Leveraging Afterschool to Address Learning Loss
On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law, infusing almost $2 trillion in the American economy. The law made available $122.8 billion nationally for public education into a third round of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP-ESSER) funds, of which New York received a whopping $8.99 billion. ARP provides critical investments with these funds to support afterschool, summer, and other expanded learning opportunities through $2.2 billion in funds to address learning loss. For New York, this is about $629 million provided directly to the state, and $1.6 billion directly to local school districts.
These funds present an enormous opportunity to
- Reach every child in New York through afterschool, summer, and expanded learning opportunities, and critical wraparound services that support the whole child
- Leverage high-quality school-community partnerships to foster strong collaborative and collective efforts and ensure that students and families have the support they need to catch up and re-engage effectively in school and community life. High-quality school-community partnerships do not only provide the right tools, resources, and supports needed to accelerate students’ recovery and success, but also help build efficient and sustainable ecosystems that empower schools and communities to be critical changemakers.
- Reimagine students’ learning experience by strengthening the infrastructure for integrated supports, including the incorporation of high-quality informal instructional programming and project-based learning, and social emotional learning. Expanding learning through school-community partnerships creates these kind of learning opportunities that should be available to all students.
ARP ESSER Funds for New York- Breakdown
What We Know About ARP ESSER III Funds- Timeline
- March 11, 2021: American Rescue Plan (ARP), including ESSER III funds, signed into law
- March 17, 2021: U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) release a factsheet about ARP ESSER III funds.
- March 24, 2021: Two-thirds of ARP ESSER allocation is made available to New York to support ongoing efforts to reopen schools safely for in-person learning, keep schools safely open once students are back, and address the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of all students
- April 11, 2021: U.S. Department of Education shares COVID-19 Handbook Volume 2ESSER III spending guidelines (COVID-19 Handbook Vol. 2), which include OST and summer learning and enrichment as evidence-based interventions for accelerated learning and explicitly recommends partnering with community-based organizations to implement those interventions
- June 7, 2021: States must submit their ARP ESSER III State plans to the U.S. Department of Education.
- July 1, 2021: On or before July 1, 2021, every local educational agency receiving ARP ESSER III funds shall be required to post on its website a plan by school year of how such funds will be expended and how the local educational agency will prioritize spending on non-recurring expenses in identified areas.
Planning Resources to Accelerate Students’ Recovery
- New. DiscoverSummer.org: The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) has launched DiscoverSummer.org— a new online destination, developed in response to COVID-19, to help families discover affordable summer programs, summer meals, parent tips and a sea of resources to keep kids learning, earning, safe and healthy this season.
- Summer Learning and Beyond: Opportunities for Creating Equity: This report synthesizes cutting-edge research on the science of learning to provide guidelines for how we can address whole child learning and avoid returning to the “old normal.” Learning environments need to be centered on strong teacher-student relationships that address students’ social and emotional learning, providing students with opportunities to construct knowledge that builds upon their experiences and social contexts in ways that deepen their academic skills.
- Evidence-Based Interventions: Summer Learning or Enrichment, and Comprehensive Afterschool Programs: A growing body of research and evaluation findings that clearly demonstrates that well-designed and delivered summer and afterschool opportunities and partnerships positively impact and affect a variety of important student results and outcomes. This resource is intended for advocates and decision-makers seeking information on evidence-based afterschool and summer learning as interventions potentially eligible for funding from the American Rescue Plan.
- School-Community Partnerships Guidebook: This guidebook includes resources on developing a high-quality partnership that can be utilized at various stages of partnership.
- Expanding Learning through School-Community Partnerships in New York State: Provides recommendations for effective planning and implementation of school-community partnerships, such as community schools, school-based afterschool and summer programs, expanded learning time, and education-focused collective impact
- Planning for Impactful Summer Learning – an overview of how school-community partnerships can provide a vehicle for aligning services and leaning on and utilizing the expertise, resources, and capacity that exist in multiple sectors
- 2021 Summer Learning and Enrichment: State Guidance for District and School Leaders: A resource developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and National Governors Association (NGA) that provides a framework for planning with vetted resources to assist districts and schools as they make decisions about summer 2021 learning and enrichment.
- Help Kids Recover Webpage – a new joint campaign across multiple national afterschool and summer learning organizations aimed at connecting local education leaders and community organizations. Highlighted are evidence based practices and the impact of afterschool and summer learning programs– particularly, the following:
- Starting an Afterschool Program: Provides resources and tools for those interested in starting a quality afterschool program.
