American Rescue Plan:
“Local Use of Funds” Plans
Our safe return to in-person instruction plan includes the proper use of masks, supporting our teachers, admins and families to engage in hygiene practices such as frequent handwashing, Some examples of specific, CDC-recommended strategies outlined in our in-person instruction plan include: Limiting classroom sizes to support safe distancing and reduce exposure and transmission risks; maximizing the utilization of as-yet unused classrooms to accommodate all scholars and support appropriate social distancing; spacing school desks and facing the same direction in all classrooms; clearly marking hallways for one-way traffic flow in order to alleviate congestion or any cross traffic; recess breaks and specials taking place in home rooms to minimize cross contamination; closing off all public water fountains to reduce the risk of transmission; cleaning frequently used surfaces (such as door handles, handrails and bathrooms) three to four times a day and deep cleaning each classroom every night with the support of our incredible custodian staff.
We will utilize the use of extensive differentiated, small-group instruction to provide additional assistance to students at risk. For English learners, instruction will focus on the same building blocks used for non-ELL scholars: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension. Teachers will use gestures, non-verbal cues, and repeat instructions; bilingual and pictorial texts will also be made available. For students with disabilities, our school is committed to providing a free and appropriate public education to all scholars with disabilities and to aligning all special education services with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). We will use a Response-to-Intervention (RTI) process to identify students with unique needs, create IEPs and annual goals and implement a Multi-Tiered System of Support with evidence-based interventions to mitigate learning loss.
We will ensure that all ARP ESSER funds are used in accordance with allowability guidelines. This includes addressing learning loss, providing Tier II interventions, supporting staff PD, ensuring continuity of key positions, as well as safe and healthy school environments.
We recognize that the pandemic has impacted our scholars from traditionally underserved communities, leading to learning loss and increasing the need for social-emotional support. Our emphasis on utilizing small-group instruction in the classroom allows us to identify at-risk scholars most significantly impacted by the pandemic, and target data-driven interventions to support their academic success. The data from frequent year-round assessments will empower our educators to implement evidence-based interventions in real-time to address any learning gaps for each scholar throughout the school year. We will implement the following data-driven instructional strategies to support scholars who are underserved or disparately impacted by COVID-related learning loss: maximized learning time on-task and on core subjects; differentiated, small-group instruction; data-driven instruction; targeted, evidence-based interventions to meet the learning needs of scholars with deficits and those that need challenged beyond on-grade level including additional, Tier II, small-group tutoring; research-based and standards aligned curricula; and instructional tasks with higher-order.
Our school has utilized a robust, data-driven approach to determine our most important educational needs as a result of COVID-19. Firstly, as part of our evidence-based differentiated learning model, we used frequent assessments and adaptive learning programs throughout the 2020-21 school year. Scholar performance data gathered through these assessments and programs allowed us to monitor and assess the unique impact of pandemic-related learning loss on each of our scholars in real-time. As we reviewed the data, a need for evidence-based interventions such as additional Tier II small-group tutoring was evident, making this a strong needs-aligned use of ESSER III funds. Secondly, the feedback we received from key stakeholders such as our teachers, scholar families and community partners allowed us to identify further domains of current need. This included professional development needs for our teachers; school needs in order to support a return to in-person instruction; and, due to the disproportionate impact of the pandemic, additional social-emotional support needs for our scholars from traditionally underserved communities. These needs, identified through stakeholder input, are strategically reflected in our school’s use of ESSER III funds.
The proposed timeline will begin in the 2021-2022 school year, ensuring continuity of essential staff and services for our scholars for the next three school years – up to and including the 2023-24 school year.
If necessitated by public health measures, the personnel and resources of our school can be translated into a remote learning setting with the use of ESSER III funding. For example, our Academic Interventionists will be able to continue offering small group, differentiated instruction to our scholars, just as they would in a physical school setting, by facilitating virtual, small group sessions.
To identify and address student learning gaps, we will combine data from NWEA in Reading in Math with the adaptive learning software. NWEA assessments will be administered throughout the year. Adaptive learning software offers self-guided courses for scaffolded learning. When integrated with NWEA data, adaptive learning software identifies Individualized Learning Path to match each scholar’s assessment results. Each lesson within the Learning Path comes with a guided explanation, a supported practice and independent practice module, and a quiz. The integration between NWEA and adaptive learning software means that our scholars can pick up learning right where they left off. In addition, using weekly formative assessments, we will be able to gauge scholar progress in vocabulary, grammar, cold reads and math, and then use this data to inform instructional decisions. This data helps educators address both scholar needs and grouping for Tier 2 instruction, and the specific targeted interventions that will help scholars both catch up and move ahead. All of our teachers utilize blended learning and frequent benchmark assessments to monitor each of our scholars’ progress and implement evidence-based supports. Scholar progress is then communicated on a bi-weekly basis to parents ensuring they become true partners in empowering the academic achievement of our scholars.