03/02/2022): The Iowa Department of Education (IDE) partnered with Iowa Workforce Development (IWD) to create the Teacher and Paraeducator Registered Apprenticeship (TPRA) program. IDE and IWD will award $9 million in competitive TPRA grants to school district employer sponsors to reinforce combined efforts and regional initiatives that accelerate paraeducator and teacher credential attainment. This grant program is funded by the IDE American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III or ARP ESSER) state project funds and supports two registered apprenticeship models. Learn more here and here.
  • Kansas LEADS Conference (04/26/2022): Kansas launched the Kansas Linking Educators Across Districts (LEADS) Conference, an event intended to bring together educators of all grade levels and content areas from around the state. Kansas LEADS was created with $300,000 from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III fund with a goal of holding two conferences per year in 2022, 2023 and 2024. The idea for the conference stemmed from a conversation among members of Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson’s Teacher Advisory Committee. Discussion focused on the need for educators to reconnect after the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the conference here and Kansas LEADS here
  • Oklahoma Teachers Receive Donations from DonorsChoose (03/22/2022): More than 7,500 Oklahoma classroom teachers in 1,411 schools in 462 districts have received shipments of hand-picked learning tools and school supplies through an initiative from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister and the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE). Using federal pandemic relief funds, OSDE partnered with the national nonprofit DonorsChoose to award public school teachers with grants up to $800 each.
  • South Carolina Combats Teacher Shortage (03/22/2022): South Carolina is using ESSER funds to combat teacher shortages by supporting initiatives to strengthen the teacher pipeline. The South Carolina Department of Education announced that it is providing nearly $1.7 million over three years to the national nonprofit TEACH; $1.3 million to expand the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement’s Teacher Fellows program; and $600,000 to Clemson University’s Call Me MISTER initiative, which aims to increase the pool of available teachers from a more diverse background.
  • Illinois Invests in Bilingual Educator Pipeline (03/04/2022): The Illinois State Board of Education announced a $4 million grant, funded with federal pandemic relief dollars, to support the bilingual educator pipeline. The grant will cover the cost of tuition for current educators to earn full licensure to teach English Learners.  
  • Illinois to Support and Retain Teachers of Color (02/28/2022): The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is investing $2 million of ESSER funds to support and retain teachers of color. ISBE will establish a statewide system of affinity groups in partnership with Sangamon-Menard Regional Office of Education 51 (ROE 51) and Teach Plus. The groups will bring teachers of color together to examine issues facing them, including the causes of attrition, and to develop policy recommendations. The recommendations will inform local district leaders on ways to improve working conditions and experiences for teachers of color.
  • Maine Launches Guest School Staff Member Campaign (02/09/2022): The Maine Department of Education and Educate Maine have partnered to launch a Guest School Staff Member campaign with a challenge to businesses, leaders and citizens to help fill the needs in schools. Guest School Staff Members can serve a variety of roles in schools, filling in for or supporting bus drivers, playground monitors, food service workers, teachers, and support staff. Additionally, Maine Commissioner of Education Pender Makin recently helped alleviate some of the pandemic-related staff shortages at Readfield Elementary School today by helping teachers in several classes and working lunch duty.  
  • Utah and DonorsChoose Launch $12 Million Effort for Educators (01/18/2022): The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) announced the allocation of $12 million in COVID-19 relief funds to directly help K-12 public school educators get classroom resources for the school year through DonorsChoose, a nonprofit crowdfunding website. The collaboration between USBE and DonorsChoose is the largest of its kind to date in the nation and will provide Utah educators with up to $1,000 in funding for their projects, empowering them to support their students' success with classroom resources.
  • Tennessee Pioneers Permanent Program to Develop Teacher Pipelines (01/13/2022): Paving the way for teaching and educator workforce development nationwide, the Tennessee Department of Education announced it has pioneered a new way to develop teacher pipelines, and is the first state to be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor to establish a permanent Grow Your Own model, with Clarksville-Montgomery County School System and Austin Peay State University's Teacher Residency program becoming the first registered apprenticeship program for teaching in the country. Tennessee is the first state in the country to sponsor Teacher Occupation Apprenticeship programs between school districts and Educator Preparation Programs, which will further the state’s and nation’s efforts to extend the teacher pipeline and address teacher shortages.
  • Virginia Announces Funding for Teacher Recruitment and Retention (01/04/2022): The Virginia Department of Education is allocating $12 million to a variety of programs as part of its ongoing teacher recruitment and retention efforts, including $2 million to encourage and assist aspiring educators and other school staff to earn full state teaching licensure. Twenty school divisions with relatively high percentages of provisionally licensed teachers are being invited to apply for grants to cover the tuition and fees for the required coursework.
  • Mississippi Awarding Grants to Universities to Enroll more Potential Teachers (12/17/2021): The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), through its Mississippi Teacher Residency program, will award $9,886,468 in grants to five universities in the state to cover tuition and expenses for up to 240 individuals seeking a graduate degree in elementary and secondary education. The MDE is using American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to provide the grants. 
  • Nevada Funds 10,993 Educator Projects through DonorsChoose Grant Program (12/13/2021): The Nevada Department of Education announced the completion of the DonorsChoose Grant Program, which was able to fund 10,993 Nevada educators’ projects up to $800 using federal relief funding. NDE announced the state’s $8 million investment in this first-of-its-kind partnership on September 29 and celebrated the program’s completion as final resources have been distributed to Nevada’s educators. In September 2021, the department announced the collaboration between the department and DonorsChoose to empower teachers to support their students' success with classroom resources.
  • Nevada Announces Investment to Incentivize Pathways to Teaching (11/23/2021): The Nevada Department of Education created the “Incentivizing Pathways to Teaching” Grant Program (IPT Grant Program), which will grow Nevada’s educator workforce by providing stipends to support pre-service educators as they complete coursework or student teaching at a Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) institution or other approved educator preparation program. Due to Nevada’s need to grow its number of licensed educators, NDE prioritized $20.7 million in federal relief funding from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II) out of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) for the IPT Grant Program.
  • Oklahoma Announces Funding to Combat Teacher Shortage (08/24/2021): State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced a $4.2 million grant awarded to the Oklahoma Chapter of Teach for America. The grant will help the organization launch a statewide strategy to increase school effectiveness, build a strong pipeline of educators and address pandemic-related learning loss.
  • Oklahoma Launched an Initiative Focused on Supports for School Leaders and Mentoring New Teachers (08/09/2021): To ensure students have access to well-prepared teachers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is using $12.75 million in federal relief funding to pay eligible Oklahoma college students for their work as student teachers.  
  • Florida Provides Relief to Educators (06/21/2021): In Florida, over $215 million in American Rescue Plan funds will be used to provide a $1,000 relief payment to over 175,000 full-time classroom teachers and over 3,000 principals in the state’s K-12 district schools, charter schools and the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind.
  • New Hampshire Educators Offered Free Training (06/03/2021): The New Hampshire Department of Education created a partnership with Granite State College to bring professional development training to New Hampshire educators across the state. This program is being funded through $2 million federal emergency relief funds. These funds are designed to respond to the impact of coronavirus as well as build resiliency in the education system against such disruptions. The training will build educator capacity to design and implement remote instruction, including use of the state’s Learning Management System.
  • Missouri Offered Teacher Recruitment and Retention Grants to LEAs: To address staffing shortages within the teaching profession, Grow Your Own (GYO) grants are being made available to all school districts and charter schools. GYO development funding of $10,000 will be available to all school districts and charter schools to create or further develop a GYO program. In addition, a regional GYO support person representing the Missouri Teacher Development System will be available to review and monitor grants and provide technical assistance to all schools in their region.

