Esser Use of Funds Plan
District 6 has been allocated significant federal resources through numerous relief grants designated to address the COVID-19 pandemic. While the first grants have been spent to address the immediate impacts of the pandemic, there are two large grants remaining. The Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds made available through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act and the American Rescue Plan (commonly referred to as ESSER II and ESSER III, respectively) are intended to assist schools in addressing the longer-term impacts of the pandemic. ESSER III specifically requires schools and districts to address lost instructional time.
Through numerous listening sessions with stakeholders and review of student data (academic, attendance and survey data), the district has determined that lost instructional time and social, emotional and mental health are critical areas to address. In order to address lost instructional time, the district has planned for expansive summer school programs each summer the ARP ESSER III funding is available. Students identified as most at risk due to grades, academic growth, test scores or other factors were invited to participate in summer programs in June 2021. The result was the largest summer program ever run by District 6, with approximately 35% of the district's students participating. The district emphasized small class sizes (around 15 students) to allow for more personalized and targeted instruction to catch students up after the pandemic impacted the 2020-21 school year. To address social, emotional and mental health needs of all students, the district is planning to use ARP ESSER III funds to greatly increase the number of social workers in our system. The district plans to have at least a .5 social worker in every school, and at least a full time social worker in our larger secondary schools. To further address needs of our students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the district is planning to contract for attendance advocates (we need to re-engage students and families in school), credit recovery specialists (to keep students on track to graduate on time), and will employ Parent and Family Advocates at each elementary, K-8 and middle school to focus on building relationships with parents and families and their child(ren)'s school. Those relationships were strained to a greater degree during the pandemic as opportunities for parents to engage in their student's learning were limited and many families were struggling with job loss, wage loss, health concerns and other issues.
As a strategy to identify and determine the needs of specific student groups, the LEA will work directly with the Student Information Services (SIS) department and the District 6 Family Center (DFC). The SIS department will provide access to daily Early Warning Signs data reporting on attendance, discipline, and grades. In addition to weekly data analysis meetings, liaisons and advocates (e.g., McKinney-Vento, Foster, Migrant, and Title I) at the DFC will partner with internal departments (e.g., Enrollment and Admissions, Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), Special Education, and English Language Development) and external organizations (e.g., Department of Human Services, Immigrant Refugee Center, Centennial BOCES, and Greeley Transitional Housing) to ensure referral and identification of students and access to a multi-tiered system of support(s) (MTSS). By leveraging meetings directly connected to students with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, out-of-home placement, and high-mobility, DFC staff will better determine academic and social and emotional needs; subsequently, working with noted partners to establish aligned support(s) and services. Once needs are identified and determined, relevant stakeholders such as Parent and Family Advocates, Attendance Liaisons, Course Recovery Specialists, Social Workers, and Counselors will provide immediate support(s) at the school level and incorporate virtual and in-person visits as preferred by students and their families. To address needs associated with students of color, the Director of Cultural Excellence will work with School Equity Teams (SET) to provide professional development and guidance to inform decision-making and develop culturally responsive approaches as situations arise. Additional data that will inform the LEA on the needs of students of color include perception survey responses in the areas of SEL and Race and student panels. All methods helping the identification and determination of student needs will be addressed to ensure academic and SEL support(s) and services. For academics, the LEA will provide tutoring, after-school and summer school programming, credit recovery, and opportunities for credit advancement. For SEL, the LEA will provide and or coordinate counseling, therapy, and access to wraparound services.
In order to evaluate and assess the impact of the interventions, strategies, and activities, the LEA wil review quantitative and qualitative data. Specific quantitative data related to academic performance includes CMAS, WIDA, DIBELS, and NWEA assessments. For quantitative data that informs the active status of students, relevant stakeholders will leverage the eduCLIMBER platform for attendance, discipline, grades, on-track status, and identified program support(s). (e.g., McKinney-Vento, Foster, Migrant, Newcomers, Special Education, and ELL) With support from the Academic Achievement team, schools conduct data-driven discussions on a weekly basis with subsequent reports to applicable staff. Specific qualitative data points will be reported via Panorama student, parent/family, and teachers perception survey responses. The LEA will work with the professional learning staff at Panorama to coordinate data-dialogue learning sessions for district leaders, school administrators and teachers, social workers and counselors, and School Equity Teams (SET). By aligning interventions, strategies, and activities with the Innovation2030 (I2030) Strategic Plan, the LEA receives timely evidence in the four focus areas of Student Learning and Achievement, Operational and Organizational Effectiveness, Climate and Culture, and Strengthening Partnership. Because the goals attached to noted focus areas are supported by means of an ongoing monitoring system, the LEA will work with I2030 steering committee leads and action teams to review data, inform decision-making, and develop timely adjustments when necessary.