Strategic funding helps meet students’ academic, social and emotional needs
The superintendents of the Capital Region BOCES area, who represent approximately 80,000 students in Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie counties have produced the following statement about prioritizing student needs and sustainability in spending plans.
Federal coronavirus relief aid and the 2021-22 increase in state Foundation Aid represent historic investments in education in our state. The 24 school districts that make up the Capital Region BOCES region are committed to using these funds in a strategic, targeted manner to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of our students in light of the global pandemic.
Capital Region educators are committed to using these funds in a planned and thoughtful manner to avoid an over-reliance on them that would cause fiscal challenges when they run out. In the Capital Region, our focus is on fiscal sustainability, transparency and meeting the needs of all students.
Addressing the impact of lost instructional time
To truly assess the impact of lost instructional time on children, schools in the Capital Region are using additional funding to conduct evidence-based assessments and intervention services. This is especially true in the case of reading and math, where targeted support and enrichment is being offered to students across the region. Professional development for staff is also being offered, particularly in the areas of technology integration and literacy.
Schools in the Capital Region are using additional funds to bring on additional teachers and staff to help provide this targeted support. In the interest of sustainability, many of these staff members are being hired under “Feinerman Agreements” or temporary placements, meaning there is an understanding that these positions may not be permanent.
Addressing inequity and expanding learning opportunities
To expand access to technology across the region, Capital Region schools are using this additional funding to purchase instructional technology equipment, including mobile devices, hot spots and audio equipment. Funding is also being used to help schools obtain project-based equipment to help all learners realize their true potential in a public school setting, as well as musical instruments and other equipment to help more students have access to experiences in the arts. In this way, the additional funding provides an unprecedented opportunity to enrich the school experience for so many.
In addition to technology and equipment, funding is being used to purchase much needed classroom materials and supplies, especially those that support math and literacy programs for all students. These one-time purchases will benefit students for years to come.
Expanding opportunities also means addressing the needs of low-income students, students with disabilities, English language learners and students experiencing homelessness. To address needs these students may have, funding is being used to expand early learning programs, high school credit recovery programs, summer school, tutoring and extended-learning programs.
Professional development is also being offered to better help school staff understand and support the needs of all students
Ways districts are using coronavirus relief aid to support students
Examples of how districts in the Capital Region are using coronavirus relief aid include:
- Before and after-school enrichment programs
- Additional math and literacy supports
- Instructional technology
- Music and science equipment
- Professional development for educators
- Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system upgrades
- Personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Additional staff to allow for greater physical distancing for students
- Mental health supports
- Pandemic-related transportation and meal costs