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How NWLSD Uses Its Covid Relief Funds

  • What is NWLSD Doing Around Learning Recovery
  • How We Are Identifying Our Academic Needs
  • Our Approach To Academic Gap Filling 
  • Our Approach To Identify Social and Emotional Needs 
  • Our Approach to Address Social and Emotional Needs
  • How We're Using Our ARP/ESSER Funds

What is NWLSD Doing To Address Learning Recovery?

 

The NWLSD district administrative team worked collaboratively with building administrators and teacher leaders to determine the most important educational needs of our students and to develop our return to school plan.  Planning meetings were held weekly. We have collected, and will continue to collect, information, ideas and feedback from students, staff and community members using surveys and focus groups to guide us in our planning throughout the pandemic. Our plan is a living document that we expect to change as we respond to changes in the learning environment and needs of our students, staff and families.  


We are committed to transparency in the use of the additional funds that we have received. We will continue to update our Board of Education and community on our return to school plan and the use of funds to address learning loss, to promote equity, and to build the capacity of our teachers and leaders so that they can go beyond in meeting the academic and social-emotional needs of our students and families.  While our focus is on instruction, continuing to ensure that our students and staff are safe also remains a high priority. 


The NWLSD has developed policies and procedures to ensure that our students and staff are operating in a safe environment.  The link below contains the most current policies and procedures that are in place to address universal and correct wearing of masks; physical distancing (e.g., including use of cohorts/podding); handwashing and respiratory etiquette; cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation; contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the state, local, territorial or tribal health departments; Diagnostic and screening testing; efforts to provide vaccinations to educators, other staff and students, if eligible; and appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to the health and safety policies.


Identifying Our Academic Needs

Planned Actions - Identifying Academic Needs

SPRING 2021

  • Spring NWEA MAP benchmark testing for all students in grades K-10 in Reading and Math to identify students who need additional support in these two core areas.
  • Identification of students who are credit deficient and/or who failed core academic courses in 2020-21. 
  • Identification of students in grades 11 and 12 who are not on track to graduate.
  • Identification of all remote students who are not participating or have not consistently participated in remote learning.
  • Significant decline in enrollment and participation in performing arts programs at all levels due to decreased opportunities as a result of the pandemic. (Impacted students - grades 4-8)
 Summer 2021
  • Summer MAP Administration for Elementary Students in Envision Children Academic Summer Enrichment Program (pre/post)
  • Prioritization of PreK-4 students who need additional support in Math and Reading through ASEP Program. Initial invitations to underserved populations and remote learners.
  • Prioritization of students in grades 6-10 who have failed one or more core academic courses and/or who are credit deficient in grades 9 and 10 for summer academic programming.

 2021-2022
  • Fall, Winter, and Spring NWEA MAP benchmark testing for all students in grades K-10 in Reading and Math to identify students who need additional support in these two core areas.
  • New: MAP Fluency for Reading (K-3)
2022-2023 
  • Fall, Winter, and Spring NWEA MAP benchmark testing for all students in grades K-10 in Reading and Math to identify students who need additional support in these two core areas.
  • MAP Reading Fluency  (K-3)
  • Dyslexia Screener (MAP Reading Fluency)

Approaches to Address Academic Gap Filling

 
Approaches & Removing/Overcoming Barriers

While extended learning time strategies are important and necessary short-term, the NWLSD recognizes that learning gaps cannot be addressed solely through additional support in the classroom and extended/summer learning opportunities.  In order to achieve sustainable positive academic results, there is a need to address the ability of our teachers and leaders to identify and address learning gaps and needs within the core curriculum.
 
The NWLSD has invested in professional learning and job-embedded coaching to increase the instructional capacity of teachers and administrators and to improve core instruction for all students. The work of these coaches is aligned to the areas of focus outlined in our District’s Strategic Plan and Portrait of a Graduate.
 
Goal Statement: Empower students to achieve success and exceed their ambitious expectations
 
Strategic Objectives:
  1. Create a learning experience that is rigorous and engaging for all students
  2. Raise academic achievement through a relentless focus on literacy across all subject areas
  3. Facilitate student ownership of learning through personalized and differentiated instruction
In addition, the NWLSD feels that it is important that summer learning and extended learning opportunities are engaging for students and promote a love of learning that will re-engage students in the educational process. The district provided multiple opportunities for students at all levels to re-engage with in-person learning prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year. These opportunities included: academic summer enrichment program (ASEP) - including daily instruction in reading and math, as well as STEM experiences, expanded credit recovery opportunities, music camps, and jump-start/transition programs at all levels. 
 
