In 2020 and 2021, Congress passed three separate COVID-19 federal relief packages.
These packages delivered millions of dollars directly to schools and districts and, separately, provided the Arizona Department of Education with discretionary and required set aside ESSER funds to dedicate toward statewide strategic projects and investments that will support schools' recovery needs and increase learning opportunities for students through 2024.
How ADE Makes Allocation Decisions
Our goal is to allocate these federal recovery dollars strategically and equitably to reach students and communities in each of Arizona’s fifteen counties. Where possible, we have taken advantage of the opportunity to leverage these funds alongside existing investments.
Each of ADE’s allocations follows a rubric to ensure we:
Support students and communities most impacted by COVID-19
Expand schools’ access to evidence-based programs and training
Address multiple factors that impact students' academics, including:
Educator workforce shortages
Family internet connectivity
Measure the success and impact of these investments
Although these projects reflect American Rescue Plan (ARP) funded projects, you can view all our American Rescue Plan School and Community Grantees on their separate webpage.
Goal: Increase proficiency for all students and close achievement gaps.
Engaging and empowering Arizona students to reach their full potential and providing opportunities for equitable academic outcomes so all students have access to multiple pathways to achieve lifelong success.
The Akimel O'Otham Pee Posh Charter School willmitigate the impact of the pandemic on families residing in the Gila River Indian Reservation by providing high-quality books to establish home libraries for all enrolled preschool and kindergarten students.
Arizona Autism United will expand its speech and language therapy services for children with developmental disabilities throughout Maricopa County.
The ADE Office of Indian Education works statewide to support educational opportunities for indigenous students attending Arizona’s public schools. More capacity is needed in this office to support the unique recovery needs of indigenous families and their schools, especially given the outsized impact of COVID-19 on tribal communities.
The Arizona Education Foundation's teachSTEM initiative helps address gaps in STEM access while inspiring our next generation of educators.
Arizona PBS Educational Outreach will use these funds to implement the PBS Kids Super WHY Camp, an early literacy, evidence-based pre-kindergarten summer school transition program for 4- and 5-year-old students with little or no preschool experience in targeted low-income communities.
Arizona Science Teachers Association will assist K-12 teachers by providing instructional and curriculum resources and professional development for high-quality, relevant science learning.
ASU Center for Science and Imagination will use these funds for Project ASAP (Arizona STEM Acceleration Project) to reimagine Arizona’s STEM education ecosystem and prepare teachers to deliver high-quality, hands-on STEM activities by providing professional development opportunities and materials needed to update the classroom curriculum.
ASU Prep Digital provides a rigorous, intelligently curated math curriculum for middle school students. Math Momentum will promote active learning as lesson pathways cater to individual knowledge and skills, motivating and supporting struggling and advanced learners. This initiative started with a summer 2021 pilot program with eight districts using a digital learning model, then expanded to serve over 5000 students at 40 schools in the 21-22 school year and is designed to continue through the 23-24 school year.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arizona (BBBSAZ) provides in-school, community-based, and virtual mentoring programs to help at-risk youth reach their full potential. This investment will allow BBBSAZ to match 200 vulnerable, low-income youth (100 yearly over two years) with screened and trained adult mentors and other resources through their Time is Now Youth Mentorship program.
School Participatory Budgetingengages elementary through high school students in learning democracy by influencing decisions impacting their lives and transforming their school communities. The funding will enable CFA to significantly expand SPB across Arizona to serve many more students and school communities impacted by the pandemic.
Childsplay AZ will use the funds to implement its EYEPlay program, which prepares teachers to enrich literacy and language development for preschool students transitioning to kindergarten.
Provides comprehensive, evidence-based programming to improve the educational outcomes of at-risk students attending Title I schools in Maricopa County.
OFY works to connect disconnected or "opportunity" youth ages 16-24 with education or employment opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic has only increased the number of young people in need of being reconnected. This investment will support the ongoing work of OFY and its partners across Maricopa County.
SciTech Institute will use these funds to expand experiential STEM opportunities in Title-I schools to connect more than 25,000 students statewide.
It has been fourteen years since Arizona last commissioned a special education cost study, leaving policymakers with outdated information to inform legislative decisions. This study is a valuable tool to show the cost required to meet all students' needs and advocate for additional funding. Learn more about the special education programs and cost review.
