ESSER

ESSER Use of Funds Plan

How will the Local Education Agency ensure that the interventions it implements, including but not limited to the interventions under section 2001(e)(1) of the American Rescue Plan Act to address the academic impact of lost instructional time, will respond to the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of all students, and particularly those students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including students from low-income families, students of color, English learners, children with disabilities, students experiencing homelessness, children and youth in foster care, and migratory students?

Considerations to include:


In what ways have students been impacted by lost instructional time (the pandemic)?

Due to COVID 19, students across our state and the nation experienced lost learning owing to school shutdowns and inadequate remote teaching and learning in the spring of 2020; unfortunately, our students continue to experience lost learning due to this pandemic as we navigate the 2021-2022 school year. This learning loss or unfinished learning is because of unprecedented and continuous disruptions and absences caused by school/classroom closures and quarantine procedures (students and teachers).  As numerous articles, scholarly studies, and news reports have stated, the impact of this pandemic on our learners is significant and will continue to be a force to reckon with for years to come.

For the 2020-2021 SY, D51 was the largest school district in Colorado to attend in person, and as a direct result, our learners met or exceeded the average growth percentile in Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) compared to other learners in the state in the spring of 2021. Even while ending on the high note of overall growth compared to the state average, our achievement remains low, and the achievement gap has widened for our diverse learners. The D51 2021 CMAS English Language Arts: Reading proficiency rate for grades 3-8 was 35%, and Math was 24.82%. This rate marks a drop in English Language Arts 2019 proficiency scores. At this time, D51 has 5,233 students (K-11) on READ Plans, with the largest percentage of plans at the 2nd-grade level. 

Our data also indicates the pandemic has impacted academics and the broader health and well-being of our students. D51 administered the Panorama survey to grades 3-12 this fall, and the feedback was concerning. Our secondary students (6-12) reported that their School Belonging was 39% which is near the 10th percentile compared to the national average. Even with our students being in person last year, their sense of belonging is low. Unfortunately, School Engagement was even lower with only 30% but scored in the 20th percentile compared to the national average.  Along with the Panorama data, D51 has seen increased behavior challenges in the classroom due to trauma and decreased access to consistent learning. 

The additional social-emotional pressures from the pandemic have taken a toll on our system, and supports are needed. D51 will increase mental health supports by increasing staff to monitor and support truancy and foster trauma-informed/restorative teaching practices all in an effort to increase student engagement. Unaddressed mental health challenges will likely have a harmful effect on academic achievement.

As a result of these data points, all school sites have benefited from digging deeper into their own student data and have identified two building goals or aims based on student learning and well-being.  These goals are monitored by the site principal, the principal supervisor, and the D51 Instructional Leadership team.  

D51 leadership knows that students who move on to the next grade unprepared are missing key building blocks of content knowledge necessary for academic success; further, these students are at risk of finishing school without the skills, behaviors, and mindsets to succeed in college or in the workforce. Our system will use Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) to capitalize on the academic growth from the 2020-21 school year in an effort to meet student achievement and engagement in the years to come.

Have any student groups been disproportionately impacted? If so, which ones?

All students in D51 have experienced unfinished learning and some groups were disproportionately affected. During the 20-21 school year, roughly 15% of D51 learners spent all or a portion of the school year in a full online program. These learners lost more ground than their comparative peers who attended in person. Students in the online program had a disproportionate representation of high poverty, Free and Reduced Lunch (FRL), Special Education (Moderate and Intensive needs), and social-emotional needs. Additionally, parent engagement to support online program learners was minimal, especially at the secondary level. As a result, these learners made less academic growth and achievement, and they have had a difficult time reacclimating to in-person learning during the 21-22 school year.

More broadly, the 21-22 school year has shown an ongoing disproportionate impact on students from Social Economic Status (SES) impacted households and schools. Behavior incidents and students’ abilities to successfully engage in academic environments are notable impacts from a year of interrupted learning and schooling. This is resulting in less curriculum coverage in school sites that have high degrees of economic impact, as teachers are spending more time redirecting off-task behaviors. Finally, these same SES impacted sites are also struggling with staffing shortages, which is resulting in alternative licensure candidates, long-term substitute teachers, and unfilled positions. The learning environments in these classrooms continue to provide students with a below-average learning experience.       

