LITTLE ROCK — The Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), Arkansas State University and its sponsored initiative, the Arkansas Out of School Network, have awarded $1.8 million in American Rescue Plan (ARP) ESSER III funds to 30 summer and extended-year learning programs across the state through the Summer Learning Supplemental Grant.
The second round of ESSER III federal relief funding was allocated to mitigate student learning loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to support social emotional development. Grants range between $35,000 and $75,000 for the award period of May 15 to Aug. 15, 2022. The summer awards will provide funding for high-quality summer learning activities, including literacy, STEM, academic support and skill building, social emotional learning, health and wellness, enrichment, and workforce development.
The Afterschool and Summer Program competition for the 2022-2023 term will close on July 15, 2022, and can be accessed at aosn.org.
“Even before the pandemic disrupted all aspects of student life, Arkansas struggled to meet the demand for afterschool and summer learning programs,” said Laveta Wills-Hale, network director of the Arkansas Out of School Network. “For every child in an afterschool program in Arkansas, three more are waiting to get in. The same is true for summer learning programs. In 2019, more than 26,000 additional children would have been enrolled in a program if one were available to them. We will continue working tirelessly to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic and to ensure all children have access to quality afterschool and summer learning programs. This funding is a critical resource to communities and programs across our state, and we are grateful to the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for its partnership.”
Awardees include school districts and community-based partnership programs such as public libraries, nonprofit organizations, career and technical programs, faith-based organizations, and institutions of higher learning. They will utilize grant awards to address the academic impact of lost instructional time on student learning through evidence-based summer programs.
“We are pleased to partner with the Arkansas Out of School Network again to provide additional federal funding to schools and non-profit organizations to enhance student learning this summer and after school this next school year,” Dr. Ivy Pfeffer, DESE deputy commissioner, said. “With the first round of funding, we have seen innovative programs offered that support learning for students at all age levels. Research shows that summer learning loss is a real issue for many students, particularly those from economically-disadvantaged households. Summer learning experiences that include academic enrichment, ongoing access to social-emotional supports, and access to experiences that connect students to hands-on opportunities provide enrichment and exposure that mitigate learning regression. The awardees for this next round of funding are well deserving, and we look forward to seeing their programs in action.”
The 30 grant awardees are as follows:
A Different Stroke of Art, North Little Rock
Applying Positive Touches / Down and Distance, Little Rock
Arkansas Delta Solutions, Monticello
Arkansas Employment Center, Little Rock
Arkansas River Education Service Cooperative, Pine Bluff
Arkansas School for the Deaf, Little Rock
Boys and Girls Club Arkansas River Valley, Russellville
Boys and Girls Club El Dorado
Boys and Girls Club McGehee
Carter’s Crew, North Little Rock
City Youth Ministries, Jonesboro
Cutter Morning Star School District, Hot Springs
Fordyce School District
Four State Urban Development / Literacy Council Bowie & Miller Counties, Texarkana
Girl Scouts Diamonds, Little Rock
Gravette School District
Greenland School District
Harrison Public Schools
Life Skills for Youth, Little Rock
Mammoth Spring School District
Melbourne School District
Moncrief Game Changer, Little Rock
Mountain View School District
Pleasant Grove Baptist Church / SACK, Bald Knob
Second Baptist Church, Little Rock
Sheridan Public School District
Southside School District, Batesville
TOPPS, Pine Bluff
William F. Laman Library, North Little Rock
The Arkansas Out of School Network, administered by Arkansas State University, is one of the 50 State Afterschool Networks (SANs) working to promote an expansion of school-based and school-linked afterschool and summer programs serving children and youth ages 5-19. AOSN’s mission to create safe, healthy and enriching experiences for Arkansas youth during out of school times.
For more information about the ESSER III grant funding program, contact the Arkansas Out of School Network at (501) 660-1012, or visit https://www.aosn.org.
Press Release – AState