• American Rescue Plan Act  

    Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund (ESSER)  

    LEA ESSER Plan Template  

    Background on ESSER 

    The American Rescue Plan Act (ARP) signed into law on March 11, 2021 provided nearly $122  billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Relief Fund (ESSER). ARP ESSER funds are  provided to State educational agencies in the same proportion as each State received under Title  I-A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in fiscal year (FY) 2020. An SEA must allocate at least 90 percent of its ARP ESSER grant funds to its local educational agencies 

    (LEAs) in the same proportion that the LEAs received under Title I-A of ESEA in FY 2020. LEAs must reserve at least 20 percent of their total ARP ESSER allocation to address the academic impact of lost instructional time on all students, through the implementation of evidence-based interventions. 

    The U.S. Department of Education (ED) published Interim Final Requirements (IFR) on April  22, 2021 requiring LEAs receiving ARP ESSER funds to submit an LEA ARP ESSER Plan and an LEA Plan for the Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services. If an LEA  had already developed a plan for safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of services  prior to the enactment of ARP that meets the statutory requirements of section 2001(i) but did  not address all of the requirements in the IFR, the LEA must revise and post its plan no later than  six months after receiving its ARP ESSER funds. This applies even if an LEA has been  operating full-time in-person instruction but does not apply to fully virtual schools and LEAs. 

    The IFR and ARP statute, along with other helpful resources, are located here: 

     

    Purpose of the Template 

    The IFR issued by ED outlines several requirements for all Districts to ensure that funds under  ARP (ESSER III), specifically, are spent in a manner consistent with the new statutory set-aside  and that key stakeholders have been consulted in this process. The ARP also requires that LEAs  have in place a plan for ensuring safety during in-person instruction (either in-progress or  planned) as well as ensuring continuity of services should the LEA or one or more of its schools  be required to close temporarily for COVID-19-related public health reasons in the future.  

    This template has been created to assist LEAs in the creation of these plans and to ensure all  required elements are met. The following requirements and assurances pertain to both the  statutory requirements and the IFR published by ED. Plans are required for all districts,  regardless of operating status, unless a district is fully virtual with no physical location. 

    The Texas Education Agency (TEA) may create a single plan that includes all the required  elements or may add in additional requirements, as it deems appropriate. Districts may provide  any additional information they believe are helpful in assessing their plan. LEAs are required to  make these plans publicly available on the LEA’s website. 

    According to TEA’s guidance, local boards are not required to approve these plans; however, the  local board is required to discuss the uses of funds. The District plan includes all schools, including  campus charter schools without separate boards. Any in-district charter schools that have their  own boards will need to develop their own separate plans and those plans must meet the requirements for stakeholder input and will be posted on the website.  



    LEA ESSER Use of Funds Plan Guide  

    The Palmer ISD  will ensure that its ARP Funds meet all the required elements and are  spent in an allowable manner.  

    1. ARP ESSER funds will be used to implement prevention and mitigation strategies that are, to the greatest extent practicable, consistent with the most recent CDC guidance on reopening schools, in order to continuously and safely open and operate schools for in person learning. 

    Palmer ISD plans to use our ESSER III funds to pay teacher salaries to keep them on staff for the next year. We will use our ESSER II funds to pay retention stipends for the next two years to help encourage and retain our teachers to remain in Palmer. This will allow us to do a better job of mitigating the issues related to COVID-19 by having smaller classes to prevent overcrowding.

    We will continue to use hand sanitizing stations and electrostatic sprayers to help mitigate and prevent COVID 19.

    1. The District will address the academic impact of lost instructional time through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive after school programs, or extended school year. 

    We are adding a Reading Interventionist to the elementary campus. The interventionist will be compensated for the next three years from ESSER III funds. 3. The District will spend its remaining ARP ESSER funds consistent with section 2001(e)(2) of the ARP Act. 

    Palmer ISD will utilize ESSER funds to support the academic needs of students,as well as the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students. ARP ESSERfunds will be utilized to hire the following position for the next two years to provide additional mental health and social-emotional support: a mentor at the high school to serve as the point of contact for an identified group of at-risk students focused on parent engagement, attendance, and academic support.

    1. The District will ensure that any implemented interventions, including those implemented under ARP section 2002(e)(1) 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 in foster care, and, migratory students by using the following programs:

     

    Capturing Kids Hearts is a research-based process that works to

    improve the five key indicators of school performance: fewer

    discipline referrals, improved attendance, higher student

    achievement, lower dropout rates, and higher teacher satisfaction.

     

    Sandy Hook Promise trains students and adults to know the signs of

    gun violence so that no parent experiences the tragic, preventable

    loss of their child, as well as working with the SAVE Club organization

    to provide a self-mental health component for each student to better

    understand their own mental health.

     

    CharacterStrong is a character education & social-emotional

    learning (SEL) curriculum whose goals are to help students and staff

    grow in self-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision

    making, as well as developing a students character in terms of

    selflessness, kindness, honesty and other important character assets.

     

    1. The District made its plan available to the public and provided an opportunity for feedback that was collected and incorporated into the plan. 

     

    The District published its draft plan on the district website, www.palmer-isd.org on

    July 19, 2021. As part of a regularly scheduled board meeting on June 21, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. the ESSER III plan was discussed. Feedback from the Board of Trustees and public were included in the plan.

