Education advocacy group encouraging community involvement as schools get ARP funding

Updated: Jun. 3, 2021 at 10:53 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - As Kentucky school districts look to regroup after a year of challenges from the pandemic, the Prichard Committee, an education advocacy group, is encouraging parents and communities to get involved as districts get funding from the American Rescue Plan.

More than $2 billion will be distributed among Kentucky’s school districts over the next three years to help with recovery after COVID-19.

“We know that there have been disruptions in learning and our education outcomes have likely been disrupted,” said Prichard Committee President & CEO Brigitte Blom Ramsey. “So now is the time for communities to come together with our school districts and begin the planning for education recovery.”

In order to make sure students’ needs don’t slip through the cracks, the Prichard Committee has launched a website with information and an interactive map that shows how much each district in Kentucky will be getting.

The U.S. Department of Education says funds may be used to address the many impacts of COVID-19 on pre-K through 12 education, including “implementing strategies to meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students hit hardest by the pandemic, including through evidence-based interventions and critical services like community schools.” Funding for “crucial summer, afterschool, and other extended learning and enrichment programs” was along among the options listed.

“The quickest thing a parent can do is call the school district and say, ‘how can I get involved,’” said Ramsey. “Or ‘I want you to understand the experience of my student and our family throughout COVID as you enter this planning period.’”

The group says one way to track where students may need more attention could be comparing previous test scores and levels prior to the pandemic, and where grades stand now.

“How were we doing in reading and mathematics?” suggested Ramsey. “How are different populations of students doing around key outcomes? Let’s use that information as a baseline to know where we need to target funding to improve outcomes long term.”

To view the campaign and interactive map, click here.

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