Connecticut Department of Education Seeking Public Comment on ARP ESSER State Plan
Hosting Two Public Forums Next Week to Solicit Stakeholder Input on Priorities for Federal Funding
(Hartford) – The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) today announced it is seeking input from its educational stakeholders to inform the development of the Department’s plan for use of the $110 million state set-aside it received through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) fund. The CSDE will partner with the State Education Resource Center (SERC) to hold two public forums next week to engage in meaningful consultation with diverse stakeholder groups and take into account their input:
- Thursday, May 20, from 5:30pm to 7:30pm; Register Here.
- Friday, May 21, from 8:30am to 10:30am; Register Here.
- Residents can also review CSDE’s Public and Stakeholder Input Form and submit written comment to the Department’s dedicated email address: SDE.ARPESSER@ct.gov.
“We know bringing diverse perspectives to the table will be essential to implementing a plan that advances equity and access, and is responsive to the needs of students, families, and educators,” Acting Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker said. “Listening to the voices of those who have significant insight into the impact of COVID-19 on teaching, learning, and student and staff well-being will be essential to informing the investments and decisions we need to make on our road to educational renewal.”
The U.S. Department of Education (USED) requires state education agencies (SEAs) to offer the public an opportunity to provide input on the creation of their respective ARP ESSER plans. The USED is calling for SEAs to submit plans that describe their planned approach for the effective use of ARP ESSER funds to reopen schools safely this spring; support sustained access to in-person instruction throughout the spring, summer, and into next school year; and to address the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of students.
Each SEA must submit to the USED by June 7, 2021, its ARP ESSER plan to be posted on the USED’s website, where each plan’s approval status will be indicated. With a focus on transparency, SEAs are also required to facilitate consultation and public input by publishing and regularly updating information on school modes of instruction and student enrollment and attendance which CSDE has been providing since the beginning of the school year.
An educational response is underway in Connecticut that promotes renewal, reducing opportunity gaps, accelerating learning, and advancing equity by providing access to supports, resources, and enhanced enrichment opportunities. The state previously received more than $492 million through ESSER II, which CSDE used as an opportunity to highlight its State-Level Priorities for education funding deemed critical to meeting student need. Given the new funding available and the evolving educational needs at the district and school level, Connecticut's ARP ESSER Guidance expands upon those priorities to reflect the collective call to think boldly and create transformative programs to accomplish the common goals of education renewal, learning acceleration, and enrichment for every student:
- Learning Acceleration, Academic Renewal, and Student Enrichment;
- Family and Community Connections;
- Social, Emotional, and Mental Health of the Students and of our School Staff;
- Strategic Use of Technology, Staff Development, and the Digital Divide; and
- Building Safe and Healthy Schools
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