American Rescue Plan Funding
The American Rescue Plan (ARP) is the federal stimulus package that has $30 billion federally that can be used for afterschool and summer learning programs as a part of pandemic recovery. The US Department of Education just released the COVID-19 Handbook, Volume 2: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students' Needs. Volume 2 specifies ways ARP funds can be used including:
- Address the impact of lost instructional time by supporting the implementation of evidence-based interventions that respond to students’ social, emotional, and academic needs;
- Provide afterschool, or other out-of-school time programs that address students’ social, emotional, and academic needs;
- Address the mental health needs of students through using funds to hire counselors and other staff;
- Provide integrated student supports, through the use of full-service community schools;
- Provide students with evidence-based summer learning and enrichment programs, including partnerships with community-based organizations.
Allocations to Virginia
As the ARP funds arrive in Virginia, our state education and human service agencies will make the decisions on how to distribute funds. In terms of how these funds could be allocated to OST programs, the largest streams flow from
Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). The following funds have been allocated to Virginia:
Resources for Influencing Where Funding Goes
VPOST stands ready to support you in reaching out to local education leaders such as your school boards and superintendents to share what you can offer students to support learning recovery.
Think about what you can offer:
- Who can you serve/where and how many students?
- How would your program support students’ recovery?
- How are you operating? How are you proposing to operate?
- What is the cost?
- Gather data and success stories on your own program, especially around academic support, engaging and exciting students in learning, social and emotional development, and serving students in need.
If you are interested in working with your local leadership and would like support from VPOST, please email us at email@example.com.
- When will we recognize how important afterschool programs are to Richmond families?: This article in the Richmond Times Dispatch champions the needs to use ARP dollars to fund essential, equitable and robust recovery.
- Virginia ARP Fact Sheet
- Fact Sheet: Expanding Learning and Supports For All Students Afterschool and Summer Programs Are Essential for Equitable Recovery: A fact sheet that shows how afterschool and summer programs accelerate learning with unique academic, social and emotional supports.
- Fact Sheet: A Summer for Learning and Recovery: A fact sheet summarizing the benefits and research on summer programs that explains how they help accelerate learning and meet kids’ needs. Emphasizes messaging about equity, highlights role programs play in addressing hunger, and includes research-based strategies for successful summer programs.
- HelpKidsRecover.org, was created by a coalition of national out-of-school time organizations created as a resource for education leaders on how to implement quality programs using evidence-based practices and community partners.
- Template letter providers and advocates can send local education leaders in Virginia to explain how afterschool and summer programs help can be partners in pandemic recovery using ARP funds.
- Talking points to help you prepare for meetings and/or use in follow-up emails.
- Summer learning talking points from the National Summer Learning Association with four key messages about summer learning programs' power to make a difference for kids as they recover this summer. These messages can help organize your thoughts for meetings and follow-up emails with state- and local-level decision-makers.
Planning for Reopening
With the 2020-2021 school year in session, which school districts are offering in-person, hybrid or remote instruction remains fluid during the pandemic. School District statuses can be found on the VDOE COVID-19 page along with all other VDOE pandemic related details.
- In 2020 Virginia Department of Education released their return to school plan, Recover, Redesign, and Restart 2020. Pages 35-36 speak directly to out-of-school time programs and were informed by VPOST’s work on the Return to School Taskforce contributions. This section details important questions to ask during planning stages, immediately before opening and while open and operating. Out-of-School Time programs should also take care to review the Centering Equity section which outlines strategies and an audit focused on reopening through a prism raising equity.
- This spring of 2021, VDOE convened a group of called Virginia LEARNS (Leading, Engaging, Assessing, Recovering, Nurturing, Succeeding), to strategize best practices in addressing the opening of schools to in-person instruction, supporting recovery from unfinished learning, and supporting the social and emotional needs of students and school staff. Navigating Virginia Education in Uncertain Times builds upon Recover, Redesign and Restart and it makes recommendations and identifies resources and best practices related to equity, curricula — especially in literacy and mathematics — remediation and intervention strategies, assessments, data analysis, student and staff wellness, and technology to support instruction and learning. Page 30 states "School divisions should strengthen collaboration with summer and after school partners and organizations" when supporting students offset some of the effects of unfinished learning. Likewise, page 37 recommends "providing targeted intervention for students through tiered supports at flexible times (before, during, and/ or after school)."
- Afterschool Alliance COVID-19 Recovery Backgrounder: handout that describes why afterschool and summer learning programs are important and effective; outlines the support we need for reopening; and provides specific calls-to-action by the audience.