Stakeholder Engagement 

  • Connecticut Announces Student Proposals for COVID Relief Funding (03/11/2022): One hundred and fifty  proposals submitted by high school students across Connecticut are eligible to be voted on as part of the Voice4Change initiative, a campaign empowering students to decide how $1.5 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding for schools will be spent. The state’s governor in November launched the initiative, explaining that its goal is to increase student engagement by challenging students to think critically to solve real-world problems, while also giving them a voice in how these relief funds will be used. The Connecticut State Department of Education set aside funding from the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund to support the initiative.
  • Tennessee Best for All Districts (02/11/2022): The Tennessee Department of Education announced the 68 districts that have received statewide recognition as Best for All Districts for significantly investing federal COVID-19 stimulus funding to drive student achievement and improving academic outcomes. Best for All Districts will receive financial, operational, celebratory and resource benefits in appreciation for districts' planned investments to spend their share of the $3.58 billion in federal COVID-19 relief and stimulus funding directly on services, resources and supports that will help students achieve academically.
  • Kansas Created Task Force for ESSER and EANS Funding: Commissioner of Education Randy Watson created the Task Force on ESSER (II and III) and EANS (I and II) to offer guidance and oversight of school districts and private schools' plans for expenditure of federal funds focused on supporting student learning and student needs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Connecticut Hosts Stakeholder Forum on Afterschool Programming: The Connecticut State Department of Education hosted a focus group discussion to help design innovative ESSER-funded afterschool programming to ensure that underrepresented areas of the state are able to implement after school programs. Participants were asked to share their ideas about how to strengthen local capacity-building efforts, encourage proposals from smaller underserved communities, and execute innovative programming that serves Connecticut’s most vulnerable populations, particularly for those who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.
  • West Virginia Summer Learning: West Virginia used an ESSER II allocation for Summer SOLE (Student Opportunities for Learning and Engagement) Grants that provide funding to county boards of education to offer students comprehensive in-person summer learning experiences that are interactive, and engaging, and address academic and social-emotional needs. A 2021 status report provided quantitative and qualitative summaries about the effectiveness of the support, planning, and implementation of the grant program.

