APS ARPA ESSER Plan as of December 6, 2021

Section 1: Introduction

The purpose of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III Fund is to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impacts of COVID-19 on the nation’s students by addressing students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. Arlington Public Schools has been awarded $18,868,508.45 in ESSER III funds. This plan describes how the awarded funds will be used. Questions about this plan should be directed to Leslie Peterson at arpafunds@apsva.us.

Section 2: Prevention and Mitigation Strategies

ARP Act ESSER III funds may be used to implement prevention and mitigation strategies that are, to the greatest extent practicable, consistent with the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on reopening schools, in order to continuously and safely open and operate schools for in-person learning. Arlington Public Schools will use approximately $829,575 of its ARP Act ESSER III funds to implement prevention and mitigation strategies as described below.$721,947 will be used to purchase cleaning supplies to decrease the amount of time between cleaning of high-traffic areas to maintain the cleanliness of each building and reduce possible transmission of diseases.$107,628 will be used to purchase replacement air filters for the certified air cleaning devices (CACD’s) in individual classrooms and offices and HVAC systems to improve indoor air quality in school buildings.

Section 3: Addressing Unfinished Learning

Section 2001(e)(1) of the ARP Act requires each LEA to use twenty percent of its formula funds to address the academic impact of lost instructional time (learning loss) through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs. Arlington Public Schools will use approximately $4,667,240.04 of its ARP Act ESSER III funds to address unfinished learning as described below. Summer school funds will be used to hire teachers and instructional assistants to support and address unfinished learning needs of students.  These staff members will work to accelerate, reinforce, remediate, and reteach targeted skills based on students’ specific academic needs.  Funds will also be used to purchase evidence-based instructional resources to address unfinished learning, including subscriptions for instructional services focused on literacy and mathematics.  They will also be used for virtual course options to address unfinished learning and credit recovery.

Section 4: Other Uses of Funds

Section 2001(e) of the ARP Act permits school divisions to use the ARP Act ESSER III funding not reserved to address unfinished learning to address the impacts of COVID-19 in a variety of ways.  Arlington Public Schools will use approximately $10,947,996.39 of its ARP Act ESSER III funds in accordance with Section 2001(e) of the ARP Act as described below.

APS will use $10,507,996.39 to offer a separate K‐12 Virtual Learning Program during the 2021‐22 school year to serve students who, for a variety of reasons, choose to learn remotely. Students will carry a full course‐load and attend all classes online. Students enrolled in the program will maintain connection and alignment with their school of record for reporting, student services, extracurricular activities, and graduation. Pre‐K will not be offered in this model. Additional information available on the APS Website: https://www.apsva.us/school‐year‐2021‐22/virtual‐learning‐program.

APS will use $440,000 to ensure all students have reliable internet access at home using current and emerging technologies. These technologies include but are not limited to: paying for Comcast Internet Essentials, providing students with hotspots (MiFi), and leveraging emerging 5G wireless and other similar emerging technologies.

Section 5: Addressing Students’ Academic, Social, Emotional, and Mental Health Needs

APS will use $155,924.44 to hire a Director for the Office of English Learners (OEL).  The director will be able to deploy members of the office to specifically address the needs of English Learners. The director of OEL will be able to coordinate with the director of Curriculum and Instruction to leverage the work of content offices to support the direction of the EL program and will partner with the elementary and secondary directors of the Office of Special Education to ensure that dually-identified EL students receive the necessary support articulated in their IEP’s and support in acquiring English. APS will use $1,092,772.58 to hire additional reading and math coaches at elementary schools with enrollment over 650 students and Title I schools. This is needed to address potential learning loss among targeted student groups. APS will use $991,000 for assessments.   Assessments are a way to collect data on students’ educational progress and guide instruction for the entire class and individualized instruction for targeted groups of students who may need additional support.

APS will use $184,000 to purchase universal screening tools.  Universal screening is the systematic assessment of all children within a given class, grade, school building, or school district, on academic and/or social‐emotional indicators that the school personnel and community have agreed are important. This type of screening is a foundational component of any comprehensive multi‐tiered system of support framework and will guide instructional activities implemented to address the unique needs of targeted student groups.

Section 6: Consultation with Stakeholders and Opportunity for Public Comment

In developing the ARP ESSER Plan, Arlington Public Schools conducted consultation in the following ways:

Community engagement has always been an essential part of the APS budgeting process. APS conducted extensive engagement and ongoing communication about the FY 2022 budget development process.

The School Board held six public work sessions over two and a half months to develop the budget and to determine how the ARPA/ESSER III funds would be used in the budget in support of students, staff, and school operations.  Public hearings also were held during the budget process to obtain stakeholder feedback on the budget, the reductions that were proposed to help reduce the shortfall, and how additional revenue, such as the ARP/ESSER III funds should be used.  Additionally, the School Board met with the chairs of several advisory committees (the Advisory Committee on Teaching and Learning, the Facilities Advisory Council, and the Budget Advisory Council) as well as employee advisory committees (the Collaborative Professional Strategies Team, the Employee Advisory Council, and the Arlington School Administrators) to seek their input and feedback on the budget.

APS also requested feedback and comment from the community through the Engage process, maintained a budget development webpage, and communicated on a weekly basis about the budget development process via Engage Thursday messages and other School Talk messages.

Section 7: Making the Plan Available to the Public

Arlington Public Schools has taken the following steps to make this plan available to the public:

  • The plan is posted at https://www.apsva.us/budget-finance/arpa-esser-fund-info/
  • The plan is available in multiple languages
  • The plan may be orally translated for parents. Contact Leslie Peterson at arpafunds@apsva.us to request translation.
  • Upon request, a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA may be provided with the plan in an alternative format accessible by contacting Leslie Peterson at arpafunds@apsva.us.

More information: Leslie Peterson, Assistant Superintendent, Finance and Management Services (email: arpafunds@apsva.us)