- Connecting_with_School_Administrations_About_Reopening: This sample email and letter makes the case for including afterschool in discussions and planning around reopening schools and may be used as templates for this important communication with school superintendents, administrators and principals.
- CDC reopening guidelines for schools, camps, and childcare.
- This NPR article showcases how the YMCA of the USA and New York City's Department of Education has been caring for tens of thousands of children since March with no reports of coronavirus clusters or outbreaks.
- CASEL (The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning) shares a framework with actionable recommendations to help plan for the Social-Emotional needs of youth and adults during the summer and the beginning of the new school year.
A Snapshot of Programs in the Spring of 2021
Thank you to the many programs that completed the 4th wave of surveys commissioned by the Afterschool Alliance. Your willingness to share has helped up to get a snapshot of Virginia's out-of-school time programs during the pandemic. The results are in and the data tells the story of programs that are continuing to step-up their efforts but still face many challenges as we look toward summer. Be on the lookout for the wave 5 survey next month!
Virtual Outreach and Distance Learning
- The Guidance for Out-of-School Time Learning at a Distance (GOLD): Best Practices for Out-of-School Time Programs providing distance learning. These standards include 4 domains, 10 standards, and 27 indicators and a self-assessment piece.
- BellXcel Remote: An evidence-based Quality Reflection Tool that adapts the classroom experience for home use during this time of distance learning.
- Virginia Learns Anywhere: In an effort to support Virginia educators, VDOE created the Continuity for Learning (C4L) Task Force consisting of teachers, leaders, and collaborating educational partners across Virginia. The C4L Task Force has prepared Virginia Learns Anywhere which reinforces much-needed structure while also empowering individual teachers to support students in learning remotely. The C4L Task Force encourages divisions to develop and implement continuous learning plans in partnership with local county health departments, families, staff, and local boards of education.
- PBS Distance Learning Resources: View a variety of tips, skills and resources for transforming education to a virtual environmen, including a free pre-recorded webinar
- Best Practices for Online Programs:From VCU's Center for Community Engagement and Impact, this document outlines precautions to protect minors in a virtual environment and increase engagement of youth and families.
- Google Voice: Educators that would like to reach out to youth and families, but not share their personal phone numbers can sign up for Google voice. This free service provides a U.S. telephone number, chosen by the user from available numbers in selected area codes.
- On the Road Collaborative Program Virtual Learning Overview_April 2020 This document is one of On the Road Collaborative's Virtual Learning Guidelines for their staff. It outlines, goals, activities and platforms used and can be viewed as a sample model.
- Family Outreach Sample Script: From Providence Afterschool Alliance in Rhode Island, this google doc provides sample scripts for participant outreach, and more.
- NoKidHungry Virginia: NoKidHungry has launched a texting hotline to provide information about emergency food distribution sites in local communities. To find food near you text FOOD or COMIDA to 877-877.
- approved-meal-sapproved-meal-sites-4 This is the list of VDOE approved meal sites (updated April 19, 2021)
- Federation of Virginia Foodbanks: Find information on local food banks.
- Tips for parents and caregivers: HealthyChildren.org has two great articles outlining tips for parents on working and learning from homes, as well as strategies for keeping calm in the house.
- Learning Heroes: Offers tips and resources to help parents and caregivers serve in the role as at-home educator.
COVID-19 Activity Guide
COVID-19, coronavirus, has impacted students and families throughout the world and has significantly altered our education systems, including out-of-school time programs. The activities and resources in the Learning About COVID-19 Activity Guides were intentionally designed to support youth-serving programs in engaging students in learning about the science of COVID-19 and developing greater social awareness and empathy. All activities should be safely executed and aligned with state and local health guidelines.
40 Activities and Challenges
Organized by four different age groups (5-9) (10-12) (13-15) (16-18)
Adaptable for in-person and virtual instruction, or a hybrid of both, as well as sent as take-home packet
Community Funding Resources
- Community Foundation COVID-19 Response Funds: Several local community foundations across Virginia have established COVID-19 response grants. These funds generally are awarded to organizations responding to the impact of COVID-19 on vunerable communities. Local Community foundations are operating for close to 20 regions of Virginia. Links to local Community Foundations can be found here.
- US Small Business Administration: Find local agencies offering assistance to small businesses.
- COVID-19 and Youth Grants: Youth Today has complied a list of open grants that fund projects related to serving youth during the pandemic.
- Children's Funding Project has released a comprehensive guide, Navigating New AND Flexible Funding Streams For Kids During COVID-19, that compiles over 30 federal funding streams that youth-serving organizations can use during COVID-19 and beyond.