The federal government is providing schools with funding to help with mitigation strategies so that kids can stay in school and to address the impact that the pandemic has had on students.

New York State’s 2021-22 enacted budget includes language requiring local education agencies, such as school districts, that receive funding from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund allocated by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP-ESSER) to post on their websites a plan of how these funds will be spent.

NYS received an allocation of nearly $9 billion in ARP-ESSER funds, with a minimum of $8.09 billion (90 percent) going to local education agencies, including public schools. Chatham Central School District is allocated $1,305,506. Of Chatham’s total, a minimum of $261,101 is mandated to address learning loss.

Districts are required to prioritize spending on non-recurring expenses in the following areas:

  • Safely returning students to in-person instruction

  • Maximizing in-person instruction time

  • Operating schools and meeting the needs of students

  • Purchasing educational technology

  • Addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students, including the impacts of interrupted instruction and learning loss and the impacts on low-income students, children with disabilities, English language learners, and students experiencing homelessness

  • Implementing evidence-based strategies to meet students' social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs

  • Offering evidence-based summer, afterschool, and other extended learning and enrichment programs

  • Supporting early childhood education.

In addition, districts must identify programs and services that will continue beyond the availability of these federal funds and how local funds will be used moving forward in order to minimize disruption to core academic and other school programs.

Before posting this plan, districts were required to seek input from parents, teachers and other stakeholders and take such comments into account in the development of the plan. The Chatham administrative team also met to discuss and analyze known and potential return-to-school priorities, with specific attention given to identifying and closing students’ learning loss and the impact the pandemic has had on students’ mental health and well-being. 

Chatham’s ARP-ESSER plan was approved by the New York State Education Department on December 29, 2021. Below is a summary and link to the approved application. 

  • Elementary teacher (2022-23) dedicated to first grade in order to create smaller class sizes to improve support for our youngest learners 

  • English language arts academic intervention services teacher (2022-23) to remediate learning gaps

  • Three full-time substitute teachers (2022-23) to support continuous instruction across all three buildings

  • Three teaching assistants (2022 and 2023) to support learning in summer school programs

  • Compensation for district-wide enrichment and club teachers/advisors (2022-24) to support a variety of new, well-rounded, and accelerated learning and experiences

  • Enrichment teacher (2022-23) to support a variety of new, well-rounded, and accelerated learning experiences

  • Additional psychologist at MED (2022-23) to support students’ emotional and mental health needs

  • Summer hours for staff professional development, curriculum review and writing, and initiative integration (2022-24)

  • Outside providers for professional development in the areas of academics, mental/social-emotional health, initiatives, and instructional improvement (2022-24)

  • Additional IT position (2021-23) to support staff and student technology needs

  • Additional registered nurse position (2022-24) to support student physical health

  • Coordinator for Grant-Funded Programming & Accountability position was created to oversee the implementation and assessment of programs and positions funded by ARP-ESSER and other grants (2021-2024)

  • Summer school materials and supplies for students (2022 and 2023)

  • Consumable and non-sharable items for visual arts, music, theater, professional development, library, science

Many of the positions that begin in 2022-23 are allocated to continue staffing and/or programming created through other funding sources in 2021-22.

Student learning loss is continually measured. As such, the District may continue supporting above positions and/or programs following the grant period.

Questions may be directed to Kate Jarrard, Coordinator of Grant Funded Programming and Accountability:

Graph showing stakeholder input for Chatham CSD American Rescue Plan Grant showing nine categories and the number of stakeholders who rated each category as low priority, neutral, or high priority, as follows.  Safety/Security: 3 Low Priority 12 Neutral 31 High Priority.  Ed Tech: 6 Low Priority 19 Neutral 22 High Priority.  Accel/Enrichment: 2 Low Priority 18 Neutral 25 High Priority.  Summer School: 8 Low Priority 9 Neutral 27 High Priority.  After-school Acad: 7 Low Priority 18 Neutral 20 High Priority.  Additional AIS: 2 Low Priority 16 Neutral 27 High Priority.  SEL Support: 3 Low Priority 14 Neutral 29 High Priority.  Additional Early Ed: 9 Low Priority 15 Neutral 21 High Priority.  HVAC: 5 Low Priority 12 Neutral 30 High Priority.

The District's plan was shaped by feedback collected from stakeholders over a period of several months. The District has allocated funding to each of the areas of student learning, particularly focusing on both learning loss and enrichment, and on mental and physical health and safety.