Harrisburg, PA (STL.News) Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf is dedicating approximately $17 million to help 220 local education agencies (LEAs), including school districts, to improve educational services for approximately 180,000 students at schools designated for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
“While all schools have been impacted this year by the COVID-19 pandemic, the schools that have been identified under ESSA as needing extra support are facing additional challenges,” said Gov. Wolf. “This funding will help these high-need schools as they put systems in place to help students while we work to control the spread of this virus.”
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act authorizes governors to determine the educational use of Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Funds.
ESSA requires states to develop plans to designate schools for support and improvement based on the performance of individual student groups in key areas, including academic achievement and growth; graduation rate and English learner progress; and student success factors such as regular attendance and chronic absenteeism. Student groups include race, economically disadvantaged, English language learners and students with disabilities.
“Recognizing that COVID-19 response efforts, including building closures, are likely to exacerbate outcome gaps for historically under-served students, schools and intermediate units are encouraged to use these additional funds to accelerate efforts to engage local stakeholders and implement appropriate, evidence-based improvement strategies,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera.
Grants were calculated based on elements of the federal Title I, Part A formula, including the number of economically disadvantaged students and other school enrollment data.
Grant recipients will receive direct communication from PDE with eGrant application instructions.
To date, the Wolf Administration has awarded $87.5 million in GEER funding to help keep students and educators safe and meet the unique challenges of COVID-19. In addition to the $17 million for ATSI schools, the Wolf Administration has directed $15 million for special education, $28 million to postsecondary institutions and adult basic education providers, $14 million to K-12 schools to support equity in continuity of education, $10.5 million to Career and Technical Education Centers and $3 million for Preschool Early Intervention Programs.