Connecticut State Department of Education Announces Submission of ARP ESSER Plan
(Hartford) - The Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) today announced it has submitted to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) its plan for use of its $110 million state set-aside of federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds. CSDE made it a priority to engage in meaningful consultation with diverse stakeholder groups to inform the development of a state plan that best supports students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs, as well as the needs of educators and school communities. Both an executive summary and the state plan, now pending-approval, can be found on CSDE’s ARP ESSER page.
The USED required all state education agencies (SEA) to submit plans that describe their planned approach for the effective use of ARP ESSER funds, of which Connecticut is receiving a total of $1.1 billion, to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the pandemic on students. Built using the template provided by the USED, the CSDE ARP ESSER state plan provides a comprehensive narrative of its vision for investments that can maximize both the short-term and lasting impacts of the federal funding to ensure access to summer enrichment opportunities and sustained in-person instruction throughout the 2021-22 academic year; address the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of students; and support districts and the educator workforce. CSDE will also continue to collect evidence to inform future funding for strategies that are deemed most effective in accomplishing these goals.
“ESSER I created the opportunity to survive; ESSER II created the opportunity to thrive; and ARP ESSER is giving us the opportunity to reimagine our schools in a way that transforms students’ lives and is responsive to the needs of our school communities,” said Acting Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker. “In partnership with districts, stakeholders, students, and families, we will continue taking a bold and innovative approach focused on renewal, reducing gaps, and accelerating learning.”
The USED required all SEAs to submit, by June 7, 2021, their ARP ESSER plans, which will be posted on the USED’s website and where their respective 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. CSDE has been publicly providing this data since the beginning of the 2020-21 school year. Ongoing data analysis, continued stakeholder engagement, and a landscape analysis of promising practices within districts, will inform CSDE decisions about the initiatives that are sustainable and scalable under ARP ESSER. In addition, recognizing the complexity of making sustainable investments, the CSDE is dedicated to providing support for the planning and implementation of the $995 million in ARP ESSER funds allocated to districts.
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