Special Olympics Arizona will expand its Unified Champion Schools program. Unified Champion Schools is a strategy to activate youth, engage educators, and promote acceptance and inclusion in school communities.
Native Student Outreach, Access, and Resiliency (SOAR) program will establish a comprehensive multigenerational mentoring program that centers on the needs of Native students statewide through the P-20 education system.
Through Project CALL: Collaborating to Accelerate Literacy and Learning, VSUW will work with ReadOn Arizona and other community partners to reduce learning loss and increase summer and out-of-school learning for students and families by establishing state and community-level literacy hubs.
The Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) program will engage cohorts of committed practitioners across Arizona in a multi-year systemic professional learning partnership model. Participating educators will increase their capacity to recognize, design, and implement rigorous, generative instruction for all students, accelerating learning and allowing them to reach their full potential.
Goal: Every student has access to qualified educators and leaders.
Inadequate retention and recruitment of teachers and other professionals providing specialized student support, such as school counselors, has led to a staffing shortage.
Highly effective teachers in the classroom are the biggest predictor of student success. Arizona must foster a robust, statewide teaching profession where educators can grow and thrive professionally and personally.
This funding expands the capacity for the Arizona K12 Center’s educator mentoring program. Experienced mentors work directly with new teachers to support them during their first years in the classroom. This evidence-based retention strategy is key to long-term success in the classroom.
The Arizona Student Opportunity Collaborative will fill curricular gaps for students and schools in rural Arizona. AZSOC hires highly qualified educators already serving in rural schools to teach other rural students across the state. AZSOC is in its third full semester of operations, and this grant will help the project serve more rural students across the state.
The Arizona Teacher Residency is a first-of-its-kind graduate program in Arizona modeled after medical residencies to help recruit, prepare, support, and retain K-12 teachers. The two-year program provides aspiring teachers with in-classroom experience, cost-of-living stipends, a master’s degree, and a job at a partnering school district.
The Mary Lou Fulton Teacher's College will systematically add capacity to Arizona's educator workforce by intentionally bringing trained and supported Community Educators into schools statewide, focusing on rural areas.
ThePreparing Educators for Arizona's Indigenous Communities (PEAIC)Project at ASU trains indigenous educators using the Professional Pathways model, which offers undergraduate degrees that lead to certification in Elementary Education or dual certification in Special Education and Elementary Education. The Professional Pathways degree with certification programs is ideal for supporting Tribal communities because it can be customized to meet the needs of indigenous communities and support the “grow your own” process of teacher education critical to successful indigenous education.
Avondale Elementary School District will implement the i-Ready Learning instructional resources district-wide. The strategies provided by i-Ready will give educators the tools they need to support student academic success in math and reading.
Cottonwood-Oak Creek School District will implement Academic Parent-Teacher Teams (APTT), a family engagement model grounded in the notion that schools can thrive when families and teachers work together as genuine partners to maximize student learning inside and outside of school.
Starting on March 8, 2022, the Arizona Department of Education applied up to $1,000 to Arizona classroom teachers’ projects requesting resources to support students in response to COVID-19. All Arizona PreK-12th grade public school teachers were eligible to apply for this classroom funding, and over 15,274 teacher projects were funded. View our dashboard to see funded projects.
The Learning Acceleration Project equips teachers and school leaders with skills and tools to ensure all students, especially those with pandemic-related learning loss, can engage in grade-level learning.
These funds support a coordinator position with the Million Dollar Teacher Project's Classroom Support Team to their capacity and infrastructure. This position will support expanded programming in four new districts assisting more than 30 educators and nearly 800 students.
The Diné Institute strengthens teaching in schools serving Navajo students by engaging all interested teachers in long-term professional development seminars to increase content knowledge, curriculum development skills, capacity to deliver culturally responsive lessons, and leadership ability. This investment will allow the program to expand to 40 fellows in 2021.
University of Arizona's Indigenous Teacher Education Program (ITEP) is committed to addressing teacher shortages by increasing the number of Native American (NA) teachers serving NA students and diverse populations. ITEP prepares NA teachers to understand the unique contexts of Indigenous cultures, histories, knowledge systems, and values that sustain Indigenous student identities while improving academic achievement. When teachers understand the context of specific Indigenous cultures, histories, knowledge systems, and values, teachers are better equipped to teach NA students.