Students who have individualized plans such as Individualized Education Program (IEP), Gifted & Talented (GT), and Culturally and/or Linguistically Diverse (CLD) also experienced lost learning due to the conditions associated with the pandemic based on remote learning, absences and difficulties of providing specialized instruction in remote settings.

How were the evidence-based interventions selected to respond to identified academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs and any identified disproportionate impact?

The D51 Curriculum and Learning Design and Principal Supervisors have developed a strategy to support both academic unfinished learning loss and Student Social-Emotional, along with belonging needs. This two-pronged approach has been designed and implemented for a district-wide impact. The narrative below describes both the academic and Social-Emotional Foci, which are called “Aims”:

1. Academic Unfinished Learning D51 Aim #1

Unfinished Learning Coaches

With the year-long disruption to student learning and educator instructional practice, teachers have a doubly steep learning curve. They need to continue to develop their instructional practices that support the engagement of students in an online environment and for intermittent attendees who access learning through the district Learning Management System (LMS), Schoology. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, as schools return to more regular operations, teachers must fundamentally reshape how they plan for and design instructional pacing. Students have many holes in their learning as a result of missed instruction due to COVID 19. Course standards maps, unit plans, assessments, and priority standards are just a few of the critical instructional tools that need to be dramatically modified. This work needs to take place at a district curriculum development team level and through professional learning and ongoing learning communities. 

The role of the eight Unfinished Learning Secondary Coaches is to support/ inform Unfinished Learning Curriculum and assessment efforts as well as implementation and ongoing reflection in schools and classrooms. This work has been sustained deeply at the Middle School level and in the four core content areas. Additionally, Elementary and High School Coaches are using this same approach to supporting teachers with understanding, assessing, and responding to students’ unfinished learning needs. 

Curriculum-Based Assessment of Priority Standards/ Content

As mentioned above, with the year-long disruption to student learning and educator instructional practice, teachers have a doubly steep learning curve. They need to continue to develop their instructional practices that support the engagement of students in an online environment and for intermittent attendees who access learning through the district LMS, Schoology. Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, as schools return to more regular operations, teachers must fundamentally reshape how they plan for and design instructional pacing. Students have many holes in their learning as a result of missed instruction due to COVID 19. Course standards maps, unit plans, assessments, and priority standards are just a few of the critical instructional tools that need to be dramatically modified. 

These changes need to be reflected in the LMS (where all curriculum and assessment materials are housed and available to all D51 teachers). Additionally, key assessments, which are prioritized and developed based on priority standards for unfinished learning, will be housed in Performance Matters for a variety of grade levels and content areas (especially Math) from K-8.   

Making assessments and analysis of their data more accessible for teachers, students, and learning communities through digital access on Performance Matters will allow the learning system to make progress on priority standards for unfinished learning. The lift of digitizing these hundreds of assessments across grades K-8 is being sustained over a three year period. 

Content Specialists, curriculum teams, and instructional tech lead coaches to need additional support with data entry of these assessments into Performance Matters and/or Schoology. Therefore an Assessment Specialist has been hired to engage in data entry and assessment development under the oversight of the Director of Assessment.     

Tech Coach, online school 

In the 2020-21 school year, over 10,000 students in D51 spent some portion of their year in sustained online learning, due to full-time online learning programming, quarantines at school sites, and level-wide quarantines at the Middle and High School level during November and December. Furthermore, roughly 2,800 students were enrolled in the official online Grand River Academy and D51 Online School (DOL) Program for some portion of the year. These students and families had very different educational experiences from the other 44 D51 schools, as students had a courseware-based curriculum. 

Parents had great difficulty understanding what it means to be an online learning coach for their child, and they and their students struggled to access platforms and use technology. This resulted in the repurposing of many professional learning, tech operations, and school leadership staff repurposing to meet the crisis. One particular challenge was the surge that the general D51 tech help desk faced in response to so many parent tech questions.

