More Staff Tops Priority List for SCSD No. 1 Rescue Plan Funds

More Staff Tops Priority List for SCSD No. 1 Rescue Plan Funds

ROCK SPRINGS — Hiring more staff to avoid learning loss will be a top priority for Sweetwater County School District No. 1 when it receives its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds in the near future.

The public was recently invited to share suggestions and comments about the best way to use about $14 million that will be allocated to the District through ARPA. Federal guidelines require that at least 20% of those funds must be used to address learning loss.

But Chief Academic Officer Jodie Garner told the school board Monday night that the district is planning to allocate 58% of the funds to learning loss. At least a portion of that will be used to increase staff size and get more help for teachers across the district.

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Gardner said her department is focusing on reading and math intervention, English student learning, special education students, secondary education support, virtual school needs, early intervention, and guaranteeing high-quality instruction.

Garner also said the District plans to hire 12 new interventionists to target the largest population of needs among students. The plan also calls for hiring eight new English learning teachers “who will provide and support student achievement so that students can make progress and access content standards,” Gardner added.

We also want to hire four graduation coaches. These coaches will help support post-graduation goals and job skills training, intervening and tracking students progress and academic achievement.

SCSD No. 1 Chief Academic Officer Jodie Garner

Virtual school will remain a priority for the district based on the level of student achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Garner said more than 100 students district-wide have now chosen to receive full-time virtual instruction.

The plan also calls for hiring a full-time translator and will allow schools to apply for “mini-grants” to provide classroom, building-specific interventions.

Garner said many of the public comments focused on reading intervention and professional development opportunities for teachers.

She said the district found out last week that it will be receiving $900,000 from the Wyoming Comprehensive State Development mini-grant “which will kick off the intervention projects that we were hoping to fund.”

The grant award now makes the District eligible to receive the state’s full literacy grant which could equate to about $2 million over three years. The district will then not have to use any of its ARPA funds to pay for these intervention projects.

To view the entire presentation to the school board, see below.