Afterschool, Summer, and Expanded Learning Resources
- This is Afterschool (April 2021): This factsheet from the Afterschool Alliance outlines survey findings that explain the role of afterschool in New York State and its importance for COVID-19 recovery.
- America After 3pm Summer- NY Factsheet: Summarizes findings from the New York After 3PM Summer Survey. This included data about the demand for summer programs in New York, participation, parent perceptions, and the current state of programs.
- Recommendations to NYSED on guidance for local school districts: The New York State Network for Youth Success’ and the New York State Community Schools Network’s recommendations for NYSED’s guidance to local school districts regarding ARP funding. The guidance emphasizes the importance of school-community partnerships and the technical and infrastructure supports needed to foster partnerships.
- Recommendations to local school districts on school-community partnerships: These recommendations focus on helping local school districts effectively prioritize and implement equitable efforts to promote learning recovery. It outlines specific strategies and focuses to maximize ARP funding to address learning loss for New York’s youth.
- Comprehensive proposal for the allocation of ARP funds – Leveraging afterschool and community schools to address learning loss (April 2021): This proposal discusses the challenges faced by students, specifically those from underserved communities, that were exacerbated by the pandemic. It then presents a strategy centered around coordination to efficiently and effectively address learning loss.
- Survey results on stimulus funding priorities for afterschool (March 2021): The Network conducted a survey in March 2021 to gather input from the afterschool field to inform the Network’s priorities and its recommendations to the State and other relevant stakeholders for the use of federal stimulus funds.
Afterschool Quality and Capacity
- Quality Self-Assessment (QSA) Tool: This tool allows afterschool programs to evaluate the quality of their programming to identify strengths and opportunities for improvement.
- Site Leaders Institute (SLI): An intense, 10-month training program for site directors at afterschool programs to sharpen their skills and knowledge base to build a strong foundation for programs. It focuses on teaching methods for effective afterschool supervision and management.
- SAC Credential : The Network for Youth Success administers training and certification for the State School Age Care Credential. This promotes quality services to children and families by providing specific standards, training, and evaluation for afterschool professionals.
- Program Accreditation: The Network for Youth Success provides accreditation services to ensure program quality in the afterschool field.
Federal Afterschool Resources
- National AfterSchool Association: A national membership organization for professionals who work with and on behalf of children and youth during out-of-school time. NAA provides resources and information to support out-of-school time professionals. The Network is the NYS Affiliate for the National Afterschool Association.
- Afterschool Alliance: Aims to ensure that all youth have access to affordable, quality afterschool programs by engaging public will to increase public and private investment in afterschool programs. Their website includes national and state specific data and resources to enhance advocacy efforts.
- Mizzen by Mott: The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation funds and supports a 50-state afterschool network and leading national organizations to create high-quality educational opportunities for young people. Mizzen by Mott is also a free app meant to help afterschool professionals deliver learning opportunities to youth.
Community Schools Resources
Key Drivers for Successful Implementation of Community Schools Initiatives (May 2021): Early Lessons Learned: Over the past decade, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) has supported the implementation and evaluation of various community schools initiatives across the country. From their work with the Community Schools Initiative administered by Chicago Public Schools, the Florida Community Partnership Schools model, and the Pittsburgh Public Schools’ Community Schools initiative, they have identified key drivers related to successful implementation of a community schools
How to Start a Community School: The resources and tools provided here will help you design and implement community schools at the school-site level. These resources are divided into several interconnected steps that will help you get started. Many of the resources in this toolkit originate from community schools initiatives around the country that have been working on developing community schools for many years.
Building Community Schools: A Guide for Action: This is a comprehensive resource that dives into the process involved in building community schools and provides stages of development as a guide for action to colleagues who want to learn from the experience of the increasing number of community school systems around the country.
State and Federal Information
New York State Education Department
Visit here for the latest updates and resources.
- Handbook for Summer School Administrators and Principals 2021 (May 5, 2021): The handbook emphasizes the promising practices for summer learning and encourages districts and schools to think creatively about summer school opportunities they may provide for the students, including: partnering with leaders and organizations in new ways to break down silos in education and improve integration; and use of hands-on summer program strategies to effect immediate, measurable, and lasting impact.
- Guidance on Supporting Student Mental Health (April 16, 2021)
U.S. Department of Education
Related Events- Addressing Learning Loss
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Join ongoing webinars hosted by the Afterschool Alliance to learn from experts and fellow practitioners on the latest in afterschool, including program funding, research and analysis, practical guides, and how TOs.
Check out the “Voices of Summer Webinar Series” hosted by the National Summer Learning Association.
The National AfterSchool Association is also hosting a series of webinars to support and provide resources to the afterschool field. Visit this page to learn more.