As part of our relentless focus on literacy, our K-3 teachers will participate in a multi-year study of early literacy practices through an evidence based program in order to prepare them for the needs of early readers and put all students on a path to success. We will also be universally screening students in foundational reading skills and fluency, as well as adding a Dyslexia screener beginning with the 2022-23 school year.
 
Building and district instructional leaders are participating in coaching focused on defining and monitoring classroom instruction for rigor.
 
We recognize that additional instructional support will be needed during the initial return to school and we have utilized funds to create additional educational support positions that will provide our students with additional properly certified teachers and assistants and allow us to offer differentiated instruction that will be needed for students returning to school at varying levels. For example, additional teaching staff were added to allow us to create transition classrooms for elementary-aged students who need to address prioritized missed learning in order to be successful moving on to the next grade level. Additional teaching staff were added to allow us to provide double offerings of critical and foundational math and language arts courses at the high school level for our 9th and 10th grade students. Instructional coaches were added to support our teachers and to help build capacity for high quality teaching and learning longer-term for all students..
 
Finally, the Northwest Local School District will continue to invest in technology in order to remove barriers and to address existing inequities for students and families by promoting access and opportunity. Survey data from our community indicates a need to offer a variety of educational options including: in-person learning, blended learning, and online learning. Although we believe that in-person, face-to-face instruction is what is best for most students, we have found that other educational options are needed for a small percentage of our students and families. There are also continuing health concerns related to the pandemic that will prohibit some high-risk students from returning in the fall. We therefore have created a new online school (Northwest Online School) to support the needs of our students and families during the pandemic and beyond.

Planned Actions - Addressing Academic Gaps 
(strategies to include but not limited to the following)

Spring 2021
  • Invited any remote student who wishes to return to in-person learning to do so (began in March 2021)
  • Offered after hours student support tutoring (began in February 2021)
  • Offered HS Tutoring/Spring School (January 2021)
  • Restarted Curricular MS Performance Arts Programming
  • Hired current junior/senior education students from local universities as substitutes to support the return of remote students to our buildings (March 2021)

Summer 2021
  • Offered an Academic Summer Enrichment Program (ASEP) for incoming students to grades K-5 for 325 students in partnership with Envision Children. The 8 week program included daily reading and math instruction, STEM experiences, field trips, nursing services, custodial support, transportation, and food service (breakfast and lunch)
  • Summer Music Camps (Grades 6-8)
  • AP Summer Camps (Grades 9-10)
  • Partnership with Public Libraries to promote summer reading initiatives
  • IXL Summer Challenge
  • HS Third Semester (August 2021)
  • Professional leadership coaching - Learning Science International (LSI)

2021-2022
  • Extended transition program for incoming 6th grade students, new enrollees, and students returning from remote learning
  • Hired additional teachers to allow us to double-block students in English and Math classes
  • Hired additional teaching staff at the Middle School level
  • Hired additional elementary teaching staff for transition classrooms with lower class sizes and 2 highly-qualified teachers
  • Instituted eligibility criteria for online and blended learning options in 2021-22
  • Offer expanded HS Fall and Spring School for Credit Recovery
  • Scheduled professional leadership coaching with Learning Science Institute (LSI)
  • Offer In Class Instruction (Tutoring) for students in Grades K-5 through partnership with Envision Children
  • Envision Children After School Programming - Grades K-5
  • Created Northwest Online School K-12 and hired additional teaching staff to support this learning option for students and families
  • Hired Instructional Technology Coaches to support our Elementary School teaching staff
  • Hired Additional Instructional/Data/Assessment Coaches to support our teaching staff
  • Continue to offer the Academic Summer Enrichment Program (ASEP) in partnership with Envision Children in the summer of 2022 (paying a substantial part of tuition cost and providing food service, transportation, nursing services, etc.)

