Supporting and Monitoring LEAs
Describe how the SEA will support and monitor its LEAs in using ARP ESSER funds. The description must include:
In the fourth section of the LEA ARP ESSER application, LEAs must describe efforts to build local capacity to ensure high-quality data collection and reporting to safeguard funds for their intended purposes. Specifically, LEAs must describe their data collection and analysis plan, including their plan to disaggregate data, for the following measures:
- Student learning, including the academic impact of lost instructional time during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Opportunity to learn measures (e.g., student engagement; access to technology, including educator access to professional development on the effective use of technology; and results from student, family, and/or educator surveys);
- Jobs created and retained (by number of full-time equivalents [FTEs] and position type); and
- Participation in programs funded by ARP ESSER resources (e.g., summer and afterschool programs).
PDE will utilize these responses to determine which LEAs need additional supports to meet reporting requirements of ARP ESSER.
How the SEA will support and monitor its LEAs' implementation of evidence-based interventions that respond to students' academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs, such as through summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive afterschool programs, or extended school year programs – including the extent to which the SEA will collect evidence of the effectiveness of interventions employed;
As outlined above, PDE supports implementation of evidence-based interventions through its ERC and its Statewide System of District and School Improvement which partners with any LEA in which one or more schools is designated for Federal accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Further, Appendix 1 of PDE's ARP ESSER Guidebook includes additional sources for evidence-based reviews, including the What Works Clearinghouse, Evidence for ESSA, and other health- and safety-focused review resources.
PDE will monitor the implementation of evidence-based interventions through risk and cyclical-based program monitoring as described in Section G.2. PDE will evaluate the impact of each intervention, and LEAs will need to indicate which of the four evidence- based tiers their selected intervention meets, as well as provide evidence of implementing the intervention effectively.
PDE will coordinate efforts with LEAs and their respective Student Information System (SIS) vendors to ensure the necessary collection of data and to allow seamless reporting. PDE will work with SIS and other LEA system vendors to ensure they understand reporting requirements necessary to upgrade systems to meet LEA needs. ARP ESSER monitoring and reporting topics will be incorporated into monthly Data Quality Network (DQN) meetings, and sessions will be included in the 2022 through 2024 Annual PDE Data Summit (as well as other opportunities to assist LEAs in meeting all ARP ESSER requirements).
PDE will collect an array of administrative, program evaluation data, and regional reports via IUs to understand the impact of interventions. Data may include:
- Stakeholder feedback, including satisfaction surveys of students, families, and staff;
- District data including changes to LEA policy/procedures and number of schools participating in each intervention;
- School data including results of school climate surveys and changes to the learning environment;
- Staffing data including number of staff dedicated to SEL and mental health, teacher vacancies, educator diversity, and observations of teacher practice;
- Program implementation data, such as program operations (i.e., days, weeks, hours of operation/services provided); activities offered; events held; trainings and professional learning opportunities for staff; guidance issued; curriculum used and content areas addressed; service delivery descriptions; provision of or access to technology and other resources; and usage reports;
- Student data related to number of students served, program attendance; demographics; need; completion of activities; outcomes such as needs-service alignment; school attendance (attendance rate and/or chronic absenteeism); credit recovery; and percent of students receiving each tier of support; and
- Effectiveness data including effectiveness of interventions in addressing student academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs; observations of student performance; and results of academic assessments.
How the SEA will support and monitor its LEAs in specifically addressing the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on certain groups of students, including each of the student groups listed in question A.3.i.-viii; and
Data Analytics: To assist LEAs in gaining early and important insights into the impact of COVID-19 on student learning, PDE is partnering with its vendor, Standards Aligned System – Education Value-Added Assessment System, to implement a system through which LEAs can voluntarily submit local assessment data and receive analytics similar to traditional Pennsylvania growth reports normed to Pennsylvania performance levels. Once LEA data are submitted, PDE and local IUs will provide data tools and comprehensive support to assist LEAs in:
Future Ready Comprehensive Planning and School Improvement: Title 22,
Chapter 4 of the Pennsylvania Code specifies planning requirements for LEAs. As a component of each LEA's Comprehensive Plan, LEAs are to conduct a thorough needs assessment on student achievement, growth, and student programs. The state's
FRCPP provides a consistent planning framework and collection tool for all LEAs. This platform is grounded in an outcomes-based approach focused on student achievement and encourages schools and districts to more effectively plan and lead school improvement practices. The core concepts are based on a simplified logic model, one that any LEA or school can effectively use for developing cohesive long-term goals and action plans, monitoring yearly progress, and providing transparency in communication with school personnel, state officials, parents and caregivers, and community members. Schools designated for support for accountability purposes under ESSA also are provided technical assistance and guidance as they develop their school improvement plans in the FRCPP.
State System of Support with Pennsylvania IUs: PDE will contract with the 29 IUs to provide professional learning, technical assistance, and supports to school leaders in their assigned region to develop a detailed plan for instructional delivery that is grounded in evidence and informed by a comprehensive assessment of local needs, resources, and current health data; support LEAs in implementing effective progress monitoring routines; convene LEAs as a networked learning community quarterly to share promising practices and collectively problem-solve problems of practice; and assist in collecting anecdotal data from LEAs for periodic reports to PDE.
Local Education Agency Guidebook includes specific guidance on centering equity in LEA plans to address learning loss and explains the state's rationale for focusing such efforts on acceleration rather than remediation. Increasing opportunity and access to programs that address learning loss and providing accelerated learning in an equitable way will enable schools to meet the needs of students disproportionally impacted by the pandemic.
