Akron Public Schools (APS) is now investing in its scholars and schools the balance of ESSER III funds over the next two years.
The federal government created the funding known as ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools. The emergency funding’s mission is also to address the impact of the COVID pandemic on America’s students.
We want to see the impact on our scholars and their learning experience by investing ESSER funds to emerge stronger and future-focused in the post-pandemic period. Akron Public Schools is spending ESSER funds in three focused areas: scholars, schools and families. Listen to the video to learn about our ten strategic investments and the strategies we are implementing.
ESSER Pandemic-Related Relief Funds
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 is an economic stimulus bill that provides nearly $123 billion in emergency aid for K-12 schools across the country. This represents the greatest amount of emergency fiscal aid for education ever approved by the federal government. Part of the overall American Rescue Plan for COVID-19, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief is also known as ESSER.
Akron Public Schools (APS) is receiving $149.3 million in ESSER funds. The government recognizes the importance of providing funding that allows students to continue to receive and schools to deliver a high-quality education during a most challenging time.
ESSER Funds come from three Federal Acts:
Coronavirus aid, relief and economic security act (CARES Act)
Enacted March 27, 2020
Coronavirus response and relief supplemental appropriations act (CRRSA)
Enacted December 27, 2020
American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP)
Enacted March 11, 2021
Throughout the pandemic, Akron Public Schools has prioritized the use of federal dollars for health and safety, continuation of operations, learning recovery, and social and emotional/mental health supports. The slideshow highlights spending areas and dollar amounts of ESSER I and II funds. Use forward and back arrows to advance or return. Click here or see the image below for details on each area.
Investment in Scholars
ESSER III will enable us to accelerate learning through the use of additional tutors, intervention materials and equity in higher-level course offerings. We will invest in whole-child supports by providing additional elementary school counselors and positive behavior support and restorative programs to ensure our scholars' social and mental health needs are addressed. To extend learning time, we will expand summer programs and scholar leadership opportunities.
Knowing the pandemic widened pre-existing opportunity and achievement gaps, hitting historically disadvantaged students hardest, we invested more than a million dollars toward equity-based services to ensure we identify and address all student needs.
Investment in Schools
Equity is at the heart of all strategic investments, but ESSER III will uniquely fund interpreters for diverse English learners and reviews of our current district practices to eliminate systemic barriers. Grow Your Own strategies and minority recruitment activities will be supported to ensure our faculty and staff better reflect the students we serve.
ESSER III will be used to ensure our older facilities are warm, safe and dry and all schools continue to have the technology and 1:1 devices needed for today’s digital information age.
Student and educator innovation and learning accelerator grants will be provided to try new ideas to improve learning and climate.
Investment in Families
We are enhancing family engagement opportunities including the expansion of our successful family resource centers.
Learning from the pandemic allowed us to grow in understanding family communication needs. We saw gaps and will invest in filling those gaps, in order to create an atmosphere that allows families to express themselves and receive timely and family friendly information.
The Akron Board of Education will monitor the planning and implementation of strategies and resources aligned with ESSER III. The Superintendent, CFO and leadership team will facilitate planning, feedback groups, engagement and implementation support. We welcome your feedback and engagement.