2022-2023
  • Retain additional teachers hired to allow us to double-block students in English and Math classes
  • Retain additional teaching staff at the Middle School level
  • Retain additional elementary teaching staff for transition classrooms with lower class sizes and 2 highly-qualified teachers
  • Continue to offer Educational Options (Blended Learning, Northwest Online School)
  • HS Fall and Spring School
  • Envision Children In Class Instruction (Tutoring) - Grades K-5
  • Envision Children After School Programming - Grades K-5
  • Envision Children Academic Summer Enrichment Program (ASEP)
  • Retain Instructional Technology Coaches to support our Elementary School teaching staff
  • Retain Additional Instructional/Data/Assessment Coaches to support our teaching staff

Approaches to Identify Social & Emotional Needs

Spring 2021
  • The Northwest Local School District has developed strong community partnerships to identify and support students' social and emotional needs. The primary structure utilized in NWLSD to identify student needs starts with the Multi Tiered System of Support (MTSS). ESSR funds will be used to support the enhancement of the MTSS structure and supports at the building level to better identify students’ needs.
  • District Multi Tiered Systems of Support Process:
    1. Building level PBIS and RTI implementation
    2. District Behavior Specials and Building level intervention teams
    3. Identify equity training
  • SEL Screeners:
    1. Use Terrace Metrics or other SEL screeners
  • Continue Trauma Informed Care training


 Summer 2021
  • Expand District MTSS Process:
    1. Increase resources for district and building level implementation
    2. Support implementation with fidelity
    3. Continue equity training
 
  • SEL Screeners:
    1. Continue data analysis of Terrace Metrics or other SEL screeners currently utilized

  • Establish annual analysis of implementation of services and partnerships supporting SEL needs, and identify gaps in implementation, services and supports. Develop plan with community partners to address areas of need.

Continue annual analysis of implementation of services and partnerships supporting SEL needs, and identify gaps in implementation, services and supports. Develop plan with community partners to address areas of need.

Approaches to Address Social and Emotional Need

Approaches & Removing/Overcoming Barriers

Spring 2021
The Northwest Local School District has developed strong community partnerships to support students' social and emotional needs. As students return from remote learning and the impacts on families due to the pandemic, we will continue to strive toward expanding our partnerships to meet the needs of our students and community.
 
  • Continue increasing community partnerships with community mental health providers 
  • Continue partnerships with ESCs to identify and support student needs.
  • Explore professional development options to increase staff capabilities to monitor and intervene with students in crisis.
  • Explore service options to provide a continuum of supports from Preschool through high school.

Summer 2021
  • Continue increasing community partnerships with community mental health providers
  • Continue partnerships with ESCs to identify and support student needs.
  • Continue to explore and implement professional development options to increase staff capabilities to monitor and intervene with students in crisis.
  • Choose or develop service options for students with significant behavior and mental health needs to provide a full continuum.

2021-2022
  • Continue full implementation of District MTSS Process with fidelity and aligned with State PBIS models
  • Continue of expansion of SEL Screeners
  • Continue increasing community partnerships with community mental health providers
  • Continue partnerships with ESCs to and support student needs.
  • Continue to explore and implement professional development options to increase staff capabilities to monitor and intervene with students in crisis.
  • Establish annual analysis of implementation of services and partnerships supporting SEL needs, and identify gaps in implementation, services and supports. Develop plan with community partners to address areas of need.

2022-2023
  • Continue full implementation of District MTSS Process with fidelity and aligned with State PBIS models
  • Continue of expansion of SEL Screeners
  • Continue increasing community partnerships with community mental health providers
  • Continue partnerships with ESCs to and support student needs.
  • Continue to explore and implement professional development options to increase staff capabilities to monitor and intervene with students in crisis.
  • Continue annual analysis of implementation of services and partnerships supporting SEL needs, and identify gaps in implementation, services and supports. Develop plan with community partners to address areas of need.



How We're Using Our ARP ESSER Funds


In 2021, the NWLSD received an additional  $24,100,642.21 in ARP ESSER funds. The top priorities for the district are a safe return to in-person learning and supporting the academic, social and emotional needs of students and educators.  The following questions outline the NWLSD plan for using ARP ESSER funds:

1. How will ARP ESSER funds be used to implement prevention and mitigation strategies that are, to the greatest extent practicable, consistent with the most recent CDC guidance on reopening schools, in order to continuously and safely open and operate schools for in-person learning?

