American Rescue Plan (ARP)-ESSER funding plan

Dear Stillwater Community,

The 2021-22 enacted state budget includes language requiring local education agencies, such as school districts, that receive funding from the Federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP-ESSER) to post on their website a plan by school year of how these funds will be spent.

New York has been allocated nearly $9 billion in ARP-ESSER funds, with a minimum of $8.09 billion (90 percent) going to local education agencies, including public schools.

In addition, districts must identify programs and services that will continue beyond the availability of these federal funds and how local funds will be used moving forward in order to minimize disruption to core academic and other school programs.

Before posting this plan, districts are required to seek public comment from parents, teachers and other stakeholders and take such comments into account in the development of the plan.

The following plan includes information regarding the Stillwater Central School District’s allocation of $1,514,078 in federal stimulus funds through the American Rescue Plan. Of the ARP-ESSER total allocation of $1,514,078, $862,816 is required to: support summer programming ($100,002), after-school programming ($100,002), and/or additional support to address learning loss ($662,812). The remaining portion of the allocation can be used to support our district, particularly in areas most impacted by the pandemic.

Our administrative team, Program Committee and various other committees composed of teachers, staff members, district leadership, parents and community members have reviewed the plan components, suggested revisions and determined that the plan meets the charge to “prioritize spending on non-recurring expenses.” The funds allow for us to:

  • Safely return students to in-person instruction;
  • Maximize in-person instruction time;
  • Operate schools and meet the needs of students;
  • Purchase educational technology;
  • Address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, including the impacts of interrupted instruction and learning loss and the impacts on low-income students, children with disabilities, English language learners, and students experiencing homelessness;
  • Implement evidence-based strategies to meet students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs
  • Offer evidence-based summer, afterschool, and other extended learning and enrichment programs; and
  • Support early childhood education.

Please note, the plan covers a three-year funded time span. As such, we anticipate that amendments will likely occur as we implement programs, review each program’s impact on student learning and engagement and revise as necessary.

These funds are separate and distinct from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) total allocation of $937,587.

If you have any questions about the ARP-ESSER plan, please contact me at pmorris@scsd.org or by phone at (518) 373-6100, x30022.

Sincerely,
Patricia Morris
Superintendent


Safely returning students to in-person instruction

Plan Summary:
Our plan includes needs for the safe return to school for all students through the following non-recurring expenditures:

  • Harden exterior door access by adding 9 additional card swipes across the district. Also add basic electronic contacts for all exterior doors to be able to determine at a glance what exterior doors are open and vulnerable.
  • Replace the obsolete and unreliable analog PA system with a new system that is digital and integrated with our informacast server.
  • Add hard drive storage capacity (DVR)to the district surveillance system to ensure 30 days of recorded footage is always available for review
  • Carpet replacement at the elementary school, specifically on the second floor and in the music room. The existing carpet is over 30 years old. New carpet will substantially aid in increased air quality and reduce health hazards associated with old carpet.
  • Air quality improvement through preventative maintenance of air filtration system

Maximizing in-person instruction time

Plan Summary:
Our plan includes needs to maximize in-person instruction time through the following non-recurring expenditures:

  • Hiring a MS/HS math interventionist to work specifically with students who struggle with mathematics. This represents the replacement of a position that was recently vacated due to a retirement. This will provide support in mathematics to match the support already provided in ELA. Based upon evidence of successful implementation, funding for this position will be included in budget considerations for subsequent years, thereby allocating local funds once federal funds are no longer available.

Purchase of educational technology

Plan Summary:
Our plan includes needs in the area of educational technology:

  • Chromebook purchases each year of funding. The Chromebooks will replace outdated devices and reflect the student survey data for the need for increased processing and larger screens. Since moving to virtual schooling in 2020, students had significant experiences with what worked and what didn’t work. We took their feedback and reflected on their needs here. As a result, we learned that moving to a 1:1 student model at the secondary level will prepare students for an integrated technology approach to instruction across the academic spectrum.
    • Replace all HS/MS/teacher/TA Chromebooks and equip with appropriate 14” touch screen size, quad core processing and 8gb of memory resources to successfully operate remotely if needed.
  • Chromebook charger replacements are essential as we move into a school year wherein all students are expected to transition to remote learning when necessitated.
  • Assistive Technology purchase- Customizable tools in Kurzweil 3000 align with research-based learning strategies and provide support throughout the learning process. As a result, students are able to independently grasp and articulate concepts more effectively. This also allows for opportunities for integration in higher level classes for MS/HS students who are cognitively capable but have significant learning disabilities.
  • Interactive televisions for Physical Education/ Adaptive PE classes
    • This will allow for students with disabilities or students who are temporarily unable to participate in PE due to an injury/or some level of social anxiety in large group setting to still participate in some form of PE activity
  • Technology for an additional 1st grade classroom as we needed to add a section due to enrollment and keep smaller class sizes to close learning gaps.
    • 75” Smartboard, teacher desktop and hookup

Addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all students, including low-income students, students with disabilities, English language learners, and students experiencing homelessness by offering evidence-based summer, afterschool, and other extended learning and enrichment programs.

