American Rescue Plan (ARP)-ESSER funding plan

Dear GASD Staff and Community,

The 2021-22 enacted state 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 website a plan by school year of how these funds will be spent. This is that plan.

New York has been allocated nearly $9 billion in ARP-ESSER funds, with a minimum of $8.09 billion (90 percent) going to local education agencies, including public schools.

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 public comment from parents, teachers and other stakeholders and take such comments into account in the development of the plan. The district conducted two Google surveys in the spring of 2021 seeking input from both GASD staff and parents/community members on their thoughts for the best use of this funding. A total of 125 staff and 540 parents/community members responded to those surveys, the results of which were presented to the GASD Board of Education by the Superintendent of Schools in preparing this plan.

The following plan includes information regarding the Greater Amsterdam School District’s allocation of $13,767,870 in federal stimulus funds through the American Rescue Plan. Of the ARP-ESSER total allocation of $13,767,870, 20 percent of the total funding or $2,753,574 must be earmarked to address student learning losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. A specified amount must also go toward summer enrichment and after school programming. The remaining portion of the allocation can be used to support our district, particularly in areas most impacted by the pandemic.

Our administrative team and district stakeholders have reviewed the plan components, suggested revisions and determined that the plan meets the charge to “prioritize spending on non-recurring expenses.” The funds allow for us to:

  • Safely return students to in-person instruction
  • Maximize in-person instruction time
  • Operate schools and meet the needs of students
  • Purchase educational technology
  • Address 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
  • Implement evidence-based strategies to meet students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs
  • Offer evidence-based summer, after school, and other extended learning and enrichment programs
  • Support early childhood education

Please note, the plan covers a three-year funded time span through September, 2024. The three-year plan is meant to be fluid and amendments are allowed every six months. As such, we anticipate that amendments will likely occur as we implement programs, review each program’s impact on student learning and engagement and revise as necessary.

These funds are separate and distinct from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) total allocation of $6,130,339.

If you have any questions about the ARP-ESSER funding plan, please contact me at rruberti@gasd.org or by phone at (518) 843-3180.

Sincerely,
Richard Ruberti
GASD Superintendent of Schools

rescue plan priorities graphic

Safely returning students to in-person instruction

Plan Summary

Our plan includes needs for the safe return to school for all students through the following non-recurring expenditures:

  • Updated rooftop units and air filtration systems (Years 2-3: $5 million)
  • Communication devices (Year 1)
  • Hiring additional Nurses to support student health and safety (Year 1 only)
  • PPE Supplies (Year 1 only)
  • Sanitation products and labor for completing nightly (Year 1 only)
  • Upgrading facilities to increase learning space (Years 2-3)
  • Classroom audio enhancements (Year 1)
  • Flexible furniture (Years 2-3)
  • Art, Music and Athletic supplies (Years 1-3)

Maximizing in-person instruction time

Plan Summary

Our plan includes needs to maximize in-person instruction time through the following non-recurring expenditures:

  • Lunch supervision (if 6 feet is required for lunch) (Year 1)
  • After school transportation to allow students to participate in after school enrichment and intervention activities at all levels (Years 1-3)
  • Flexible furniture (Years 2-3)
  • Upgraded ventilation systems (Years 2-3)
  • Upgraded heating systems (Years 2-3)

Operating schools and meeting the needs of students

Plan Summary

  • New outdoor areas for instruction and social distancing interactions outside (Years 1-2)
  • Physical Education equipment to allow for social distancing and updating current equipment (Years 1-2)
  • Increasing internet accessibility for students (Year 1)
  • Increase the number of meal opportunities for all students and related services (Years 1-3)
  • Increase of nursing assistance – Nurse Connections (Year 1)
  • Upgrade of health and nursing tools, accessories and equipment (Year 1)

Purchase of educational technology

Plan Summary

Our plan includes needs in the area of educational technology:

  • Distance Learning Lab expansion (Year 1: $85,000)
  • Gaming Lab at Amsterdam High School (Year 2 or 3)
  • zSpace Laptops: Interactive 3D computers to be placed in each school library K-12 (Year 1)
  • Chromebooks for enhanced instruction and to replace outdated units (Year 2)
  • New software programs and platforms to enhance existing learning (Years 1-3)

Addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on all students, including low-income students, students with disabilities, English Language Learners, and students experiencing homelessness by offering evidence-based summer, afterschool, and other extended learning and enrichment programs

Plan Summary

  • Assistive devices for our Special Education and ELL students (Years 1-3)
  • Support through staffing and outside resources to provide counseling services, supplies and other items for those students experiencing homelessness (Years 1-3)
  • Expanding district’s existing PREP program to assist at-risk and low-income students (Year 3)
  • Continued partnerships with community organizations (Years 1-3)
  • Empire After School Grant stipend (Years 1-3)
  • Community based organization to work with at-risk Amsterdam High School students to increase graduation rates (Years 1-3)

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

Plan Summary: All components below are tentatively expected Year 1

  • Academic Intervention Specialist: Hiring of five (5) teachers that will work in three elementary school buildings and two for middle school (Years 1-3: $1,500,000)
  • Hiring a full time additional Social Worker
  • Evidence Based Family Support Specialist Services with a focus on grades K-8
  • Additional Social Emotional learning opportunities and support as students transition back to a traditional in-person model
  • Enrichment: Students will be provided with new opportunities to explore topics of varied interests while connecting with peers with new after school activities

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

Plan Summary: All components below are tentatively expected Year 1

After school at each building for options, including but not limited to: Estimate of $3,000 per after school enrichment program

  • Band Club (Marie Curie Institute)
  • Lego Robotics (Marie Curie Institute)
  • Gifted and Talented
  • Hiking Club/Nature Trail
  • Intramurals
  • Makerspace/Breaker Space for all four elementary schools
  • Hands on tools for students – STEM kits, Art kits, Music tools, etc.

Supporting early childhood education

Plan Summary

  • Academic Intervention Specialist (AIS) at the elementary level
  • Extended School Year
  • K-2 Phonic and Phonemic Awareness resources
  • Phonic Readers K-2
  • Flexible furniture
  • Hands on materials and manipulatives
  • Professional development targeted to enhance early literacy and play based learning

Other areas of student performance and need

Plan Summary

Our plan addresses other areas of student performance and need through the following non-recurring expenditures:

  • 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, after school, and other extended learning and enrichment programs
  • Supporting early childhood education
  • Professional development for teaching staff: BetterLesson
  • Professional development for GASD administrators (Mentors)
  • Increased Assistive Technology