The theme for today is SO.MUCH.MONEY! When do we ever hear that in private education?!?! A total of three COVID relief bills have been signed into law and each of them has benefits for private school students. The CARES Act has benefits in both the ESSER and GEER programs. Through the Consolidated Appropriations Act, $2.75 billion was allocated to provide relief to private school students in the EANS program. This past week, the American Rescue Plan was signed into law and provides benefits to private school students through another $2.75 billion in EANS II.
These funds are sorely needed to meet the health and safety needs of students and teachers, reimburse schools for necessary out-of-pocket expenses in the past and contracts continuing into the future, support students and families during the pandemic, and provide additional resources for learning loss that occurred because of the pandemic. I think all will agree there are plenty of uses for these funds, but in private education, most of us are used to scrimping, saving, and making due. Is it time to start thinking outside of the box?
Presumably any CARES funds from ESSER and GEER have already been planned for, obligated, and/or spent. Right now states are requesting EANS I applications. Soon, EANS II applications will be available. My advice is to think big for EANS I, prioritizing your requests so that they can roll over to EANS II when that funding becomes available. This way, you will have created a strategic plan for the use of all EANS funds through September 30, 2023.
To assist you with determining which options for the use of COVID relief funds best meet the needs of your students and families, I have provided some options that I hope will spark the best ideas for you as you apply for EANS benefits.
- Address learning loss through a summer school program.
- Prepare the most at-risk students by holding a summer prep academy two weeks before school opens in the fall.
- Request the purchase additional Title I services for your current Title I students.
- Create a Title I-like program for educationally needy students who are not address eligible to participate in Title I.
- Provide a program of social-emotional learning to support students and families.
- Train teachers on integrating social-emotional learning into their lesson plans.
- Address the needs of special needs students, particularly when magnified because of hybrid and distance learning.
- Develop a program for family counseling and support.
- Address the unique needs of your English language learners, particularly due to hybrid and distance learning.
As you consider options for your own school community, reflect on how your decisions on the use of COVID relief funding will dovetail into your current Titles I, II, III, and IVA programs, and the benefits and services your students receive from IDEA.
On my website under Publications, I have created a Decision Tree to assist you in making the best decisions for your students and school community. Additionally, there is an updated “Services Across Federal Education Programs” that includes EANS.
All the best,
Michelle L. Doyle
Michelle Doyle Educational Consulting