ESSER Funding Offers New Opportunities for Schools Post COVID-19
In 2020, Congress passed legislation to assist schools in addressing the impact that the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the Nation. Known as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, as a part of the Education Stabilization CARES Act, these funds offer a much-needed level of assistance to schools in their efforts to reclaim lost instructional time and gains for students across the United States.
Now is the time for district leaders to analyze and plan for ways to address student needs. Once areas of need are identified, what internal and external resources and supports are available to assist in fulfilling your district plan?
Stetson & Associates, Inc. is partnering with districts across the country to create personalized action plans that define ways to respond to student learning loss. Closing the achievement gap has been a challenge for educators for many years, and now more than ever, school leaders are charged with providing interventions which respond to students’ social, emotional, and academic needs.
Stetson & Associates, Inc. offers services which provide practical, research-based resources, strategies, coaching and professional development designed specifically to fulfill the improvement goals established by your district.
Targeted Evaluation of Needs and Effective Interventions
The first and perhaps most critical step in rebuilding schools and student success is a targeted evaluation of current instructional practices, teacher skills levels, and school leadership capacity to lead forward in ways that support students and staff. Stetson & Associates is highly experienced in conducting structured classroom observations and principal interviews to pinpoint the best ways to achieve instructional outcomes and a revitalized school climate for staff and student learning. This process answers the questions: What is NOW and what must be for the FUTURE? This knowledge is a springboard for the next questions and actions. It also ultimately saves the client district time and missteps by providing a clear target for the action steps to follow.
Development of Specific Instructional Skills for Accelerating Learning
With the information from the evaluation of need, Stetson & Associates works with district leadership to craft an action plan that is specific and offers accountable benchmarks for implementation. While there will be many components of the final school plan, no section is more important than the plan for providing instructional excellence within an accelerated instruction framework. Old remedial models must be left behind. Likely strategies such as multi-level instruction, use of scaffolds to increase efficient learning, differentiated instruction, positive behavioral supports, flexible student grouping, and many others will be viewed as necessary characteristics of instruction that ensures robust learning, retention of knowledge, and recouping lost instructional time during COVID-19 quarantine. There will also be attention to such organizational tasks as revitalized staffing and scheduling, orientation of new employees, and many more.
Embedded Strategies to Enhance Student Resilience and Staff Recovery
Personal resiliency is no longer a catchphrase. It is a necessary and critical part of creating a safe environment for students and teachers, particularly following the COVID period of separation and anxiety. Research shows some of the strongest influences on student learning are aspects related to social and emotional health and a sense of self-efficacy and personal empowerment. The same is equally true for our teaching faculty—not only the capacity to build these skills in the students they serve but in themselves in order to be more effectual in their roles. Stetson & Associates has a staff highly skilled in incorporating strategies for staff and student resilience into your action planning, professional development and leadership coaching.
Evaluation of Impact on Student Gains and Staff Skill Sets
One of the biggest challenges school administrators face is time for professional development. Professional learning is a vital part of the continual growth process and skill enhancement, yet it is too often the easiest variable to neglect. A college degree or certificate is not enough to equip teachers with skill sets required to meet student needs. To evolve with the ever-changing needs of students, continuous adult learning is a must!
Research shows that teacher instructional practices highly impact student learning. Now is the time to make professional learning and staff skills a priority. Stetson & Associates offers many different options for building staff capacity, from traditional sessions to distance learning to our outstanding catalog of online courses. At the beginning of the process, Stetson & Associates will identify the metrics for success related to your goals and action plan. Some indicators will be monitored on an ongoing basis while others will be the focus of quarterly reviews, thus ensuring an objective mechanism for accountability for results.
The approval of ESSER funding affords districts an opportunity to build the foundation for programmatic planning that impacts student learning and achievement.
Contact us today to discuss your specific needs and plans as well as how Stetson & Associates can provide solid, proven assistance in this important endeavor!