It is hard to believe we are approaching the September 30th expiration date for ESSER I. When this package was first delivered to states from the federal government, the COVID-19 situation looked and felt much different than it does today. Our students were about to enter their first full year of learning amid a pandemic, a vaccine had not yet been released, and many of us were supporting sick loved ones and mourning the many who died in the first few months. As community leaders, our schools used this first round of funding to make schools safer, connect students to hybrid learning, and allow us to start bringing students back to the classroom.
Our ESSER team is incredibly grateful for how school leaders collaboratively and innovatively used ESSER I dollars. If your district or charter school has not expended all remaining ESSER I money, you must do so by Friday, September 30th, or risk forfeiting those funds. There is no carryover for ESSER I funding.
As we sunset ESSER I, many districts and charters will be looking towards expending all the funding available in the ESSER II package. As a reminder, no ESSER II completion report is due in October. You can access and finish the completion report at any time once you have fully expended your ESSER II funds.
ESSER Set Aside Opportunities
The following opportunities are funded and supported by the Arizona Department of Education’s ESSER I, II, and III (ARP) set aside investments:
24,489 teacher supply projects funded by DonorsChoose
The Arizona Department of Education and the Superintendent were proud to support another round of DonorsChoose funding for Arizona’s public educators, school counselors, social workers, and more. This second round included dedicated funding for our most rural communities outside Maricopa and Pima counties. By intentionally providing funds solely for rural schools, we served 1,570 schools after the second round of funding.
Sign-up for Junior Achievement (JA) Inspire
JA Inspire is Arizona’s leading virtual career exploration platform, connecting thousands of middle and high school students with self-assessments, career resources, and directly to top Arizona employers! Educators can access the platform and associated age-appropriate, standards-aligned curriculum for free and provide their students with a real-world look at some of the state's leading industries and career options. There is something for every student, from webinars, exhibit halls, and digital resources to a virtual scavenger hunt and employer Q&A sessions.
With JA Inspire, we empower students with the critical skills they need to achieve future career and economic success, ultimately shaping Arizona’s future workforce. Together, we inspire a more well-informed generation of societal leaders to make wise economic decisions and build thriving communities!
Teachers and administrators, sign up for JA Inspire for your students today: https://www.jaaz.org/jai-educators/
Building Equity for English Learners with WestED
WestEd’s Quality Teaching for English Learners (QTEL) is pleased to partner with the Arizona Department of Education to provide professional learning and coaching to Arizona’s educators of English Learners. QTEL is currently seeking school and district partners in the Central Arizona region to participate in this work over the course of the 2022–2023 and 2023–2024 school years. Professional learning cohorts begin in October 2022. QTEL is one of Arizona’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) School and Community Grantees. All professional learning, materials, facilities, and educator stipends associated with this project will be paid for with state ARP funding at no cost to schools and districts. Participating schools and districts will be asked to ensure the following:
- A two-year commitment of a team of educators (consisting of 4–5 teachers, an instructional coach, and an instructional leader)
- Time for educators to participate in all associated professional learning activities
- Substitutes for participating educators
Interested schools and districts should submit their contact information at: https://bit.ly/BEEL-Contacts. Learn more about QTEL.
American Rescue Plan (ARP) School and Community Grantee Spotlight
The Office of the Maricopa County School Superintendent Steve Watson launched the Learning Acceleration Partnership in collaboration with six school districts (Liberty Elementary School District, Maricopa County Regional School District, Morristown School District, Nadaburg Unified School District, Phoenix Elementary School District, and Valentine Elementary School District). Arizona teachers are working harder than ever to meet the needs of their students, particularly now at a time when there is so much academic ground to cover. The mission is daunting: How does a teacher ensure that all students have equitable access to challenging, grade-level content when so many gaps exist? The Learning Acceleration Partnership is an opportunity to provide teachers with the tools and support they need to deliver strong Tier 1 instruction utilizing strategies that allow all students to successfully access grade-level content.
Superintendent Steve Watson and his team onboarded a cadre of 19 Learning Acceleration Specialists to accomplish this goal. These incredibly passionate, motivated, and skilled individuals will work alongside teachers to co-plan and co-teach lessons with the right instruction and support when needed. To prepare for this role, the LAS cadre participated in a two-week professional development intensive in July. The training focused on the tools and tactics needed to accelerate academic success in Tier 1 instruction, including unpacking standards to identify learning targets, designing success starters to prepare students for new learning, and identifying and employing the right scaffolds to get students on a fast track back to grade level. The LAS cadre also practiced the evidence-based, student-centered coaching approach they will utilize to collaborate with teachers to co-design and co-deliver grade-level instruction.
Classroom teachers are facing an extraordinary challenge, and the Learning Acceleration Specialists are there to help! As collaborators, the LAS cadre has what is needed to partner with teachers in the classroom as they build their skillset to address unfinished learning and keep learning moving forward for all students.
Click here to learn more about the Learning Acceleration Partnership and meet the team!