By Faye Gaston
The Bullock County School System was awarded Esser Funding II of $4,019,980 for the "Road to Recovery" from the learning loss as a result of the school closure and virtual/remote instruction by teachers caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The following are the highlights of the four categories of this supplemental funding:
(1) $1,039,000 for High Quality Instructional Materials for English Language Arts and Math. This would include the purchase of hardcopy and digital reading books and supplemental resources, annual teacher and leaders professional learning and support, compensate staff as substitutes for teachers in professional learning, vendor provided instructional support for teachers and staff (K-12th grade) to implement new math textbooks and resources, standards based instruction, lesson creation and high-impact instructional practices.
(2) $271,000 for High Quality Professional Development for teaching English Language Arts and Math. This would include online and face-to-face professional learning, off contract stipends for teachers and learning staff, state mileage rate reimbursement, purchase of interactive materials, and vendor provided instructional support to implement the new Math COS standards.
(3) $2,551,000 for Unfinished Learning Supports. This would include reading assessment, tests to determine skill deficits, identify risk and prevent school dropout, recover social emotional loss during the pandemic, implement summer and after-school programs, implement transition programs into the next grade, take field trips (grades 8-12) to two and four-year colleges to increase student motivation, and tutorial services for K-12th grade.
Remediation/Intervention programs would include a four-week camp to reverse learning loss, middle and high school for-credit summer learning, implement a virtual/remote school to support at-home learning (grades 9-12 ), summer credit recover programs, compensate school nursing staff, and additional staff for high school, provide instructional aide, employ an additional teacher to reduce class size in physical education, employ school crossing guard at middle school, maintain a school-to-family flow of information, purchase laptops to loan to parents for virtual meetings and training, purchase computers to ensure every student has access to a computer and purchase equipment in connection to computers.
Mental health needs of students are to be addressed with programs, strategies, and services, such as a classified staff (PreK-12), youth mental health First Aide training for school staff to recognize mental health problems, help for students to recover mentally from negative impacts of the pandemic and return to school peer and academic pressures, to provide preventions of suicide, (abuse, substance abuse, bullying, and harassment) and increase student social skills.
(4) $203,980 for Facility Renovations. Employ three custodians for school cleaning when students return full-time face-to-face to keep schools and classrooms clean and reduce the spread of COVID-19 and other germs, bacteria, and viruses. Restrict unauthorized access to school grounds and buildings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by unauthorized and/or non-health screened persons by adding secure fencing at high school and minimize disruption of face-to-face learning. Remove molded wall surfaces at Career Technical Center and place with new plaster on walls to improve air quality for learning environments.