Parents, teachers, local governments, and state governments are all concerned about students who have had to adjust to school during what seems to be an unprecedented situation that has arose from the COVID-19 pandemic. In some states, students have the option of either in-person learning or distance learning, and in other distance learning remains the only option. And the results have not been entirely positive, with students struggling to maintain the same level of focus, and other stressors like lack of a good connection to the internet at home. In Arizona, the Governor, Doug Ducey has seen the achievement gap widening for several schools, and has announced a grant program aimed at trying to resolve that issue for the schools most impacted.
Governor Ducey and Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffman, have announced a $19 million grant program, which will be aimed at helping students and schools that have been most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 180 schools in Arizona will be eligible to apply for The Acceleration Academies Grant Program.
Here are some of the aspects of a school’s current situation that the grant will take into account:
- AZMerit scores,
- Percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-price meals
- Access to computers and the Internet
- Additional dollars prioritized for schools most impacted.
Many students throughout Arizona may lack access to a proper internet connection, laptop or desktop computers, or a designated place to be able to conduct school work. This could create a severe educational gap for those students, causing them to severely fall behind, with no end to the pandemic yet known. Grants like this could help get students the help they may need to be able to overcome challenges and thrive.
Here’s what Governor Ducey had to say about this grant award:
Throughout our state, school leaders, educators, and families have stepped up to overcome exceptionally challenging circumstances and deliver for our students, Ducey said. “These dollars will boost those efforts, funding proved acceleration strategies to keep kids academically on-track.”
Here’s what the funds will be able to be used for:
- Training teachers in best practices for math and literacy instruction
- Teacher stipends for additional student tutoring sessions
- Contracting with qualified math or reading specialists to do one-on-one or small group work with students
- Operating summer math or reading intensive programs for students in need.