Part One of a Series on USED Recognition for Making a Difference for Students with American Rescue Plan Funds
School business leaders across the United States have been given the task of determining how best to apply their district’s share of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding to help their students learn safely, regain academic progress, and thrive socially and emotionally.
In a Back-to-School Checklist issued by the United States Department of Education (USED) that gives parents an overview of how those funds—also known as ESSER III funding—might be spent and encourages them to engage with district policymakers to ensure their children’s needs are being met, some school districts and states were recognized as strong examples of applying monies in the categories of academics, mental health, addressing the teacher shortage, and health and safety.
While every school district is required to spend at least 20 percent of ARP funding on efforts to recover learning loss, many districts are spending significantly more. High-quality tutoring programs have been shown to help students gain as much as five months of additional learning. Afterschool and summer learning and enrichment programs that occur outside of the regular school day help nurture not only academic skills but strengthen social and emotional engagement and health and help students find the topics and areas where they love to learn.
ASBO International district member Guilford County Schools in North Carolina, led by chief financial officer Angela Henry, applied nearly $10 million toward an intensive tutoring program in which students are identified for the program based on academic factors. The district partnered with the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and the North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to engage more than 420 students in nearly 67,000 hours of tutoring.
The Arkansas Department of Education established a tutoring corps to address learning loss using $4.4 million of ARP ESSER funds. The program recruits and trains applicants for academic tutoring as well as mentoring in positive relationships, behavior management, and meeting the social and emotional needs of learners.
ASBO International district member Aurora Public Schools in Colorado, led by chief financial officer Brett Johnson, implemented tutoring at every school in the district and a 2022 summer school program attended by over 3,500 students. In addition, over 8,100 students made use of more than 168,600 hours of tutoring. The district allotted $35 million toward the programs.
Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky opened the first of three neighborhood Elev8 Student Learning Centers, staffed by retired teachers, to offer students targeted reading and math tutoring, extended learning time, college and career support, and enrichment opportunities. The district has committed $35 million in ARP funding to the community learning centers.