ARP ESSER funds will be used to continue to fund additional nursing staff to be available for student screening and isolation when needed. These staff members will also be used when available to provide support to students and staff in implementing healthy practices. Funding will also continue to support additional custodians needed to continue implementing increased cleaning that is needed to keep schools open for in-person learning.   Materials and equipment needed will include cleaning supplies, masks, shields, plexiglass dividers, soaps and hand sanitizer, and hand washing stations. In addition, supplies deemed necessary  to increase social distancing, limit the spread of germs, and/or increase the safety of students and staff will be purchased.

 
2.  How will the LEA use the funds it reserves under section 2001(e)(1) of the ARP Act to address the academic impact of lost instructional time through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive after school programs, or extended school year?

The NWLSD will utilize ARP ESSER funds to provide additional summer and extended learning opportunities K-12 in the district over the next 2-3 years. These opportunities include a variety of offerings including reading, math, STEM, credit recovery, music, health and PE.  While these offerings are designed to address the impact of lost instructional time, they also are focused on keeping our students engaged and motivated to learn during this difficult time.  High school offerings will be targeted to the increased number of students who are credit deficient as a result of lost instructional time. We are using ESSER funds to partner with our ESC to implement a coaching model by hiring instructional, assessment, intervention and data coaches to support our PreK-12 teachers over the next two years.  By making this job-embedded professional development a priority, these funds can provide a lasting impact for our teachers and students.  We must increase the use of formative assessments to determine each student’s current levels of performance and instructional needs. These coaches will work collaboratively with instructional staff and administrators to improve instruction in core areas, increase the use of data to inform instruction, and develop aligned formative assessments designed to inform instruction.  Finally, funds will be allocated to support additional staff to implement evidenced based intervention programs.  The district anticipates an increased need for these supports to support learners who will demonstrate learning loss as a result of the pandemic.


3.  How will the LEA spend its remaining ARP ESSER funds consistent with section 2001(e)(2) of the ARP Act?

The remaining funds will be spent on activities and programs that focus on identifying the needs of our students as they return fully to the classroom environment.  We are committed to ensuring that our students and teachers have the support and resources available to make this transition back to the classroom as successful as possible.  We know that many of our students and families will return to the classroom with increased social/emotional needs. We will increase the number of teachers and assistants available in each elementary in order to increase student access to adults.  We are hiring additional Counselors and Deans K-12 to be available to support students with behavioral interventions with a focus on keeping kids in the classroom.  In addition to staff, these funds will support the purchase and implementation of an evidenced based social/emotional curriculum K-12.  While it our goal to provide in-person instruction for all students, through multiple surveys and communications with parents, it is evident from the feedback that at the current time and in the current environment, a online option is needed to support the needs of a small portion of our school population at minimum through the 21-22 school year.  The district will use ARP ESSER funds to support this online option for qualifying students.  A transportation supervisor will be funded for 1 year to assist in the implementation of new routing software that will allow routes to be adjusted efficiently and safely in the event of future school closures.   


4.  How will the LEA ensure that the interventions it implements, including but not limited to the interventions implemented under section 2001(e)(1) of the ARP Act to address the academic impact of lost instructional time, will respond to the academic, social, emotional and mental health needs of all students, and particularly those students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including students from low-income families, students of color, English learners, children with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, children in foster care and migratory students.

As the district planned for summer intervention, care was taken to ensure that those students who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic received individual invitations to participate in programs and that appropriate supports were put in place to ensure that they had access to the programs. This included using translation services to contact parents who do not speak English and the provisions of meals, transportation and nursing services as needed. Through a comprehensive needs assessment and strategic planning process the NWLSD has identified that in order to close achievement gaps, we must first address engagement and rigor of our Core programs in addition to addressing the individual needs of struggling students. Our plan has funds allocated to job embedded professional development models (coaching and consultation) that will equip our teachers and leaders with the skills needed to address the needs of our neediest students and challenge our high performing students. Safety nets will be needed for and will be provided for those students disproportionately affected by the COVID 19 pandemic through the addition of staff including counselors, deans, instructional assistants, intervention specialists and TESOL teachers.
 

