It is hard to believe that together we have been living through a global pandemic for more than a year now. This pandemic has brought challenges to every facet of each of our lives. Since March of 2020, our New Lebanon Central School District community has come together to educate and support our students through these difficult times. Our students learned virtually last spring, but the majority of our students have been learning in person, in our schools, since September. About 20 – 25% of our students have been working virtually from home this school year. No matter how our children are learning, the community has come together to educate our students in the safest way possible.
This pandemic has brought additional costs to our community and school district. Some additional costs to our schools have included: technology tools, Internet updates, purchase of Chromebooks, additional cleaning supplies, virtual learning costs, personal protective equipment, and extra school resources for learning loss. I am pleased to inform you that through stimulus funds from our federal government, districts throughout NY state have been awarded financial support to be used specifically for COVID expenses and student learning loss. The New Lebanon Central School District was informed that it will receive $275,473 through the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) and $618,672 under the American Rescue Plan (ARP). This money will be divided and used throughout the next three years.
The federal government has put very specific criteria on how school districts can use these funds. The funds must be used for COVID-related expenses and student learning loss. COVID has impacted learning for many of our students depending on their personal situation. This change or disruption in learning has created a “learning loss” for some of our students. These funds will allow us to help provide the support needed for individual students who need the extra help to catch up. The district is unable to use these funds for items in our typical budget. All federal funds must be in addition to expenses already budgeted. The district has been working on a plan with stakeholders on how to best use the funds with the goal of supporting our students. A grant application must be completed and submitted to the state within the next couple weeks. The district plans to use the funds on the different projects found below:
- Summer School Intervention program – grades K-6
- After school credit recovery and intervention program – grades 7-12
- After school learning intervention program – grades K-6
- .5 Response to Intervention Teacher at Jr/Sr High School
- .5 Response to Intervention Teacher at Elementary School
- Professional Development for student learning loss for all teachers
- Progress Monitoring Tools
- Substitute costs for teacher’s professional development opportunities
- Funds to support virtual learning opportunities for teachers
- Supporting our students social and emotional mental health
- Virtual learning instruction
- Cleaning Supplies and PPE
The federal funds will allow our District to differentiate student’s learning based on their individual needs. These programs will support our children who may have learning gaps due to the many disruptions in learning throughout the past year. A more detailed plan will be posted on our website this summer. We look forward to this opportunity for our students.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.
New Lebanon Superintendent of Schools