Student Support 

  • Washington Project Integrates Science with Multiple Subjects (06/13/2022): The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction launched a project that integrates science learning with other academic content areas. The project, funded by federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, aims to provide elementary education teachers and school and district leaders across the state with the foundational skills and knowledge to successfully integrate science learning across content areas. Learn more here.
  • Oklahoma Launches Statewide Expansion of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library (05/11/2022): The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is investing $2.5 million in federal pandemic relief funds to expand Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to all 77 counties in Oklahoma. OSDE will provide a 1:1 match of all funds raised by local community partners, ensuring as many as 264,000 Oklahoma children from birth to age 5 have free, high-quality, age-appropriate books mailed to their homes on a monthly basis.
  • Kentucky Hires Specialists to Assist Students with Disabilities Transition After High School (01/14/2022): The Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Early Learning will use federal funding to take steps to support local districts in improving the outcomes for students with disabilities after they leave high school. The purpose of these services is to ensure a smooth transition from high school to adulthood. This can include assistance with schooling, aid with finding employment and support for college or career and technical education.
  • Missouri Program Aims to Boost Postsecondary Outcomes for Rural Students (10/18/2021): The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in partnership with philanthropic organization rootEd Alliance, launched a statewide initiative to ensure high school students, particularly those in rural communities, have an advisor exclusively focused on helping them achieve success following graduation. The program, called the Missouri Postsecondary Advising Initiative, will place trained advisors into rural high schools, alongside school counselors, to provide students individualized college and career support. The first awards will be funded by federal COVID relief dollars.

School Leader Development 

  • South Carolina Afterschool Leaders Empowered Program (10/28/2021): The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and The Riley Institute at Furman University announced the South Carolina Afterschool Leaders Empowered (SCALE) program to prepare and grow leaders who are working to address the academic impact of COVID-19 through summer and afterschool learning programs. Funding for the SCALE program comes from the $211 million set aside for SCDE from the more than $2 billion that came to the state through the American Rescue Plan's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

Accelerated Learning 

  • Texas Provides Learning Acceleration Supports to Districts: The Texas Education Agency COVID Learning Acceleration Supports (TCLAS) is a set of targeted supports available to local education agencies (LEAs) to accelerate student learning in the wake of COVID 19. Through these supports, the Texas Education Agency aims to provide a strategic approach to accessing learning acceleration supports that meet local needs, leverage statewide resources to allow for deeper, more targeted supports for LEAs at a lower cost to the state and develop coordinated supports for LEAs based on needs identified by Texas educators for the coming school year. The TCLAS grant application provides LEAs access to over $1.4 billion in funding and services and access to over 15 TEA initiatives, while providing a streamlined process for LEAs through a discretionary, non-competitive grant.
  • Minnesota Creates COMPASS Pathways to Accelerate Learning: Collaborative Minnesota Partnerships to Advance Student Success (COMPASS), is a statewide education system created through a collaboration between the Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota Service Cooperatives and Regional Centers for Excellence. COMPASS is designed to match the state's response to school and district work to accelerate student learning. The program offers educators, school staff and school leaders new opportunities for professional learning and coaching, along with coordinated support from experts.
  • Pennsylvania Uses COVID Relief Funding to Support Students and Address Learning Loss: The Pennsylvania Department of Education allocated $135 million of ESSER funds to intermediate units, career and technical education centers, schools designated for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (A-TSI), private residential rehabilitative institutes, approved private schools, chartered schools for the deaf and blind, and entities providing services for youth in local correctional institutions and community day programs. The department also allocated $250 million in additional funding to school districts and charter schools to address learning loss, $50 million to school districts and charter schools for summer enrichment programs, and $50 million to school districts and charter schools for afterschool programs and activities.
  • Mississippi Investments in Student Safety and Learning (02/24/2022): The Mississippi Department of Education is investing up to $49 million of its American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds in four new services to support student safety and learning statewide. The four services include a health and school safety platform, web-based high-dosage tutoring, a college and career readiness platform and online learning resources. School districts can subscribe to the services, which are free to them.
  • Louisiana Invests in School Recovery (10/21/2021): The Louisiana Department of Education allocated $5.4 million in Accelerating Schools funding to schools throughout the state. The initiative distributes an additional $50,000 to $100,000 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds to the schools with the greatest decreases in student mastery performance and/or the greatest increases in student unsatisfactory performance from 2019 to 2021 on Louisiana’s statewide assessment.
  • South Carolina Announces Investment to Expand Early Childhood Education Initiatives (07/28/2021): South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced the funding of several early childhood education and parenting support initiatives as part of South Carolina’s response to the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s education system. The state will provide $14.7 million in funding over the next three years to carry out several early childhood initiatives in partnership with South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness. The funding comes from the South Carolina Department of Education’s $211 million set- aside from the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.
  • Kansas Announces Funding to Address Early Literacy (07/14/2021): Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson and Kansas State Board of Education members recently announced $15 million in funding to address early literacy. The $15 million is part of the state set-aside from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III fund.
  • Arizona Partners with Discovery Education to Accelerate Student Learning (07/08/2021): The Arizona Department of Education launched a new partnership with Discovery Education. By strategically using federal relief and recovery dollars, teachers and students across the state will soon receive access to Discovery Education’s K-12 learning platform to accelerate student learning.  
  • Connecticut Invests in Local Special Education COVID-19 Recovery Efforts (08/02/2021): Governor Lamont and Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker announced that more than $16 million in ESSER II funds will be deployed to provide support and services to accelerate learning for more than 80,000 special education students. These include addressing delayed, interrupted, suspended or inaccessible Individualized Education Plan supports and services; special education evaluations; supplementary tutoring and reading instruction; and individualized in-home support for high needs students. 

