Begin Main Content Area

Academic Impact of Lost Instructional Time

Describe how the SEA will use the funds it reserves under section 2001(f)(1) of the ARP Act (totaling not less than 5 percent of the State's total allocation of ARP ESSER funds) on evidence-based interventions to address the academic impact of lost instructional time by supporting the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs, and ensure that such interventions respond to students' academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. The description must include:

  1. A description of the evidence-based interventions (e.g., providing intensive or high- dosage tutoring, accelerating learning) the SEA has selected, and the extent to which the SEA will evaluate the impact of those interventions on an ongoing basis to understand if they are working;

    The 2021–22 enacted Pennsylvania state budget fully allocated the three required SEA reserves under section 2001(f)(1), 2001(f)(2), and 2001(f)(3) of the ARP Act as subgrants to school districts, charter schools, and cyber charter schools eligible to receive Title I-A funding. Grant funds received under section 2001 of the ARP Act will be used by the school districts, charter schools, and cyber charter schools to implement evidence-based interventions to address learning loss and provide summer enrichment and comprehensive after-school programs in response to the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of students, particularly subgroups of students disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, in accordance with section 2001 of the ARP Act.

    As it does with administration of school improvement plans and related grant programs, PDE plans to provide all LEAs with a list of evidence-based interventions through the PDE Evidence Resource Center (ERC)—a customized website designed by Pennsylvania educators and some of the nation's foremost education scholars. The ERC identifies strategies backed by research and allows educators to filter these strategies based on Federal evidence tiers, school type or grade level, specific student groups, and other factors. The LEAs receiving shares of the SEA reserve for learning loss, summer learning and enrichment, and after-school programs will be required to utilize subgrant funds to implement evidence-based interventions either chosen from the ERC or from another reputable source (e.g., What Works Clearinghouse).

    PDE will provide technical assistance to support implementation and will monitor LEA progress in implementation efforts on an ongoing basis. Through the state system of support with Pennsylvania's 29 IUs, guidance and technical support will be provided to LEAs toward the development of an Accelerated Learning Plan and identification and sharing of best practices. An example framework developed by PDE to support educators, schools, and LEAs is available on the Accelerated Learning website, which provides a summary of PDE's critical components for consideration when addressing student learning and social and emotional gaps.

    Based on PDE's review of data, community input, and research on evidence-based practices to address lost instructional time and close performance gaps, LEAs will be able to use their ARP ESSER funds under 2001(f)(1) in the following areas:

      • Social, emotional, and mental health supports: Funds targeted for social and emotional wellness will provide fiscal support for either the hiring or contracting of school mental health staff or the implementation of programs targeted at mitigating social, emotional, and mental health impacts of COVID-19. School mental health staff (including counselors, social workers, psychologists, and other mental health professionals) have the necessary skills to build capacity within the school environment to meet the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students to support academic growth and prepare students to be career-ready adults. Allowable program expenses will include evidence-based programs that address building equitable, trauma-informed schools, enhancing the social-emotional skills of students, increasing resiliency of staff and students, and establishing and maintaining positive school learning environments.
      • Professional development and technical assistance to educators, school support staff, school leaders and school health professionals to address the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students: Creating a safe and supportive environment for all students is the responsibility of all educators and school staff, and staff members need support in learning about and implementing trauma-informed approaches.
      • Reading support and improvement for students: To mitigate student skill deficits in reading, teachers need to be equipped to facilitate high-quality reading instruction grounded in the science of reading and intervention services. Funds targeted for reading support will assist LEAs in providing professional development for selected teachers in foundational skills and instructional interventions based on the science of reading and in selecting LEA personnel to serve as reading coaches to support teachers as they deliver high-quality reading instruction. Professional learning will be targeted for kindergarten, first, second, third, and fourth grade teachers and other personnel, including reading specialists, special education teachers, speech/language pathologists, and EL instructors.

PDE will evaluate the impact of each of these interventions, with IUs collecting data to inform the evaluation. Specifically, PDE will collect the following data to evaluate the impact on the above listed interventions:

      • Social, emotional, and mental health supports: Qualitative data, including stakeholder feedback, will assist school entities in determining next steps, measuring stakeholder buy-in, and determining the success of collaborative work. Changes to LEA policy/procedures will also be examined as a qualitative data source. Quantitative metrics will include those that indicate changes to the learning environment and development of positive, equitable school systems, including data on number of staff dedicated to social-emotional learning (SEL) and mental health, results of school climate surveys, hours of mental health services provided, and percent of students receiving each tier of support. Schoolwide data on direct measures of student mental health, such as students in need of supports and chronic absenteeism rates, will also be collected.
      • Professional development of staff on social-emotional and mental health of students: Staff feedback surveys in response to professional learning activities, as well as school climate surveys, will provide quantitative data, while qualitative data may be noted during teacher observations and other interactions where staff are observed implementing strategies they have learned.
      • Reading support and improvement for students: Qualitative data will include observations of impact of professional learning and technical assistance on teacher practice and student performance. Quantitative data may include number of schools participating and students enrolled in the program, results of academic assessments, and usage reports.
  1. How the evidence-based interventions will specifically address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on certain groups of students, including each of the student groups listed in question A.3.i.-viii. When possible, please indicate which data sources the SEA will use to determine the impact of lost instructional time; and

    As the LEAs select learning programs and/or other evidence-based interventions, PDE will provide guidance on best practices to LEAs to assist in the selection of students who have been most significantly impacted by COVID mitigation efforts. LEAs will also engage with local stakeholders (including parents/caregivers and students) to determine those students in greatest need of supplemental support and programs. In addition, LEAs will be required to report on what groups of students are to be served by their programs and interventions and rate the effectiveness of those initiatives in addressing student academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. Please see the response to A.4 for additional information on the data sources to be used to determine student need.

  2. The extent to which the SEA will use funds it reserves to identify and engage 1) students who have missed the most in-person instruction during the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years; and 2) students who did not consistently participate in remote instruction when offered during school building closures.

    Within the LEA-specific Accelerated Learning Plan, LEAs will be required to identify students who were most impacted during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 school years based on lack of in-person instruction and difficulty engaging in remote learning. As part of the targeted state programs supported under 2001(f)(1), LEAs will determine how to support these students to ensure they feel physically and emotionally safe to return to in-person instruction, address any social-emotional needs, and provide needed additional reading support through a variety of interventions, both in the classroom, and in afterschool and summer programs.