US Department of Education Approves Mississippi Plan to Use US Rescue Plan Funds to Support Kindergarten to Grade 12 Schools and Students | Mississippi Politics and News

State plan approval will release remaining $ 543 million in ARP ESSER funds

Today, the United States Department of Education (Department) announced the approval of the United States Mississippi Rescue Plan for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) and distributed the remaining ARP ESSER funds to the state. Mississippi’s plan details how the state is using and plans to use ARP ESSER funds to keep schools running safely and equitably expanding opportunities for students who need it most, especially those most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of December, with the help of US bailout funds, nearly all schools are open for full-time in-person education. The ministry recently released a new resource for state and local leaders, highlighting the importance of full-time, safe, in-person learning and how federal funds can be used to achieve this goal.

Earlier this year, the department distributed two-thirds of ARP ESSER funds, totaling $ 81 billion, to 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The remaining third of state funding will be made available once state plans are approved. Mississippi receives more than $ 1.6 billion in total in ARP ESSER funds, and today’s approval of the state’s plan will release the final $ 543 million. Today’s approvals mean that a total of 51 state ARP ESSER plans have been approved since June.

“I am delighted to announce the approval of the Mississippi plan,” said US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “It is encouraging to see, reflected in these state plans, how states are thinking deeply about how to use US bailout funds to continue to provide critical support to schools and communities. Approval of these plans allows states to receive additional essential US bailout funds to help keep schools open for full-time in-person learning; meet the academic, social, emotional and mental health needs of students; and address disparities in access to educational opportunities that have been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. The state plans that have been submitted to the ministry lay the groundwork for how an unprecedented injection of federal resources will be used to meet the urgent needs of America’s children and build back better.

“Mississippi has prioritized face-to-face learning because it is the most effective way to keep students engaged, accelerate learning, and meet their social and emotional learning needs.” said Dr. Carey Wright, Mississippi state superintendent of education. “We are grateful to the US Department of Education for its significant investment of ESSER funds in Mississippi. These funds will allow our schools to innovate in learning and build strong and sustainable support systems to meet the current and future needs of our students.

Ministry-approved ARP ESSER state plans, including Mississippi, show how states are using federal resources in a pandemic to support safe in-person education and meet social, emotional, mental health, and educational needs of students – with a focus on the students most affected by the pandemic. For example:

Safely reopening schools and keeping operations safe: The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) urged districts to think about how to run vaccination campaigns on school campuses, in addition to sharing recommendations and advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). One-on-one instruction with schools and districts across the state. Mississippi schools have also used a variety of strategies to increase immunization rates in schools and communities.

Address the academic impact of wasted teaching time: MDE will use ARP ESSER funds to support high-dose tutoring, summer learning and enrichment, and extended day programs through a Competitive grant program to meet the academic, social, emotional and mental health needs of students as the state develops.

Support physical and mental health: The MDE has launched a behavioral telehealth project in response to mental health issues that may have been exacerbated by the pandemic, staffed by school personnel. The MDE is also using ARP funds for a pilot program to provide mental and behavioral health care to children and to increase educators’ knowledge of behavioral management techniques. In addition, the MDE provided funds to put 25 new medical staff on site in schools.

The distribution of ARP ESSER funds is part of the department’s broader effort to support students and districts as they strive to re-engage students affected by the pandemic, address inequalities exacerbated by COVID-19, and rebuild our education system better than before. In addition to providing $ 130 billion for K-12 education in the US bailout to support the safe reopening of K-12 schools and meet the needs of all students, the Biden-Harris administration also :

  • Hosted the Return To School Road Trip, a bus tour that visited schools in five states in five days to celebrate Safe Return to School.
  • Announcing new mental health resources to provide information and resources to improve mental health promotion and social and emotional well-being in children and students.
  • Back to School Roadmap launched to provide key resources and supports for students, parents, educators and school communities to build excitement around back to school this school year and describe how federal funding can support the safe and sustainable return of in-person learning.
  • Three-volume publication of the COVID-19 handbook.
  • Organized a national summit on reopening safe schools.
  • Priority to the vaccination of educators, school staff and daycare workers.
  • $ 10 billion in funding for COVID-19 testing for educators, staff and students in Kindergarten to Grade 12.
  • Launch of a series of Equity Summits focused on tackling inequalities that previously existed, but which have been made worse by the pandemic.
  • Report released on disparate impacts of COVID-19 on underserved communities.
  • Development of a Best Practices Clearinghouse for Safer Schools and Campuses raising hundreds of best practices to support schools’ efforts to safely reopen and address the impacts of COVID-19 on students, educators and communities.

In addition to the steps the Biden administration has taken to reopen schools, the president has proposed critical investments as part of his Build Back Better program. The Build Back Better legislation will provide a universal and free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds and make education beyond high school more affordable, including providing more training and apprenticeships, increasing the Pell grant maximum and expanding access to DREAMers. It will also make historic investments in historically black colleges and universities, tribal colleges and universities, and institutions serving minorities.

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