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Helping the Nation’s Schools Recover from COVID-19

Teachers wait in the hallway to welcome students and enforce social distancing before classes begin for the day

Photo by Allison Shelley for American Education: Images of Teachers and Students in Action

President Biden recently signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), which includes $122 billion for the ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund. These funds are provided to state educational agencies and school districts to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s students. 

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced how much each state will receive through ARP ESSER and that the funds will be available for use through September 2023. The ARP ESSER funds are designed to help alleviate some of the challenges school district leaders face to “hire, recruit, and retain quality staff during severe labor market shortages while providing supplemental emergency benefits and compensation during the pandemic.”
 
AACTE encourages our members to collaborate with their local partner districts to allocate the ARP ESSER funds towards strengthening the educator workforce by supporting residency models, grow-your-own programs, and other innovative approaches to develop a pathway into teaching. Increasing financial support for teacher candidates is critical to developing and sustaining a diverse, profession-ready teacher workforce. Funding to support teacher candidates could be in place by as early as this fall to assist schools as they fully re-open and to help children overcome learning loss due to the pandemic.

The Department of Education included this approach in its COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs (page 53).  The Handbook also referenced AACTE’s report, Strategies that Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Educator Preparation.

To provide examples of how AACTE member institutions are successfully creating initiatives eligible for ARP ESSER funds, we have highlighted the following EPPs as models you can replicate to partner with your school districts and PK-12 schools. Should you like to learn more about these initiatives, we have also included the contact information for the programs. 

AACTE hopes that you will make the most of this unique opportunity to continue to develop the next generation of diverse, profession-ready educators while helping our students academically and emotionally recover from the impact of COVID-19.  


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