Superintendent’s Note: How we’ll support students after the pandemic

Superintendent’s Note: How we’ll support students after the pandemic
Posted on 06/08/2021
Trautwein elementary reading interventionist Jill HuelsmannGreat progress is being made toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic. As restrictions loosen and the pandemic hopefully winds down, one thing remains certain. Our students continue to need academic and social-emotional support.

I’m grateful the federal government has recognized this important fact and is financially supporting programs for students. As part of the federal government’s COVID relief funds, school districts will receive reimbursements for certain expenses, like learning recovery, through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund.

We’ve already benefited from ESSER funding. The first round of funding, called ESSER I, provided Mehlville School District with $704,573 to supplement a state funding shortfall. Mehlville used the funds in the 2019-2020 school year to purchase curricular support materials.

ESSER II will provide $4,091,357 to Mehlville School District. The district can spend these funds on COVID-19 response efforts, including addressing school needs, training on reducing the spread of the virus, cleaning supplies, food services, technology, mental health services, summer learning, after-school programs and learning recovery.

The district plans to use $1 million of these funds to offset losses in our food service budget. We’ll use about $2.9 million on learning recovery efforts. The remaining funds will be used on technology to support virtual learning.

We estimate we will receive about $9 million from a third round of ESSER funding. We will spend $1.1 million of these funds on HVAC replacements and repairs. The remaining dollars will fund learning recovery efforts.

What will learning recovery be like in Mehlville schools?
A group of dedicated teachers and administrators have been meeting this spring to determine what learning recovery supports we’ll put in place for students with the estimated $13 million we will receive throughout the next three school years. The plan we created together focuses on academic and social-emotional learning interventions, increased student activities and academic support after school. These programs are designed to help us continue to meet each student where they are in their learning and build a greater connection to school and feeling of belonging among our students.

Over the next three school years at the elementary-school level, funds will be used for:
- Two new interventionist teachers per elementary school
- A three-year contract for i-Ready for English Language Arts. i-Ready is a program teachers use to provide students with personalized instruction. 
- Reading materials and classroom libraries
- Data analysis resources for teachers to help them assess student learning and personalize instruction
- Expanded after-school activities and transportation
- A kindergarten camp to run prior to the start of the school year

Over the next three school years at the middle-school level, funds will be used for:
- Two new interventionist teachers per middle school
- Data analysis resources for teachers to help them assess student learning and personalize instruction
- Expanded after-school activities and transportation

Over the next three school years at the high-school level, funds will be used for:
- Two new interventionist teachers per high school
- Additional social-emotional well-being support from CHADS Coalition
- IXL math and English Language Arts. IXL is a program teachers use to provide students with personalized instruction.
- After-school activities, including a ninth hour block for students who need credit recovery, and transportation.

I want to thank our educators and support staff for persevering through a difficult year. The 2020-2021 school year has been one of challenges, frustrations and heartbreaks. Through it all, our staff have remained committed to connecting with students in new and important ways, and to ensuring students feel supported in their education. 

Chris Gaines, Ed.D. 
Superintendent


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