Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced the approval of Iowa’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan and distributed remaining ARP ESSER funds to them. Iowa’s plan details how the state is using and plans to use ARP ESSER funds to safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and equitably expand opportunity for students who need it most, particularly those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Earlier this year, the Department distributed two thirds of the ARP ESSER funds, totaling $81 billion, to 50 states and the District of Columbia. The remaining third of the funding to states will be made available once state plans are approved. Iowa is receiving $775 million total in ARP ESSER funds, and today’s approval of their plan will result in the release of the final ;$258 million. Additionally, the Department approved plans for Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, and New Mexico. Earlier this month, the Department approved the plans for 11 other states and the District of Columbia.
“I am excited to announce approval of Iowa’s plan,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “It is heartening to see, reflected in these state plans, the ways in which states are thinking deeply about how to use American Rescue Plan funds to continue to provide critical support to schools and communities, particularly as we move into the summer and look ahead to the upcoming academic year. The approval of these plans enables states to receive vital, additional American Rescue Plan funds to quickly and safely reopen schools for full-time, in-person learning; meet students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs; and address disparities in access to educational opportunity that were exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The state plans that have been submitted to the Department lay the groundwork for the ways in which an unprecedented infusion of federal resources will be used to address the urgent needs of America’s children and build back better.”
“The ARP ESSER funding is essential to supporting our continued work to accelerate learning and provide social-emotional-behavioral health supports through a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework to students in Iowa,” said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. “We are looking forward to assisting LEAs to use the money for implementation of evidence-based practices for the benefit of all students.”
The ARP ESSER state plans approved by the Department today, including Iowa’s, show how states are using federal pandemic resources to support safe in-person instruction and meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students—with a focus on the students most impacted by the pandemic. For example:
- Addressing the Academic Impact of Lost Instructional Time: The Iowa Department of Education (IDOE) will support school districts to implement evidence-based interventions and practices to be determined that address accelerated learning in the context of COVID-19. The IDOE also will train and provide coaching through a statewide implementation network and provide curated lists of evidence-based interventions and practices from reviewed organizations.
- Investing in Summer Learning and Expanded Afterschool Programs and Supporting Social, Emotional, and Mental Health Needs: The IDOE will support school districts to select and implement evidence-based interventions and practices that address summer school programming in the context of COVID-19. IDOE also will use ARP ESSER funds to support implementation of evidence-based comprehensive after-school programs that integrate before- and after-school programs and wraparound care.
A total of 41 states and the District of Columbia have submitted their ARP ESSER state plans to the Department. The Department is reviewing the plans expeditiously and is in contact with states to ensure their plans meet all necessary requirements in order to access the remaining funds, as outlined in the ARP. The Department also is in contact with states that have not yet submitted plans, the vast majority of which are due to state board of education or legislative review requirements.
The distribution of ARP ESSER funds is part of the Department’s broader effort to support students and districts as they work to reengage students impacted by the pandemic, address inequities exacerbated by COVID-19, and build our education system back better than before. In addition to providing $130 billion for K-12 education in the American Rescue Plan to support the safe reopening of K-12 schools and meet the needs of all students, the Biden-Harris Administration also has:
In addition to the actions the Biden Administration has taken to reopen schools, the President has proposed critical investments through his Build Back Better agenda that will enable schools to rebuild stronger than they were before the pandemic, such as investing billions to build a diverse educator workforce, expand access to pre-K to all families, and invest in school infrastructure, among other provisions.
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