Monitoring: PDE will monitor the implementation of evidence-based interventions through risk and cyclical based program monitoring as described in Section G.2.
How the SEA will support and monitor its LEAs in using ARP ESSER funds to identify, reengage, and support students most likely to have experienced the impact of lost instructional time on student learning, such as:
Students who have missed the most in-person instruction during the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years;
Students who did not consistently participate in remote instruction when offered during school building closures; and
Students most at-risk of dropping out of school.
In applying for ARP ESSER funds, LEAs are required to outline specific plans for serving student groups that have experienced disproportionate impacts from the pandemic. LEA responses, alongside information collected through the state's administrative data system, will inform the agency's efforts to deploy targeted supports through IUs, Pennsylvania's Statewide System of District and School Improvement, and technical assistance partners. In addition, early evidence suggests that social and emotional factors are a key area of risk for students who missed substantial amounts of instruction over the past two school years, students who did not consistently participate in remote instruction during statewide and local school closures, and students at risk of dropping out of school. Accordingly, Pennsylvania is investing a substantial portion of its state reservation to expanding social-emotional learning supports and resources in schools.
To ensure LEAs implement interventions focused on the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students, particularly students disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, LEAs must use their respective shares of the five percent SEA reserve for learning loss as follows: at least 30 percent to address social, emotional, and mental health needs of students; at least 10 percent to provide 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; and at least eight percent to address remediation and improvement in reading for students.
Allowable 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. In addition to program development and implementation, funding may also be used to hire additional personnel and provide professional development and technical assistance to existing staff to address the social, emotional, and mental health needs of students. Reserve funds targeted for reading support will assist LEAs in providing professional development for selected teachers in foundational skills and instructional interventions and selecting district personnel to serve as reading coaches to support teachers in delivering high-quality reading instruction. These resources will be prioritized at the pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, first, second, third, and fourth grade levels as well as reading specialists, special education teachers, speech/language pathologists, and EL instructors.
These plans build on lessons learned from the 2020-21 school year, when PDE regularly provided technical assistance and guidance for LEAs in reflecting on their successes and challenges in providing instruction while managing the COVID-19 pandemic through the
Roadmap for Educational Leaders. Components and resources of this roadmap include establishing a comprehensive stakeholder group to establish thorough plans based on current needs and conditions, including instructional delivery models, social and emotional wellness, effective instruction, connectivity and communication, and professional development.
In preparation for the 2021-22 school year, PDE has created a new toolkit of resources and professional development series,
Accelerated Learning through an Integrated System of Supports, that provides a systematic process and technical support for school communities to make key decisions for the start of the new academic year. The toolkit follows a Cycle of Continuous Improvement mindset that will lead to strategic vision, needs assessment, planning, implementation, monitoring, and adjusting, with each element integrated systemically. Key components within the associated Accelerated Learning framework include operational and system conditions, social and emotional wellness, academics, and scaffolded supports. Additionally, this toolkit includes an updated collection of lessons learned, research, critical resources, and simplified planning templates with probing questions to guide LEA decision-making.
PDE will monitor the implementation of LEA plans, and especially those that address student groups that have experienced disproportionate impacts from the pandemic through risk and cyclical-based program monitoring. LEAs will provide samples of program implementation that successfully prioritize supports for designated student groups.
Describe the extent to which the SEA will support its LEAs in implementing additional strategies for taking educational equity into account in expending ARP ESSER funds, including but not limited to:
Allocating funding both to schools and for districtwide activities based on student need, and
In addition to the LEA portion of ARP ESSER funding that is distributed according to Title I-A allocations, Pennsylvania's enacted fiscal year 2021-22 budget allocates the three required SEA reserves to LEAs using an array of equity-focused formulae that account for student poverty, depth of poverty, and historically underserved student groups. Further, through every round of ESSER funding, and with particular emphasis in implementing ARP ESSER, PDE issued guidance urging LEAs to prioritize services and supports for historically underserved populations and populations disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in developing, implementing, and evaluating local plans.
Longer term, PDE is conducting Understanding Pennsylvania's Educational Inequities inthe Time of COVID-19, an Institute of Education Sciences-supported study designed to develop a statewide picture of how districts and charter schools responded to the COVID- 19 pandemic during the 2020-21 school year. The findings from this research will help policymakers and educators in Pennsylvania understand the challenges faced by students most harmed by COVID-19, identify ways to respond to possible future epidemics, assess whether some remote-learning strategies are more effective than others, consider recruitment and retention strategies for teachers who may be most effective for disadvantaged students, and better identify students at risk of dropping out. Information from this study as well as stakeholder engagement at the SEA and LEA levels is expected to inform LEA allocations of funding across schools and at the district level.
Implementing an equitable and inclusive return to in-person instruction. An inclusive return to in-person instruction includes, but is not limited to, establishing policies and practices that avoid the over-use of exclusionary discipline measures (including in- and out-of-school suspensions) and creating a positive and supportive learning environment for all students.
The PDE LEA application includes several questions in which LEAs describe how they intend to implement an equitable and inclusive return to in-person instruction.
For both (a) the 20 percent reservation to address the impact of lost instructional time and (b) remaining funds, LEAs must describe their principles for emphasizing educational equity in expending ARP ESSER funds, including but not limited to:
In addition, the LEA application requires all LEAs to provide the following information:
Access to Instruction: How the LEA will use ARP ESSER funds to support the goals of increasing opportunity to learn and equity in instructional delivery. LEAs are asked to consider regular attendance/chronic absenteeism data and disciplinary removals from the 2020-21 school year, including data disaggregated by student groups, in developing their response.