Early Childhood

  • Kentucky Uses COVID Relief Funds to Hire Early Learning Specialists (05/13/2022): The Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) Office of Special Education and Early Learning (OSEEL) is using federal funding to help address the unfinished learning brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Preschool through 2nd-grade students experienced some of the greatest loss of instruction, according to KDE Program Manager David Wickersham. OSEEL is using ESSER funding to take steps to support families, schools and teachers as they navigate changes to early learning, students’ transitions into school and supports for school and staff in addressing the needs of early learners. In order to provide this support, OSEEL hired five early learning specialists, learn more.
  • New Hampshire Prioritizes Pre-K Learning (03/09/2022): New Hampshire is investing federal dollars to make the Waterford Upstart at-home program available to hundreds of more children there. State leaders are using the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund to provide 4-year-olds access to Waterford Upstart Summer Learning Path from June to August.

Digital Learning 

  • New York Announces Availability of $6.2 Million in Federal Funds to Address the Digital Divide (07/28/2021): New York State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced that more than $6.2 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds are available to help libraries and other cultural institutions across the state address the digital divide, increase access to the state’s cultural history and expand student access to digital learning materials. 
  • Nebraska Makes Zearn Available to all Districts (02/2021): To support schools with math acceleration, the Nebraska Department of Education announced the opportunity for all Nebraska public and non-public schools to have full access to the Zearn Math Summer Intensive Series for summer 2021 and the 2021-2022 school year.

College and Career Readiness 

  • New Hampshire Launches Pioneering Earn-and-Learn Program (02/17/2022): Leveraging up to $2.5 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, the New Hampshire Department of Education has launched an initiative to provide secondary students with paid, work-based learning opportunities by matching learner wages. Work! As Learning will support up to 1,000 secondary students in earning academic credit while gaining valuable work experience before they graduate from high school. To incent these opportunities, NHDOE will reimburse New Hampshire-certified employers for 50 percent of learner wages paid up to $15 an hour.
  • Ohio to Fund Programs Supporting Alternative Demonstrations of Competency (01/10/2022): The Department announced a new funding opportunity totaling $1 million for nonprofit organizations, career-technical planning districts, registered apprenticeship training providers and institutes of higher education.                    
  • Oklahoma Gives Students Extra Opportunity to Take College Readiness Assessments (09/09/2021): The Oklahoma State Department of Education is using a portion of its federal relief funding to provide public school sophomores, juniors and seniors an extra opportunity to take college and career readiness assessments.

Continuing to Keep Schools Safe 

COVID-19 Mitigation 

  • Vermont School Vaccine Incentive Program (12/07/2021): Vermont Governor Phil Scott and the Agency of Education announced the School Vaccine Incentive Program, committing $2 million in federal emergency funds to schools that achieve a student vaccination rate of 85% or higher. Schools that meet this threshold will be eligible for a minimum award of $2,000 and a potential maximum of $15,000 for schools over 90% vaccinated. In order to be eligible, schools must encourage student participation in how funds are spent

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