5.  Briefly describe the extent to which the LEA intends to use ARP ESSER funds to promote remote learning.

Through the needs assessment process, the NWLSD identified a continuing need for alternate educational options for a small number of students. Surveys were conducted and enrollment in a blended option or online school were offered.  Applicants were screened and selected based on criteria that the district believes will ensure success for enrolled students. The district will utilize ARP ESSER funds to pay an administrator and teachers to run an online learning option for two years. In addition, funds will be used to support district licenses to resources and applications that will enable teachers and students to continue teaching and  learning in the case of quarantines or long term closures. 


6.  Describe the LEA’s plan for addressing learning loss by: administering and using high-quality assessments to assess students’ academic progress and meet students’ academic needs, including through differentiating instruction; implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students; providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment; and/or tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.

The district currently utilizes formative assessments at all levels.  ARP ESSER funds will be used to supplement these assessments where needed. The district is currently adding MAP Fluency assessments to obtain more information about our early readers. Instructional and data coaches will be utilized to assist teachers in effectively using this data to make instructional changes including differentiating instruction and implementing evidence based strategies.  The development of Northwest Online which will operate as a collaborative team of teachers, is designed to improve the district's ability to monitor the attendance/engagement of students in remote learning and offer a high quality alternative to in-person learning. 


7.  Describe the uses of funds for developing strategies and implementing public health protocols including, to the greatest extent practicable, policies in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators and other staff.

The district will use ARP ESSER funds to continue to employ additional custodial staff and nursing staff to implement protocols in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators and other staff.  Contact tracing and quarantine notifications will require extra staff.  The district will also continue to purchase cleaning supplies and face coverings to be in alignment with CDC guidelines.  Policies and procedures have been developed and are being updated regularly based on data obtained from our County Health Department and using recommendations from the CDC.  

 
8.  Describe how ARP ESSER Funds have been/will be used for other activities for maintaining the operations and continuity of services in the LEA and continuing to employ existing staff of the LEA.
ARP ESSER funds will be used to allow custodians slated for reduction to continue to be employed as they are needed to maintain safe building conditions. The district will also employ additional nurse/health staff to assist in identifying, isolating and providing communication/support to students, staff and families who are exposed to COVID-19.


9.  What is the breakdown of how NWLSD has  allocated COVID Relief funds to each of the allowable activities?
The following charts provide an overview of how the various COVID Relief  funds awarded to the NWLSD have been allocated:          

Allowable Activities

 

Unique Needs -  Activities to address unique needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, foster youth.

 

Preparedness - Develop and implement procedures and systems to improve the preparedness and response efforts of LEA.

Training - Training and PD for staff of LEA on sanitation and minimizing spread of infectious diseases.

Cleaning - Purchase supplies to clean and sanitize facilities of the LEA.

Coordination - Planning for and coordinating during long-term closures (meals, technology, IDEA, and other educational services provided consistent with Federal, state, local requirements).

Educational Technology - Purchase educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity) for students served by LEA, including low-income and IDEA.

Mental Health - Provide mental health services and supports.

Extended Learning - Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental afterschool programs, including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months and addressing the needs of low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, migrant students, students experiencing homelessness, and children in foster care.

Learning Loss - Addressing learning loss. (Administering high quality assessments, implementing evidence based activities, tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance learning)

Facility Repairs - School facility repairs and improvements to enable operation of schools to reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards, and to support student health needs.

Air Quality - Inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement, and upgrade projects to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and non-mechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification and other air cleaning, fans, control systems, and window and door repair and replacement.

Health Protocols - Developing strategies and implementing public health protocols including, to the greatest extent practicable, policies in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the reopening and operation of school facilities to effectively maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other staff. Please elaborate below.

       



ESSER 1 $2,734,646.35


CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUND HAMILTON COUNTY REIMBURSEMENT $429,850.00

ESSER 2 $10,723,534.95


CORONAVIRUS RELIEF FUND $489,480.39


ARP ESSER 3 $24,100,642.21

ARP IDEA TOTAL ALLOCATION $598,171.54



ARP IDEA EARLY CHILDHOOD (TOTAL ALLOCATION $44,314.21 - 100% BUDGETED FOR PURCHASE OF VAN

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