WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Department of Education recently announced major actions and investments from government, the private sector, and nonprofit organizations to support student academic and mental health recovery as part of the Department’s broader effort to help students, schools, and communities recover from the pandemic and reemerge stronger.
The announcements highlight how the American Rescue Plan has funded efforts to help students recover academically through summer learning and enrichment, and enhanced educational and mental health supports in districts across the country; how philanthropic partners are investing additional resources to help American Rescue Plan dollars stretch even further; and how the Department is leveraging over $160 million of its own grant funding to propel academic and mental health recovery for K-12 students across the country. The announcements will be made at the Department’s American Rescue Plan Summit, “From Recovery to Thriving,” broadcast on Department of Education channels at 5 p.m. ET, Wednesday, April 27, 2022, and held in partnership with the National Public Education Support Fund.
“As we move beyond reopening, the Biden-Harris Administration and the Department of Education will remain laser-focused on helping students recover academically from the pandemic and access the academic, mental health, and other supports they need to thrive,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “We are already seeing the impact the American Rescue Plan is having on schools, students, families, and educators—from increased access to academic and mental health supports to expanded summer learning and enrichment programs funded by federal pandemic relief funds. With additional investments from the Department’s grant programs and the philanthropic community, we can scale our recovery efforts, make ARP dollars have an even greater impact, and ensure every student—no matter their background, family income, or zip code—has the academic and mental health supports they need to succeed. In states and districts across the country, American Rescue Plan funds are having a direct impact on student, family, and educators’ recovery.”
ARP provided $130 billion in funding to states and districts across the country to help K-12 schools reopen during the pandemic and recover. The Department acted swiftly to release these funds to states and has called on states to act with the same urgency to ensure ARP dollars are reaching districts and classrooms to meet the immediate needs of students, families, educators, and communities. All states are now in compliance with the requirement to release the first two-thirds of funds to districts by the one-year deadline since ARP was passed. It is more important than ever that these funds are used to help students recover from the pandemic. ARP required that at least 5% of state funds and 20% of district funds be used to invest in evidence-based practices that address lost instructional time and at least 1% be used by states and districts to support afterschool programs, and at least 1% be used to support summer learning and enrichment programs. Consistent with President Biden’s Unity Agenda announced in his State of the Union address, the Department also has strongly encouraged schools and school districts to use ARP funds to support the health and well-being of students and educators by hiring more mental health professionals and school counselors, and has called on states, districts, and higher education institutions to use ARP funds to help address the educator labor shortage by investing ARP funds in educator pipeline programs. All three of these priorities will be discussed, and examples of districts using ARP funds for these efforts will be highlighted at the Department’s Summit on Wednesday evening.
The announcements leading into the ARP Recovery Summit include:
2022 Summer Learning and Enrichment Opportunities, and Technical Assistance Funded by the American Rescue Plan
During the Summit, the Department will highlight commitments from national organizations, cities, community-based organizations, and school districts to expand summer learning and enrichment opportunities for summer 2022, funded by the American Rescue Plan. Commitments include:
- New grant funding to match district investments of ARP funds to support camp-school partnership programs. The American Camp Association (ACA) and the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) are launching a new camp-school partnership program to create 10 new summer learning programs, in collaboration with 10 public school districts, for low-income students as they prepare for the next school year. The camps will receive $25,000 grants and ask schools to match the camp financial contribution using their ARP funds. ACA and NSLA will provide camps and school districts with coaching, training, planning, convening, and assessment support.
- New tools to help families identify summer learning and enrichment opportunities for their children. NSLA is launching an updated DiscoverSummer.org and a $3 million public service announcement (PSA) campaign to encourage families to identify summer learning and enrichment opportunities in their communities. The new and updated site will include over 30,000 summer learning and enrichment programs in a searchable database, many of which have been funded or expanded from American Rescue Plan funds.
- Technical assistance to help states, districts, and communities leverage ARP resources to support summer programming in 2022 and beyond. The National League of Cities is partnering with the Afterschool Alliance to produce an interactive map, highlighting how districts and municipalities are investing in afterschool and summer programming using various ARP funding streams, so communities can see which cities are making investments in summer programming using ARP funds as well as previous rounds of federal pandemic relief funds. The Afterschool Alliance also is providing strategic support to the 50 state afterschool networks and additional allies and partners. Through this support and with the unprecedented resources from ARP, these efforts allow for at least $2.75 billion in ARP funds directed to quality afterschool and summer learning programs run by local school districts and their CBO partners to help address the equity and opportunity gaps. Nationally, FutureEd at Georgetown University projects that school districts will spend $7.5 billion on summer learning and afterschool programs.
- Highlighting examples of multi-million dollar ARP investments to expanded summer learning and enrichment offerings in 2022. During and following the ARP Recovery Summit, the Department will highlight examples of cities and districts using ARP funds to expand summer learning offerings this year, including Baltimore, Maryland, allocating nearly $9 million in ARP funds for summer youth employment programs; Columbus, Ohio, allocating over $15 million for summer youth engagement and anti-violence efforts; Madison, Wisconsin, allocating over $1 million in ARP funds to expand their youth employment program; and Washington, DC, allocating $2 million in ARP funds to expand academic and recreational camps for DC youth. A broader list of summer programs fueled by ARP resources can be found on the Department’s website.
