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June 8, 2021
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department Submits New York’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Plan to U.S. Department of Education

The State Education Department today submitted New York’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund plan, State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced. The ARP ESSER State Plan was developed with public and stakeholder input, and details NYSED’s intentions for the use of federal ARP ESSER funds, as required by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE).

“Incorporating diverse perspectives is paramount to implementing a plan that advances equity and inclusion, and best meets the needs of our students, families and educators,” said Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. “I am pleased that the voices of those who have been on the front lines of the pandemic are included in our State Plan as we prepare for the start of the 2021-22 school year.”

“As we look ahead to the start of school in September, the ARP ESSER funds will help us address gaps that were exacerbated by the pandemic, focusing on the students that were most impacted,” said Commissioner Rosa. “The feedback we received was incredibly valuable as we developed our plan and I thank all who submitted comments.”

The nearly $9 billion in federal funding is being made available to New York State to support schools in safely reopening and sustaining safe operations while meeting the academic, social, emotional and mental health needs of students resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, these funds will help to address long-standing inequities in communities and schools that were exacerbated by the pandemic to ensure the students most severely affected by the pandemic are provided with the resources and support they need as they recover from its impacts.

Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholders were asked to visit the ThoughtExchange platform to provide their thoughts on the following question:

As we prepare for the next school year in New York State, what are the most important academic, social emotional, and/or mental health supports for schools to provide to serve all students (i.e., general education students, students with disabilities, English language learners, and other students most impacted by the pandemic)?

Stakeholders and members of the public were highly engaged with nearly 5,000 participants sharing 6,844 comments. Of the respondents, 37% were parents/guardians of a current student, 37% were faculty, staff or an educator, 6% were district level administrators, 3% were building-level administrators, and 14% identified as “other.”

Comments regarding supports for students, smaller class sizes, additional supports for teachers and the need for student enrichment opportunities were the most frequent comments on ThoughtExchange. Participants’ comments are captured in an interactive online summary and have been integrated in NYSED’s final ARP ESSER plan. 

Additional information on ARP ESSER, the plan and public engagement may be found on the NYSED website.