Goal: All students will learn and grow in a safe and healthy environment.
Integral to every child’s education is their social-emotional wellbeing, in which mental and physical health and safety have a primary role.
Schools need resources and information to sustain safe, healthy, supportive, and inclusive environments for students, families, and educators.
Boys and Girls Club of the Valley will implement its Whole Child Approach (WCA) program, helping alleviate social and emotional stress among children and youth. The program will be expanded to children ages 5-17 in Maricopa, and Pinal Counties will have the opportunity to participate in activities that promote recovery by introducing and teaching developmental skills that reinforce success in school, work, and life.
Cartwright Elementary School District will support students using a three-pronged program. This will include structured play during recess to allow students to apply their social skills, improving behavioral outcomes. Cartwright will also provide home libraries to extend students' access to high-quality reading materials and resources to support math learning.
Chicanos Por La Causa will offer students increased mental, behavioral, and physical health support. CPLC school sites will hire on-site counselors to address the immediate needs of students.
Coconino County Education Services Agency's Building Resilient Youth and Schools (BRYS) project aims to equip educators and schools with the skillset required to address the multi-faceted mental and physical impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic directly correlated to a reduction in education effectiveness in youth.
Mindfulness First will expand their services to schools providing supportive, age-appropriate education in mental health and mental health practices to help students regulate their reactions to stress and prepare them to thrive academically.
notMYkid will expand its mental and behavioral health services to 50,000 youth, parents, caregivers, and school faculty. These services will focus on serving Title-I schools, LGBTQ youth, and low-income students and their families.
This funding supports a two-year partnership to provide social-emotional professional development training to Arizona teachers. The PAX Good Behavior Game (PAX GBG) is a powerful, evidence-based practice consisting of proven instructional and behavioral health strategies teachers can use with their students in the classroom. This partnership will continue and expand the implementation of PAX GBG after a previous partnership between PAX, AHCCCS, and the Governor’s Office of Youth, Faith, and Family (GOYFF) trained 3,800 teachers and community leaders across Arizona in the last two years.
Playworks Ed Energized promotes socialization skills and independent conflict resolution proficiency through gameplay. The dollars granted to Playworks will be used towards expanding their services to more Title-I schools in Arizona.
Santa Cruz County Education Services Agency's Invest in Our Youth Project is a comprehensive initiative for our young children and youth to address learning loss and the social and emotional stress resulting from the COVID-19 Pandemic.
The BARR Center implements the BARR (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) model in selected schools. The BARR model allows K12 staff to better understand and build on students' strengths, proactively address the non-academic reasons a student may fall behind in school, and identify which resources they need to thrive.
Valley of the Sun YMCA will support the mental, physical, and behavioral health needs of students and educators, by providing memberships and expanding services such as diabetes prevention and sports programming.
The Arizona Department of Education will allocate $6.75 million in pandemic relief funds to waive fees for students qualifying for reduced-price school meals. Beginning in January, this investment will make school meals free for thousands of Arizona students who do not already qualify for federally funded free meals. The funding will last through the end of the 2023-2024 school year and will pay for over 2.2 million meals. Our Health and Nutrition Services team will share logistical information with local schools. Families should reach out to their district or charter for more information.
Serving AZ School Communities & Families through the Pandemic
Goal: Help schools and families address disruptions resulting from the emergency of the pandemic.
Safe and healthy schools ensure that all students can learn and grow successfully. These projects supported healthy school environments regardless of public health crises.
Access ASU will provide academic support services for first-generation and low-income students statewide in critical transition periods of middle school to high school and senior year to post-secondary. Access ASU will also provide student and family engagement services for elementary, middle, and high school students statewide and targeted high school foster youth support.
The Parent Educator Academy is designed to place passionate parents in the classrooms of schools to shift the trajectory of workforce development to start growing talent where it matters most – parents – and advancing them into future positions of influence. This investment will allow ALL in Education to expand to additional districts and counties over the next three years.
The YMCA and the Arizona Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs provide the capacity to support onsite services, to support Arizona youth who do not have access to technology or adult supervision at home to complete school curriculum and to support childcare and extended day opportunities for families to accommodate workforce hours - particularly for essential workers.