In early 2021, the Department recognized that states, districts, and their community partners needed support as they waded through the vast amount of information available to support summer learning and enrichment. To address this need, the Department and the National Comprehensive Center hosted the Summer Learning and Enrichment Collaborative (SLEC), a series of virtual learning opportunities during the summer of 2021 for states, school districts, community partners, and other stakeholders to discuss and share promising practices for planning and implementing summer experiences for all students and student groups, especially those who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. More than 20 national partners contributed their time and expertise to build out the programming and supports, and the SLEC engaged more than 1,300 individuals, including representation from 49 state education agencies, across eight virtual events. The announcements build off the groundwork that the Summer Learning and Enrichment Collaborative laid over the past year.
Nearly $60 Million in Philanthropic Efforts to Scale Impact of American Rescue Plan Funds
During the Summit, the Department also will highlight existing and new investments from the philanthropic community to scale the impact of recovery efforts, particularly focused on accelerating academic recovery and providing mental health supports to students. Philanthropic efforts also will help extend the impact of the American Rescue Plan by providing financial support for schools and districts to invest in programs beyond the three years in which American Rescue Plan funds must be spent. These ongoing philanthropic efforts include:
- $17 million investment from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for high-impact tutoring. The Gates Foundation is investing $17 million over the next four years (2022-2025) to foster learning acceleration through high-impact tutoring, building out tools and resources so state and district leaders can more easily identify, select, and implement evidence-based tutoring programs.
- $14.4 million in grants from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation throughout 2022 to support afterschool across the country. Funding priorities include $7.5 million to support the 50 State Afterschool Network to ensure effective implementation of ARP funds; nearly $2 million to support increased capacity for statewide afterschool networks to reach out to local districts that need help implementing afterschool programs using ARP funds; over $2 million to support Mizzen, an innovative online tool that delivers high-quality content for afterschool programming; and $2.4 million to support the Afterschool Alliance, among other priorities.
- $10 million investment from the Raikes Foundation to support organizations aimed at accelerating learning and expanding access to mental health supports. Raikes is investing to support the BELE Network, the Resource Equity Funders Collaborative focused on addressing inequities made worse by the pandemic, the Science of Learning and Development Alliance, and other organizations helping school districts to see, understand, and deploy resources to meet the unique needs of all students.
- Over $9 million investment from the Stuart Foundation to support summer learning, learning recovery, educator workforce, and mental health initiatives. The Stuart Foundation has committed over $9 million to organizations that provide technical assistance to school districts in effectively utilizing ARP funds, implement and support the development of new community schools, and invest in student, family and community engagement to ensure students have the academic, summer, and mental health supports they need to recover.
- $9 million investment from Overdeck Family Foundation to accelerate students’ academic recovery and address the teacher shortage. The Foundation invested over $7 million in grants to organizations to help students recover academically from the pandemic and $2 million in grants to help increase teacher retention efforts by scaling programs that are successful in retaining effective teachers, promote teacher diversity, and differentiate teacher roles.
- $4.25 million investment from the William + Flora Hewlett Foundation to provide support and technical assistance to districts on how to effectively use ARP funds and sustain recovery efforts beyond the life of ARP. The Hewlett Foundation plans to invest $1.25 million to help districts plan on how to use ARP funds, over $2 million to stand up an Improvement Network focused on recovery and evaluating the impact of various recovery strategies, and $1 million to provide tools to districts to help them analyze and implement effective recovery strategies, among other investments.
- $240,000 investment from the W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation to support projects to address the impacts of the pandemic on children, students and educators, and address inequities made worse by the pandemic. The Stone Foundation is investing tens of thousands of dollars in efforts to address the teacher shortage through bonuses and scholarships, improve access to mental health services for young men and boys of color, and create pathways for early childhood educators to access degrees and higher wages.
The Department will invest an additional $160 million through the Education Innovation and Research Grant Program to assist with the impact of the pandemic on students and schools.
In addition to helping states and districts use American Rescue Plan funds to help students recover academically and access the mental health support they need, the Department also will focus this year’s Education Innovation and Research (EIR) program on projects that develop, implement, replicate, and scaleup strategies to support learning recovery and student well-being related to the impact of COVID-19, including projects that address accelerated learning. Authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the EIR program encourages field-initiated innovations that improve student achievement and attainment for underserved students. The Department will open its application process for the EIR program, providing $160 million in funding for five-year grants, prioritizing those that generate and support innovations that will help overcome the challenges to student opportunity and success exacerbated by the pandemic.
Under Secretary Cardona’s leadership, the Department will fund approximately 15 to 35 projects, giving priority to projects that develop, implement, replicate, or scaleup strategies that support learning recovery and student well-being related to the impact of the pandemic, including accelerated learning. Projects that also increase student access to student-centered and project-based learning and advanced coursework also will be prioritized, as well as projects that close gaps in educational opportunities, projects that increase student access to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and projects that support student social and emotional well-being.
Applicants can find out more about the program here.
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