Approved by NYSED on December 31, 2021
The American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021, Public Law 117-2, was enacted on March 11, 2021. ARP ESSER provides a total of nearly $122 billion to States and school districts to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s students.
All LEAs must reserve at least 20 percent of funds to address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions and ensure that those interventions respond to students’ social, emotional, and academic needs and address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on underrepresented student subgroups. The remaining LEA funds may be used for a wide range of activities to address needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic.
ARP Funds Use
Parishville-Hopkinton CSD meaningfully engaged a diverse and representative set of applicable stakeholders in developing a plan to use these funds and implementing that plan. An informational presentation was also given at a Board meeting. Information continues to be updated on the district website.
PHCS will gather continuous feedback regarding our ARP plan from the community through an open online survey posted on our website. We will also elicit feedback from our reopening task force. Our reopening task force was formed at the onset of the pandemic and this committee consists of stakeholders from the community as well as representatives from teachers, extended day partners, building and grounds, administrators, and bus drivers.
To continuously and safely reopen and operate schools, the district will use funds to implement prevention and mitigation strategies that are, to the greatest extent practicable, consistent with the most recent CDC guidance on reopening schools in order to continuously and safely open and operate schools for in-person learning.
There are two major areas we are looking at to help with safely reopening our school. The first area is technology. We are updating the technology to increase our abilities to create an interactive collaborative learning space that also allows us to maintain safe social distancing. We are doing this through updating the teachers’ instructional device and instructional display boards in the front of the room. This will allow teachers to manipulate the instructional display board (SMART product) while maintaining social distancing. The instructional board will also allow students to display their individual devices in the front of the room without having to leave their desks.
The second area we are addressing is the physical space and furniture in the classroom. We are adding classroom furniture that will allow us to provide in-person learning for all students while also maintaining safe social. We will also be looking into possibly purchasing furniture for outdoor classroom spaces as well increasing the opportunity to keep students outdoors as much as possible.
Also, updating the drinking fountains to include water bottle filling stations will enable us to reduce all students needing to go to one or two locations throughout the school to have access to drinking water and also reduce student-student exposures.
To address the academic impact of lost instructional time through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, the required reserve of 20% of funds will be used to implement and provide implementation of evidence-based interventions.
We have tripled student enrollment in our elementary academic in-person summer program and we are also beginning an in-person high school summer program. The elementary programming will focus on gaps in literacy and math while the secondary summer programming will focus on credit recovery.
The District plans to provide extended day programming for K-12 students in partnership with the Cornell Cooperative Extension to address learning gaps. This after school program was piloted for 5-weeks this year. It will include opportunities for students to stay after school until 5 PM five days a week for homework help, remediation, and enrichment activities.
Other reserve funds to address lost instructional time will be used to:
● Partner with a K-8 Math consultant (Michael Flynn) to help identify and coach best practices in instructional delivery and content.
● Address literacy through targeted PD as we work with a consultant (Joan Sedita) to help identify and coach best practices in instructional delivery and content. The consultant will also train the administration in the evaluation and implementation of a strong literacy program.
● Substitutes and stipends will allow grade/subject level staff to work in professional learning communities (PLCs) on curriculum, prioritizing standards, instructional strategies and student engagement.
● The district has also added an additional special education teacher to help provide services for our increased number of identified students and growing student proficiency gaps.
● We will also be exploring tutoring partnerships with SUNY Potsdam that will provide 1:1 tutoring at the secondary level to support struggling learners in the core subjects (Math, Science, English, and Social Studies).
We recognize that we will see an increased need in academic intervention services as students return to full in-person learning five days a week beginning in the fall of 2021. Students have suffered a loss of instructional time and will have academic achievement gaps that will need to be addressed. To identify student needs and monitor student progress as a result of planned interventions and supports, the district will continue to monitor student progress with I-Ready diagnostic testing, meet regularly to analyze diagnostic results, and develop and implement intervention strategies for struggling learners using a multi-tiered system of supports. In addition, we will utilize progress monitoring data and individual student data (formative and summative assessments and observations) from teachers. Other data we will collect and analyze is attendance, counseling records, and student/parent/teacher feedback surveys results.
The district will ensure that the interventions it implements, including but not limited to the interventions implemented under the required reserve of 20% of funds - to address the academic impact of lost instructional time, will respond to the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of all students. Data will be collected on students’ academic progress via pre and post-tests and i-Ready benchmarking and progress monitoring. Students' social emotional well-being will be monitored via classroom teacher observations and reports, school nurse, counseling services and guidance meetings. Students will be referred to the Instructional Support Team to determine additional needed support to be provided either in school or through support from community agencies. Until students feel safe and included, they will not be able to learn. Therefore, we will focus attention on effective learning, as well as, tiered support for all students.
For the last several years, our district has participated in a grant through our BOCES focused on becoming a trauma-sensitive organization. We have in place a District Trauma Sensitivity Team (DTST) which includes two district Support Leaders (SLs). The group’s mission has been to develop a roadmap and tools to adopt a district-wide approach to addressing trauma and promote resilience in the learning environment. As the District begins the 2021-2022 school year, we will continue the work of our DTST team and provide specialized PD to all staff around the DTST focus area.
The Positivity Project and Wellness Committee
Since 2018, our school district has been implementing The Positivity Project as a schoolwide Tier I approach to social-emotional learning and character education. According to The Positivity Project’s website: “The Positivity Project is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to empowering America’s youth to build strong relationships and to understand, appreciate, and exemplify the character strengths in us all. We accomplish this by partnering with schools across the country and equipping educators with the knowledge, resources, and confidence to teach their students positive psychology’s 24-character strengths. Every 1-2 weeks, students learn about a new character strength. By leveraging Positivity Project resources, teachers use approximately 10-15 minutes per day to lead a discussion about that week’s strength.”
As we anticipate all students returning to full-time in-person instruction, we want to seize the opportunity to reestablish the foundational goals of P2. The Wellness Committee will work together during the Summer of 2021 to develop monthly objectives that both support the Positivity Project and the Wellness objectives. This includes updates to our cafeteria and serving options.
The District plans to have students participate in the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) to gain a baseline data on student achievement beyond regional and state comparisons.
PHCS will utilize remaining ARP funds to maintain the operation of and continuity of services in the district. The district will be using some of the ARP ESSER funds to purchase a lawn tractor and versatile attachments to help keep the close exterior of the building maintained during all weather conditions (including snow with a snow blower attachment). Our district mandates all students take mask breaks outside and students need to have access to the exterior school grounds at all times.
Another item being purchased will be storage sheds (Adirondack Storage Barns) to safely store additional recess equipment and outdoor classroom supplies. This will also make the supplies safer to access as the existing outdoor storage areas are attached to maintenance buildings that aren’t safe for student/teacher access.
With a return to an in-person instruction we will have to return to using our cafeteria to its fullest capacity. To keep numbers lower in the cafeteria we will increase the number of lunch periods with less time between periods. To do this we will invest in a new dishwasher to ensure we can adequately sanitize between lunches in the shortened time between lunches. We will also purchase a new salad bar that meets food and health regulations.
The administration and bargaining units will work together to develop a mentoring program for all non-tenured staff that will follow the teachers through the first four years of their probationary period. The ARP funds will cover the training costs for a core leadership mentoring team and also allow for release time during the year for mentors and mentees to work together.
The PHCS community appreciates your support and values your input as we remain steadfast in our mission, The Parishville-Hopkinton Central School community strives to instill in all students the knowledge and skills necessary to become caring, conscientious, and creative citizens.