Data shows that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on student learning across the nation, state, and in the Maplewood Richmond Heights School district.
The MRH School District is asking stakeholders to engage in the process to help determine how it should potentially spend additional federal dollars to address unfinished learning and COVID-19 recovery.
The American Rescue Plan signed into law in March by President Biden included $122 billion in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds for school districts across the country, which is the single largest federal investment in elementary and secondary education in the nation’s history. MRH has applied to receive some of that additional funding.
See the MRH School District Return to Learning and the Continuity of Services Plans which were created on the basis of parent, staff, and student surveys conducted in the spring of the 2021-2022 school year and which will continue to be updated as needed based on the latest recommendations.
ESSER III Frequently Asked Questions
What is the purpose of the ARP ESSER III funds?
The purpose of ESSER, in general, is to award sub-grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) such as MRH Schools to address the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on elementary and secondary schools.
How much funding is available to Missouri LEAs?
A total of $ 1,748,710,778 is available to the state.
What is the funding period for ARP ESSER III grants?
Funds may be used for allowable activities from March 13, 2020 (with approved pre-award) through Sept. 30, 2023.
What are the federal requirements around the LEA ESSER III Use of Funds Plan?
The LEA must engage in meaningful consultation with stakeholders and give the public an opportunity to provide input in the development of its plan for the uses of ARP ESSER III funds.
How often will the plan be reviewed?
Modifications to this plan will be made in a timely and reasonable manner when necessary. The plan must be reviewed and revised if needed at least every six months in accordance with Federal Guidelines. Updates may be provided to the community via letters, email, social media, and public Board of Education meetings throughout the school year.
Are there recommended uses of ESSER III funds that will assist LEAs in addressing the impact of the COVID pandemic and disruptions leading to learning loss?
While keeping in mind the purpose and requirements under ESSER III related to accelerating student learning, DESE strongly encourages school systems to plan for how to use these one-time federal funds expeditiously over the entire covered period to facilitate a more comprehensive long-term approach to learning acceleration. This may include aligned strategies that are currently part of a district’s current plans and strategies. A review of data and local learning acceleration plans revealed the following trends and suggestions, including but not limited to:
- Curriculum and Instruction: Literacy training (K-6), Mathemathics training (K-8), high-quality instructional materials, dyslexia training, professional development stipends, ESL Materials and resources, Intervention support materials, technology integration training, and benchmark assessment tools;
- Extended Instructional Time: extended day, extended year, high-dosage tutoring, summer learning;
- Staffing: tutors, reduced class sizes, small group instruction, teaching assistant in-class intervention, staff retention, and recruitment incentive pay, after school enrichment programs, instructional coaching, and leadership;
- Facilities: ventilation, cleaning, HVAC systems, specialized instructional spaces;
- Technology: devices, infrastructure upgrades, learning management systems, digital tools, educational application;
- Mental Health and Behavioral Support social workers, at-risk coordinators, additional counseling services, teacher training and programming, wrap-around, and community partnerships.
What are some of the allowable uses of the ARP ESSER III funds?
ESSER funds are designated to be used in any or all of 15 buckets, which include addressing learning loss, providing professional development, improving indoor air quality, providing social and emotional supports, updating and providing technology, and others.
Will the state provide replacement funds for ESSER after 2023?
Since the large influx of ESSER funding into LEAs can result in funding deficits when it ends, the LEA must plan for how to effectively and efficiently use the ESSER funds. It is recommended to use the ESSER grant funds for one-time or short-term expenditures to address the identified needs caused by the pandemic. Although long-term uses of the ESSER funds are also allowable, these types of uses may cause the LEA to not have funding to continue these activities after the ESSER period of availability ends, thus creating fiscal deficits.
The LEA must provide its plan for the uses of ARP ESSER III funds in an understandable and uniform format. A language translator is currently present on the district website to which the plan is posted. If there is a language not available on the list, the school district will make every effort to have the content of the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services Plan translated into an understandable language for families wishing to access the content.
The LEA’s plan for the use of ARP ESSER III funds will be posted to the LEA’s website within 30 days of receiving its ESSER III Notice of Grant Award.