Over the last few years, the Dayton Public School District has received COVID-relief funds from the federal government. These funds, often referred to as “ESSER” funds (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) or “ARP” funds (American Rescue Plan), have been used to keep students and staff safe during the height of the pandemic, and to help students catch up academically after a period of disrupted learning in 2020 and 2021. There were several rounds of funding for K12 schools, denoted by ESSER I, II or III below.
To keep the community informed about the district’s ongoing use of COVID-relief funds, regular updates will be shared on the district’s website and social media throughout the lifetime of the funds. ESSER I funds expire in September of 2022, ESSER II funds expire in September of 2023, and ESSER III funds expire in September of 2024.
In March 2022, the district expended the following:
ESSER I – $159,412.35
These funds were spent on salaries and benefits for Instructional Paraprofessionals, In School Suspension Paraprofessionals, and Security Resource Officers.
More information about Instructional Paraprofessionals
To help close learning gaps that resulted from the pandemic, the district hired additional Instructional Paraprofessionals to work between every two kindergarten classrooms. These positions provide additional academic support to students and more individualized attention.
ESSER II – $1,144,411.19
These funds were spent on salaries and benefits for Double Teachers, Security Resource Officers and Paraprofessionals. Funds were also spent on First Student Transportation and Dayton Children’s Hospital to fund Student Resiliency Coordinators and Student Behavioral Therapists.
More information about Student Resiliency Coordinators & Student Behavioral Therapists
Student Resiliency Coordinators (SRCs) are in each school and manage long-term counselings needs for students. This initiative began in 2020 in partnership with Dayton Children’s Hospital and is an innovative approach to providing students with resources specifically tailored to their needs. By partnering with one organization to serve the entire district — rather than multiple agencies partnering with specific schools — there is more accountability and coordination when it comes to providing for the mental health needs of students.
The SRC at each school helps determine what services a student needs, and then connects him or her to those services. The SRCs also set goals and monitor a student’s progress toward reaching those goals.
While SRCs focus on extended counseling needs, Student Behavioral Therapists focus on short-term counseling. There is one Student Behavioral Therapist for every two schools.
More information about Double Teachers
An important part of the district’s recovery plan includes a double teaching model in 1st-3rd grade. Under this model, there are two teachers in each classroom, with one specializing in math and one specializing in literacy. The class is divided and the teachers teach to one half of the class simultaneously. At the end of the lesson, the teachers switch places and teach to the other group of students.
A major benefit of this model is reduced class size, which allows for more individualized attention. Teachers can spend more time working one-on-one with students, which helps close learning gaps.
Double teachers also collaborate more frequently and can coordinate their lesson plans to make the day more engaging for students. The smaller class sizes also increase student engagement overall because students are working in smaller groups with fewer distractions.
The district hired 96 additional teachers for double teaching classrooms. At this time, preliminary data shows that double teachers are having an impact and are helping to close learning gaps. If this model proves to be successful, the district will consider continued funding after the federal COVID-relief funds are gone.
More information about First Student Transportation
The district provides yellow bus transportation to all eligible charter and parochial students through First Student. This allows the district to use its own yellow buses and drivers to transport all DPS students.
ESSER III – $18,362.14
These funds went toward the salary and benefits of the Director of Health Services. The Director of Health Services oversees all school nurses and plays an important role in making sure the district is following all COVID-19 requirements and recommended guidelines.
Another COVID-relief spending update will be published next month. Read more about the district’s Recovery Plan here.
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