Higher Ground Resource Center will expand its Restart SMART community schools program. Higher Ground serves primarily low-income youth and families in the Tucson area through in-school, summer, and after-school programs that build life skills and provide critical multigenerational support.
The ASU Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College will implement Play On! Designed to offer after-school enrichment at fourteen elementary schools in Mesa Public Schools, the program promotes mental and physical health through active and inclusive games.
The compensatory fund supports public schools in determining which students with disabilities may need compensatory services and aid in delivering those services.
Bridging the Digital Divide and Providing Access to Digital Resources
Goal: Bridge the digital divide and provide broadband access.
Provide relief to meet immediate needs and address ongoing needs and solutions that strengthen connectivity across Arizona and its school communities.
The Office of Digital Teaching and Learning (ODTL) provides Local Education Agencies with access to resources from within or outside of ADE to address the digital divide that limits K-12 students in Arizona from access to digital learning efficacy. ADE established ODTL in July 2021 and was created in response to a recommendation from the Education Technology Task Force, a group established by the Superintendent of Public Instruction to inform statewide tech needs and solutions for K-12 education.
Providing every Arizona teacher, family, and student access to Discovery Education's state-of-the-art edtech learning platform, including a vast collection of compelling, high-quality, standards-aligned content, ready-to-use digital lessons, and professional learning resources.
TheFinal Mile Project is bringingreliable, high-speed internet access to rural Arizona students by extending existing broadband capacity at schools and libraries to students’ homes. In March 2022, they completed their first project in the Paloma School District. There are eight more ongoing Final Mile projects in some of our most rural and remote districts.
The Arizona Department of Education used these funds to provide monthly recurring service for 200 Kajeet hotspots for students in rural and remote areas for one year from the onset of the pandemic.
Phoenix Public Library launched a laptop and hotspot lending program in the spring of 2020 with a fleet of 425 laptops and 200 hotspots to be lent to customers within one-week lending periods. To better serve students needing longer lending periods, ADE’s investment will allow for an expansion to double the number of laptops and hotspots available, allocating half of the collection specifically reserved to meet the needs of students. College Depot at Phoenix Public Library staff would help identify the youth and provide semester-long and summer lending periods.
Goal: All students are prepared to access and succeed in post-secondary learning opportunities.
Post-secondary access and success are vital to ensuring all students reach their full potential.
AdviseAZ places current college students and recent college graduates as part-time advisers in high schools throughout the state. They collaborate with school leadership to enhance its college and career culture. This new funding will support AdviseAZ AmeriCorps member placement in more high schools across Arizona.
Arizona Business Education Coalition (ABEC) will assist students in grades 6-12 make informed decisions regarding their education, bridge the gap between rigorous academics and relevancy to real work environments, and understanding critical employability skills or credentials needed to succeed in the workforce.
Arizona College Access Network's College Access Professional (CAP) Training) trains ADE staff to facilitate virtual/hybrid teacher training to increase postsecondary attainment throughout Arizona, focusing on low-income and underserved populations.
Ask Benji is an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that assists students in completing the FAFSA. Over the next two years, the funding will expand Ask Benji’s services statewide, enhance the chatbot to include new service features such as career interest and college application assistance, and support community activities.
Arizona Pathways to Prosperity (APTP) increases college and career readiness and opportunities for upward economic mobility for K-12 students. APTP provides quality career exploration and guidance, direct experiences in the workplace, and an early start on earning college credit that leads to a career-connected degree or credential in high-demand career fields.
City of Tempe Human Services Department will provide college and career readiness support services to underrepresented middle and high school students who live or attend school in Tempe and the surrounding areas. Students will receive individualized college and career advising, Free Application for FAFSA completion assistance, and work-based learning opportunities, preparing students to achieve their postsecondary education and career goals.
Jobs for Arizona Graduates (JAG) will provide intervention to prevent disconnection from school, facilitate academic improvements and bring the community into the classroom to support career and college goals for Arizona students.
This funding will support Junior Achievement's premier career-readiness program, Junior Achievement Inspire. Middle and high school students across the state have the opportunity to connect with Arizona employers of all sizes and industries, explore hundreds of careers in their community, and begin forming the framework for their future career pathways.