In response to the above online learning challenges, it was determined that it would be beneficial to dedicate a full-time (80%+) instructional technology coach to the GRA/ DOL online school. This role would serve to develop teacher skills with technology, troubleshoot platform challenges, field parent tech concerns and run parent tech clinics, and provide remote support to 3 secondary schools that have high levels of FRL students/ families. This new and dedicated role will allow the other three existing instructional technology coaches to be available to support broader unfinished learning efforts across the learning system, and it will allow the help desk to support ongoing system needs.  

Adaptive intervention resources

All program interventions are evidence-based and aligned to the D51 curriculum. These educational software programs will be used as tools to address lost learning and support teach planning and for and assessing instruction. These interventions will be used before, after, and during the school day to students who are academically behind their grade-level peers in Math and English Language Arts.  These academic interventions will be supported by an interventionist. 

Text resources will be used to increase literacy skills. Adding more texts allows for expanding our ability to offer “just in time” scaffolding through individual and small group differentiated instruction. Best practice for learning acceleration is to prioritize grade-level content and maintain pacing based on prioritized standards. Students with learning loss will need ongoing scaffolding to fill lost learning gaps and front load to ensure success with grade-level content and materials.

Summer School

Due to the pandemic, students throughout our entire system had learning loss as well as credit loss.  

After identifying hundreds of students who had partial credits, lack of credits for graduation, or who were missing a specific class/credit, the summer school plan was redesigned. A summer school program was offered at every school in D51. Classes were based on student needs in literacy and mathematics as well as credit recovery. The summer school was able to educate 3000 students with a variety of educational needs.

2. Social-Emotional Support via a focus on Relationships and Belonging D51 Aim #2

D51 Leadership has also systemized a district-wide focus on SEL through relationships and belonging. This is implemented as an ongoing thread in district professional learning, leadership/ Principal professional learning, and site-based goals for all 45 schools and programs in D51. Additionally, a team of SEL and MTSS support staff and coaches provides direct support to school sites on an ongoing and on-demand basis. The middle school levels all received a school-wide training and implementation of Capturing Kids Hearts. This is a structure that supports belonging and a safe, optimal learning environment.

How will we measure the success of the interventions on students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs? 

Academics: D51 has three windows for testing a beginning of the year (BoY), middle of the year (MoY), and end of the year (EoY): DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills), NWEA (Northwest Evaluation Association), IAs. Spring CMAS and SAT/PSAT data will be used to determine the success in the area of academic performance. Attendance data and growth on individualized plan goals will be used.

Aim #1 and Aim #2 Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) Cycles by school Site

Every school site sets goals related to student outcomes on priority standards (Aim #1) and Student Relationships and Belonging (Aim #2). These goals are set, monitored, and adjusted through four quarterly Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles. Leadership professional learning and school-based teams support sites in navigating this process in a meaningful and impactful way. School PDSA cycles link to support their broader Unified Improvement Plans (UIPs). 

District-Wide PDSA Cycles linked to DUIP goals

The D51 Instructional Leadership Team (DILT) also sets district-wide goals related to student outcomes on priority standards/ Content K-12 (Aim #1) and Student Relationships and Belonging (Aim #2). These goals are set, monitored, and adjusted through four quarterly Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles. These district-wide goals guide the work of support teams (Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS), Social Emotional Learning (SEL), Coaches, Curriculum, Assessment, Principal Supervision, Instructional Tech, Induction, etc.) in meaningful ways. DILT PDSA cycles link to support the district’s broader DUIP goals in an ongoing and responsive way. 

Special Education, Gifted Education, and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse learning: Each department has met with individual schools so that principals understand the goals and priorities for each department. Using the PDSA quarterly cycles, principals provide feedback on the progress made in each department. 

Social-Emotional/Mental health: Panorama BOY and EOY, along with site goals will be used to determine the level of success in this area, in addition to office referrals, suspension and absenteeism  and growth on individualized plan goals. The Capturing Kids Hearts structure has built walk-through tools and surveys that can be utilized to check progress on each school’s implementation goals. As discipline data and survey data comes in, adjustments are made to the implementation plans for belonging and Capturing Kids Hearts based on priority needs.  




Website by SchoolMessenger Presence. © 2022 Intrado Corporation. All rights reserved.