In October 2021 Morrill School's application for the ESSERS III funds were approved by the Nebraska Department of Education. This article provides an update of how we allocated the funds in the application, what has been revenued to date, and the plan of expenditures for the balance of the funds.
11. Providing mental health services and supports
Both of our elementary and secondary counselors during the 2020-2021 school year were coded at 0.50 FTE to ESSERS III. We had a third counselor a PLMHP and her entire wage and benefits will be coded to ESSERS III at least in the 2021-2022 school year. Any balance of the ESSERS III funds will be utilized for mental health services and supports in the 2022-2023 school year.
13. Addressing learning loss among students, including low-income students, children with disabilities. English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and children and youth in foster care, of the local educational agency, including by:
(A) Administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable, to accurately assess students' academic progess and assist educators in meeting students' academic needs, including through differentiating instruction.
(B) Implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students.
We are reviewing K-6 English Language Arts and K-12 Science curricula as both of these areas are old, poorly aligned to the current standards and in need of replacement.
Interventions and the interventionists that are utilized in K-12 were and will be coded to ESSERS III beginning the 2020-21 school year and ongoing through the next three years.
Early Childhood costs were coded and may continue to be as Early Childhood education is one of the best mitigations against the prevalent academic disparity perpetuated by socio-economic differences.
INTENT AND PURPOSES:
We conducted a survey inclusive to all members of our community and public, including students, parents, classified and certified staff, administration, special education teachers, paras, and board members.
We also held a community input session at a board meeting to personally hear from any members of the public who wanted to address the board and administration concerning usage of these funds.
At least $147,700 will be allocated to expenditures to address learning loss. A better more aligned ELA and Science curriculum should improve student learning and address the learning loss. Targeted interventions will be designed for students who are below grade level or behind their grade level peers. More FTE of mental health counselors should better mitigate for learning loss as students aren't ready to learn until their basic needs are met.
All of our students missed instructional time during the 4th quarter of 2020. Several of our students began the school year in the fall of 2020 remotely due to the fear of the pandemic. Many of these students who began school remotely returned to school later in the fall because their parents saw them struggling significantly to do their work remotely. From time to time throughout the year and even this year we have had students miss instructional time due to themselves or their family members having COVID.
Intervention time is built in to the day and after school at both the elementary and the secondary buildings. Students identified as below proficiency in the fall, winter or spring benchmarking of Dibbles, I Ready Math, STAR Reading, NWEA MAPS are provided intervention time throughout the school days at scheduled intervals. On Monday and Wednesday afternoons students in need of additional time are afforded an extra hour of instructional time with teachers and late bussing is available on these days as well.
We have several populations of concern for whom we are providing support: Historically marginalized - our district is comprised of about 70% poverty - many of these generational poverty and about 30% latinx. Many of these students struggled below grade level prior to the COVID closure in the Spring of 2020.
We are utilizing both acceleration and remediation. The vast majority of our students continue to receive grade level instruction - but those needing more targeted intervention also receive remedial instruction during their intervention time.