Plan Summary:
Our plan includes the needs to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all students through the following non-recurring expenditures (Any recurring expenditure is notated):

  • Instituting a Summer Enrichment Academy at the elementary school
    • This will provide extended learning and enrichment programs for all of our learners to include accelerated learners throughout the summer.
  • Partnering with the SAYCC to include academics into their summer programming
  • Providing SEL support for summer school students – This would increase student opportunities (especially special populations of students), to become more self-aware, practice social awareness skills, and develop relationships with peers and staff. Counseling staff will be able to coordinate activities for students to re-integrate themselves back into the school environment on a full-time basis in the fall. This would enable counselors the time to involve students, staff and the students’ families, in addition to community based activities.
  • Providing research-based intervention book studies for staff. As we move to a model of multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) and a revised RtI system, administration and staff will participate in book studies involving RtI, MTSS and research-based practices that will assist in closing academic gaps of students due to loss of instructional time over the past 16 months.
  • Structured academic afterschool programming for grades 4-12. Certified teachers will be available both before and after school to assist students struggling with English, Social Studies, mathematics, foreign language and science. The long-term effects of COVID-19 are yet to be realized. It is important to provide ample opportunity for student academic support as we head into the 2021-2022 school year and beyond as we address the loss of learning from the pandemic.

At the high school level we will provide one hour afterschool support Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays in each area (English, Social Studies, Mathematics, Science, World Languages) by grade level. The grade level teacher team will identify struggling students to recommend to the after school tutoring support.

  • SWD after-school Regents prep sessions – on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays after school for one hour, students will work with special education teachers in small groups based upon their deficits as shown on Regents- aligned assessments/tasks. Each day will cover a different subject area – ELA, Algebra, Science and SS
  • SWD before-school skill-building sessions (grades 3-8)- Intervention groups, based upon teacher and RtI recommendations and referrals, can be provided before school for 45 minutes based on student skill deficits
  • Elementary transportation for afterschool programs
    • Many of the students who would benefit from our afterschool programs do not have transportation home from these activities. Therefore, they do not attend. Providing transportation will allow us to reach our entire school population
  • Training ELA staff at the MS/HS as reading interventionists to capture students who are reading two or more grade levels behind. Students who have not been in school full-time, learning within a hybrid model or remote learning have faced a significant loss in learning skills in reading. Teachers can be trained in supplemental reading literacy programs such as the Wilson intervention program to teach students with those learning gaps. This can apply to students with disabilities, ELLs and/or general education students who need AIS.
  • Purchase an interactive touch panel for the office of the elementary behavior specialist

Implementing evidence-based strategies to meet students’ social, emotional, mental health and academic needs.

Plan Summary:

  • Elementary sensory room
    • COVID-19 has had an impact on our students’ mental health and social-emotional well being. A sensory room will provide a place for students who become dysregulated during the school day to go to regulate their emotions.
  • Wellness room- will be staffed by professional support staff able to address student issues and concerns. The pandemic affected all of us in many ways, some of which are not observable. As we return to a traditional learning schedule 5 days a week, it is important to provide a space for the students and staff to support their social, emotional, and mental needs. This room will have a relaxing atmosphere and will offer a variety of options including classes on yoga and mindfulness to support one’s mind, body, and spirit.
  • Professional development to design programs. We will seek out consultant support to develop an evidence based SEL program to support student needs. As we expand our special education continuum for students with disabilities to include classes that focus on building social/emotional skills, we will provide PD opportunities for our teachers/support staff through ongoing collaboration with a behavioral consultant who will support the behavioral management programs within the classrooms to better serve our students who have emotional disabilities.
  • Increase Northern Rivers Services – Currently, clinical services are provided for our students who face mental health challenges and need counseling. Our district can currently service 20 students on the clinician’s caseload. A waiting list does exist and expansion of services will provide all students with the opportunity to meet with the mental health clinician on a weekly basis as well as provide family support, and collaboration/communication with the faculty and staff. As a result, a “mental health clinic” on campus will be accessible for all of the families on the current list as well as the wait list.

Supporting early childhood education

Plan Summary:
Our plan addresses the need to support early childhood education. The proposal is for a recurring cost. Based upon evidence of successful implementation, funding for this position will be included in budget considerations for subsequent years, thereby allocating local funds once federal funds are no longer available.

Hiring a K-2 math interventionist: Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to use our math interventionists as classroom teachers. Additionally, our hybrid model of learning as well as remote learning have created gaps in the educational foundation of many students. Providing early intervention for our K-2 students is critical to close those gaps so they are able to progress.

Other areas of student performance and need

Plan Summary:
Our plan addresses other areas of student performance and need through the following non-recurring expenditures:

  • Work-based Learning career planning curriculum. The high school will reach out to area businesses and business associations to connect students to skill based careers. A school curriculum connecting businesses to our academic program will be developed cooperatively between school and community representatives.
  • Kiln and pottery wheels for Sam Jones art class. Class has grown from 6 students ½ year to 37 students for a full year
  • Updated music scoring software (Finale 27) for all music staff and 6 student versions of Finale 27 for students. Students are currently using Free Google flats, which is extremely limited.
  • 4 Band in a Box Desktop Version for the Music Department, and interactive composition software built to help students/teachers create music efficiently
  • Live streaming software for the auditorium-to effectively manage overflow by allowing staff/students/parents to view concerts from other areas on campus) i.e, Susquehanna band