Rescue plan

More staff top priority list for SCSD # 1 bailout funds

ROCK SPRINGS – Hiring more staff to avoid learning loss will be a top priority for Sweetwater County School District 1 when it receives its funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in the near future .

The public was recently invited to share suggestions and comments on how best to use the approximately $ 14 million that will be allocated to the district through ARPA. Federal guidelines require that at least 20% of these funds be used to address learning loss.

But director of studies Jodie Garner told the school board on Monday night that the district planned to allocate 58% of the funds to lost learning. At least part of this money will be used to increase staff size and get more help for teachers across the district.

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Gardner said his department focuses on reading and math intervention, English student learning, special education students, secondary education support, the needs of virtual schools, early intervention and the guarantee of high quality education.

Garner also said the district plans to hire 12 new responders to target the larger need population among students. The plan also calls for the hiring of eight new English-language teachers “who will provide and support student success so that students can progress and access content standards,” Gardner added.

We are also looking to hire four graduation coaches. These coaches will help support post-graduation goals and professional training, intervening and monitoring students’ academic progress and performance.

SCSD No. 1 Academic Director Jodie Garner

The virtual school will remain a priority for the district based on the level of student achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Garner said more than 100 students from across the district have now chosen to receive full-time virtual education.

The plan also calls for the hiring of a full-time translator and will allow schools to apply for “mini-grants” to provide building-specific interventions in the classroom.

Garner said many public comments focused on reading intervention and professional development opportunities for teachers.

She said the district found out last week that it would receive $ 900,000 from the Wyoming State Comprehensive Development Mini-Grant “which will kick off the response projects we were hoping to fund.”

The grant now makes the district eligible to receive the full state literacy grant, which could amount to around $ 2 million over three years. The district will then not have to use any of its ARPA funds to pay for these intervention projects.

To see the full presentation to the school board, see below.