     

    1. The District engaged in timely and meaningful consultation with students, families, school and district administrators (including special education administrators), teachers, principals, school leaders, other educators, school staff and their unions, tribes, civil rights organizations (including disability rights organizations); and stakeholders representing the interests of children with disabilities, English learners, children experiencing homelessness, children in foster care, migratory students, children who are incarcerated, and other underserved students. 

    The district took the following action steps to engage in timely and meaningful consultation on the plan: the district surveyed all stakeholders including teachers, staff, parents, and community members representing interests of children with disabilities, English learners; the district’s team developed strategies to meet the learning needs of students, including traditionally underserved students; the district reviewed all survey feedback and included feedback in the development of the plan; the district established a diverse ESSER Task Force with representatives focused on underserved populations listed above to review the draft plans of the district for use of ESSER funds and to serve as an advisory board meeting semi-annually to monitor and adjust the plans over the next three years.

    In addition, the Palmer ISD provides the following assurances: 

    The District engaged in meaningful consultation with the following groups: 

    1. Students, families, school and district administrators (including special education administrators), teachers, principals, school leaders, other educators, school staff, and their unions. 

    The District has created its plan in an understandable and uniform format. 

    The District’s plan is, to the extent practicable, written in a language that parents can understand, or if not practicable, orally translated. 

    The District will, upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability, provide the plan in an alternative format accessible to that parent. 

    The District provided the public an opportunity to provide input on its plan and took such input into account. 

     The District has made its plan publicly available on its website. 





    LEA Plan for Safe Return to In-Person Instruction and Continuity of Services 

    The Palmer ISD has amended its plan for ensuring safe in-person  instruction and continuity of services.  

    1. The District has a plan that is already compliant and will review it every six months.

    Palmer ISD has a compliant plan for safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of service posted in English at Palmer ISD Back to School Plan 2021-2022 and in Spanish at Plan de regreso a clases de Palmer ISD 2021-2022 . The updated guidance titled Back to School 2021-2022 includes guidance for the 2021-22 school year. The District will review and revise guidance periodically, at least every six months. 

    1. The LEA will maintain the health and safety of students, educators, and other school    and LEA staff, and the extent to which it has adopted policies, and a description of any such policies, on each of the CDC’s safety recommendations, including: universal and correct wearing of masks; modifying facilities to allow for physical distancing; handwashing and respiratory etiquette; cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities, including improving ventilation; contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine, in collaboration with the State, local, territorial, or Tribal health departments; diagnostic and screening testing; efforts to provide vaccinations to school communities; appropriate accommodations for children with disabilities with respect to health and safety policies; and coordination with State and local health officials. 

     

    Palmer ISD has a compliant plan for safe return to in-person instruction and continuity of service posted in English and Spanish at https://www.palmer-isd.org/, titled Back to School 2021-2022. The updated guidance titled Back to School 2021-2022. includes updated guidance for the 2021-22 school year. The guidance includes the district’s procedures and protocols for wearing masks, physical distancing, handwashing and respiratory etiquette, and cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities.  The District will review and revise guidance periodically, at least every six months.

     

    1. The LEA will ensure continuity of services, including but not limited to services to address students’ academic needs and students’ and staff social, emotional, mental health and other needs, which may include student health and food services. 

    The District discussed the continuity of services in the PISD Back to School 2021-22 plan. The District will utilize distributed technology and learning platforms to ensure continuity of learning in the case of quarantine and/or future school closures.  In the event of future school closure, the District will utilize the Back to School 2021-2022 plan with regard to providing services for students with disabilities and English learners.  Meal service, in the event of future closure, will continue with curbside meal pick up, which was employed in the 2019-2020 and 2020-21 school years. The Back to School 2021-2022 plan can be accessed in English at Palmer ISD Back to School Plan 2021-2022 and in Spanish at Plan de regreso a clases de Palmer ISD 2021-2022 .



    1. The District sought public comments in the development of its plan and took those comments into account in the development of its plan. 

     

     The District included surveys of parents, students, community, and staff in the     development of the continuity of learning plans. The District had multiple public meetings regarding the 2020-21 Return to Learn Guidance. The 2021-22 guidance will be reviewed in a public meeting and followed by a public hearing at the June 21, 2021 regular school board meeting.  

     

           In addition, the Palmer ISD provides the following assurances:  

    The District made its plan publicly available no later than 30 days after receiving its ARP ESSER allocation. 

     

    The District sought public comment in the development of its plan and took those public comments into account in the development of its plan. 

               The District will periodically review and revise its plan, at least every six months. 

    The District will seek public comment in determining whether to revise its plan and, if it determines revisions are necessary, on the revisions it makes to the plan. 

    If the District revises its plan, it will ensure its revised plan addresses each of the aspects of safety currently recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), or if the CDC has revised its guidance, the updated safety recommendations at the time the LEA is revising its plan. 

    The District has created its plan in an understandable and uniform format. 

    The District’s plan is, to the extent practicable, written in a language that parents can understand, or if not practicable, orally translated. 

    The District will, upon request by a parent who is an individual with a disability, provide the plan in an alternative format accessible to that parent.