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 in order 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 trainings
- Address multiple factors that impact students' academics, including:
- Social-emotional wellbeing
- Educator workforce shortages
- Family internet connectivity
- Measure success and impact of these investments
Additional Relief Funding for Public Schools
Goal: Baseline levels of relief funding for all public schools.
Provide a total of $112.4 million to ensure a baseline level of relief funding for public-school districts, non-profit charter, and career and technical education districts.
$74.1 million – Support for Non-Title I-A Local Education Agencies
$26.6 million – Additional Support for Title I-A Local Education Agencies
$11.7 million – Support for Career & Technical Education Districts
*LEA = Local Education Agency, such as a District or Charter Organization
Student Equity & Achievement
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 life-long success.
$9.6 million – Partnership with ASU Prep Digital: Math Momentum
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 both struggling and advanced learners. This initiative started with a summer 2021 pilot program with eight districts using a digital learning model, then expand based 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.
$1 million – Funding for Arizona’s Office of Indian Education
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.
$500,000 – Special Education Cost Study
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 needed to show the actual cost required to meet all students' needs and advocate for additional funding as needed. Learn more about the special education programs and cost review.
$500,000– Holistic Youth Transformation Program: New Pathways for Youth
Provides comprehensive, evidence-based programming to improve the educational outcomes of at-risk students attending Title I schools in Maricopa County.
$300,000 – Time is Now Youth Mentorship: Big Brothers, Big Sisters
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 each year over a 2-year period) with screened and trained adult mentors and other resources.
$100,000 – Opportunities for Youth
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.
Educator Recruitment & Retention
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 in schools.
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
$5 million -Northern Arizona University and the Arizona K12 Center: Arizona Teacher Residency Program
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.
$2.5 million –Arizona K-12 Center: New Teacher Mentoring
Expands 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.
$1 million - Northern Arizona University Diné Institute Teacher Fellows
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.
$1 million - Arizona State University Preparing Educators for Arizona's Indigenous Communities (PEAIC)
The 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 are ideal for supporting Tribal communities because they can be customized to meet the needs of indigenous communities and support the “grow your own” process of teacher education that is critical to successful indigenous education.
$1 million - University of Arizona Indigenous Teacher Education Program (ITEP)
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, the teachers are better equipped to teach NA students.
$500,000 – Partnership with University of Arizona's Center for Recruitment & Retention of Math Educators for Professional Development
Ensure all math educators, including those in special education, have access to the various resources, support, and professional development offered by the University of Arizona's Center for Recruitment and Retention (CRR).
Safe & Healthy Schools
Goal: All students will learn and grow in a safe and healthy environment.
Integral to every child’s education is their social-emotional wellbeing, of 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.
$21.3 Million – Addition of 140 School Counselor & Social Worker Positions through the School Safety Grant Program
Provides funding for 140 new school counselors and social worker positions by investing in the School Safety Grant Program waitlists.
$3 million – PAX Good Behavior Game Training
A two-year partnership to provide 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.
$470,000 – Trauma-Sensitive Training and Support for Schools
Free professional development for educators to implement trauma-informed methods and new strategies into their classrooms.
Serving AZ School Communities & Families through the Pandemic
Goal: Help schools and families address disruptions resulting from the emergency of the pandemic.
Schools also need support to help prepare for safe school openings, as well as future disruptions to health and access to learning.
$5 million – Special Education Compensatory Services Fund
Support public schools in determining which students with disabilities may need compensatory services and aid in the delivery of those services.
$2.3 Million – Support for Community-Based Organizations, YMCA, and Boys & Girls Club
Support for the YMCA and the Arizona Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs to provide 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.
$1 million – Parent Educator Academy: ALL in Education
The Parent Educator Academy is designed to place passionate parents in the classrooms of schools to shift the trajectory on 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.
Bridging the Digital Divide and Providing Access to Digital Resources
Goal: Bridge the digital divide and provide access to broadband.
Provide relief to meet immediate needs and address on-going needs and solutions that strengthen connectivity across Arizona and its school communities.
$6.5 Million – Partnership with Discovery 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.
$3 Million – Office of Digital Teaching and Learning (ODTL)
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, was created in response to a recommendation from the Education Technology Task Force, a group established by superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman to inform statewide tech needs and solutions for K-12 education.
$2.5 million –ASU Prep Digital: Arizona Virtual Teacher Institute
Provide all educators free professional development to advance digital teaching and learning skills.
$1.5 Million – Partnership Expanding Rural Broadband with the Final Mile Project
Bring reliable, high-speed internet access to rural Arizona students by extending existing broadband capacity at schools and libraries to students’ homes.
$853,000 – Laptop and Hotspot Partnership with City of Phoenix
Phoenix Public Library launched a laptop and hotspot lending program in the spring of 2021 with a fleet of 425 laptops and 200 hotspots to be lent to customers with one-week lending periods. To better serve students in need of 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.
$15,000 – Kajeet Hotspots for Students & Families
ADE provided monthly recurring service for 200 hotspots for students in rural and remote areas for one year from the onset of the pandemic.
Post-Secondary Access & Attainment
Goal: All students are prepared to access, and succeed in, post-secondary learning opportunities.
Post-secondary access and success is vital to ensuring all students reach their full potential.
$1.5 million – Ask Benji Chatbot: Increase FAFSA Completion Rates
Ask Benji is an artificial intelligence-powered chatbot that assists students in completing the FAFSA. The funding will be used over the next two years to expand Ask Benji’s services statewide, enhance the chatbot to include new service features such as career interest and college application assistance, and provide support for community activities.
$600,000 – Partnership with Advise AZ Americorps: College and Career Counseling
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 the school's college and career culture. This new funding will be used to support AdviseAZ AmeriCorps member placement in more high schools across Arizona.
$20,000 – Partnership with Arizona College Access Network
College Access Professional (CAP) Training) to train ADE staff to facilitate virtual/hybrid training for teachers to increase postsecondary attainment throughout Arizona, with a focus on low-income and underserved populations.