Federal funding providing essential tutoring support for students
Providing additional academic support to students recovering from the pandemic has become a key use of federal school bailout funds in local Michigan districts. Many school leaders are devoting these resources to tutoring for students who have struggled to adjust to learning from home and are now trying to catch up.
More than 200 school districts statewide signaled their intention to use federal COVID relief funding for tutoring in grant proposals submitted to the Michigan Department of Education last December. Now, many neighborhood schools are beginning to deliver on that promise.
Anchor Bay Public Schools used federal funds to add academic coaches, literacy tutors, and a dedicated literacy coach to each of their seven elementary schools. These specialists work together to provide large-scale before, during and after school support to at-risk students and those who are falling behind their peers academically.
“Having more hands on deck is great,” said Anchor Bay EA President Jamie Pietron. “We have a lot of catching up to do in relation to the pandemic, so immediate intervention with children is essential. I’m glad Anchor Bay put those wheels in motion, and it certainly helped our teachers in the classroom.
Various forms of academic support have been explored by local schools, with expanded summer learning options being a common and effective choice. For example, Plymouth-Canton is currently training 130 additional staff to expand its summer tutoring program and continue it until next school year.
“Expanding support and learning opportunities for students is exactly what we wanted these funds to do when my colleagues and I voted to provide them to local schools last year,” the representative said. ‘State Matt Koleszar (D-Plymouth), who is a former teacher. and MEA Local Chairman at Airport Community Schools. “The continued increase in state funding in the years to come will be crucial to maintaining these vital programs.”
While these successes are worth celebrating, many other Michigan districts do not include tutoring in their submitted grant proposals. A January poll showed that Michigan residents want schools in their neighborhood to prioritize school bailout funds to expand tutoring programs, with 82% of respondents saying investing in tutoring is important – a higher rate than any other potential expense category.
District grant proposals submitted last December were loose outlines of potential spending and far from set in stone, so there’s always room for school districts to update plans and use funds. available to create and expand tutoring programs.
Additional academic support through tutoring not only helps students but also creates a better working environment for staff by reducing workload.
“Every time we’ve added support in the classroom, it changes the way we do our job,” said Ottawa West EA President Theresann Pyrett. “More hands to lift our students is a lighter load.”
Pyrett recently brought that message to Washington DC when she met with US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and senior White House officials last month to discuss the effectiveness of funding public schools through the plan. American rescue.
On average, Michigan school districts received $4,100 per student in federal aid. However, the exact figure varies widely from district to district, as funds have been allocated according to a weighted formula, with the most needy areas receiving additional support.
Statewide, only 13.7% of federal bailout funds have been spent so far, providing ample opportunity for other school districts to develop plans that take into account the historically high needs of school districts. educators and students with successes achieved in other communities.