Knox County Public Schools leadership worked to ensure that our ARP funding would identify needed changes to infrastructure to reduce further loss of instructional time; to put supports in place for the immediate need for interventions and enrichment for students returning to school this fall; and to look ahead at the future for relevant learning opportunities to prepare them for the future.
KCPS conducted a district-wide survey in an attempt to solicit real feedback from teachers and other stakeholders on what will make a difference in their classroom, or for their child(ren) as a parent, as related to loss of instruction. We also took into consideration the loss of income for many families that were furloughed or had less opportunities for work if self-employeed.
The needs assessment was conducted electronically and advertised during social media and print media for participation.
INFRASTRUCTURE GOALS AND PPE
Research shows that the installation of air quality purification equipment at each school will both provide cleaner air during times of widespread virus and throughout the year with common influenza and other airborne viruses. KCPS will be installing these units at all schools and providing HVAC upgrades where needed to ensure air flow and heating and cooling for comfortable learning environments.
Funds will also be used to purchase on-going PPE including cleaning chemicals that are effective at reducing novel coronavirus and variants.
LOSS OF LEARNING
Our extended school services will be offered twice a week after the dismissal of school. In the summer of 2022, we will be providing three weeks of summer boost in the month of July. These two opportunities, outside of the school day, will help both students who became behind due to COVID-19 closure and those students who need additional support to catch up faster on mastering standards.
Additional interventionists will be hired using the funding so that each elementary school has a staff member dedicated to providing direct services to students throughout the day.
A full time substitute teacher will be provided at the middle and high school levels to allow our teachers time to attend professional learning opportunities on learning loss, to meet with curriculum coaches and school leadership to review student data and develop plans for each.
Simple Solutions and Odysseyware are among the instructional purchases that will assist the district with providing intervention and enrichment at elementary through high school levels. Odysseyware will be used as the virtual platform for those on homebound or for families that seek a virtual learning solution for their child(ren).
Funding has been allotted for upgrades to advanced high school level calculators, significant improvements to our CTE programs including the locally operated career and technical center, and additional upgrades to teacher workstations to include multiple monitors, document cameras, and other tools that were found to be needed for remote learning.
Digital Learning Coaches and STLP (Student Technology Leadership Program) advisors are being funded to ensure that all members of the school community have access to technology support whether in the classroom or if learning becomes remote. Students will learn how to be a help desk for all stakeholders. Digital Learning Coaches will provide intentional training based on teacher need including 1:1 support or school-wide trainings.
Our transportation department will be purchasing additional buses to reduce the number of students on each bus (for masking and spacing purposes) and to reduce student ride time to and from school.
DIRECT FAMILY SUPPORT
The school district will be purchasing the necessary school supplies for each grade level, content level, at each school. Students and their families will not be required to purchase supplies for the 2021-2022 school year. Teachers will receive funding for any specialty items (ex: art class) that they might need that are consumable throughout the year.
PLAN REVIEW AND REVISION
A district stakeholder team reviewed the plan to ensure that funding met requirements and were directly related to the feedback received through the needs assessment. This group will continue to meet to review and revise, as necessary, the plan due to changes in need or changes in prices.
KCPS welcomes feedback as the school year begins on the implementation and success of strategies and goals of ARP ESSER funds. Suggestions and other comments may be addressed to our Director of Federal Programs, Stacy Imel, at firstname.lastname@example.org