• River Grove School District 85.5 - ESSER III 2021-2022 Safe Schooling and Use of Funds Plan 

    This document is to serve as the River Grove School District 85.5 plan for the safe reopening of school in the 2021-2022 school year. Likewise, the purpose is to outline how funds from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief will be used by the district. This plan focuses on four areas to ensure the safety of our students and staff as well as addresses learning loss that may have occurred during the COVID-19 global pandemic. The four areas of focus are Academic Supports, Social/Emotional Programs, Health/Safety Resources, and Capital Improvements.

    Academic Supports: Research is clear, there is no substitute for a high-quality, in-person teaching experience to ensure student academic success. The global pandemic forced schools to provide instruction in a variety of ways (e.g. remote, hybrid, asynchronous, etc.). As we return to full-time in-person instruction we will: 

    • Use academic testing and baseline assessments to identify learning gaps 
    • Use research-based curricular programs and educational technology
    • Implement in school reading and math interventions
    • Provide after school tutoring support, including transportation
    • Provide Curricular leadership and a Learning Support Team including a Coordinator for Teaching and Learning, Reading Specialist, Math Specialist and paraprofessionals
    • Provide summer learning activities and services
    • Address the needs of children from low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth 

    Notes: Our plan recognizes that no less than 20% of all ESSER III funds must be used to address learning loss. The cost of interventions listed above comprise more than 20% of the funds granted. Likewise, we believe these supports are sustainable beyond the issuance of these funds and will continue to support students for years to come. 

    Social/Emotional Supports: We recognize that living through a global pandemic has taken an emotional toll on our students. It is clear that schools will play a vital role in helping students process their lived experiences and deal with any trauma the pandemic may have caused. As we return to full-time in-person instruction we will: 

    • Implement research-based SEL programs
    • Provide social work support to students who experienced trauma
    • Offer and promote extracurricular opportunities to students
    • Provide professional development for teachers in the areas of social/emotional learning and trauma- informed strategies
    • Provide parent learning opportunities to allow parents to support their children at home 

    Health and Safety Resources: Health and safety of our students and staff is always our top priority. The COVID-19 Global Pandemic has taught us important lessons on how to ensure the safety of our students and staff. These include, but are not limited to cleaning protocols, hand sanitizing, physical distancing, and virus suppression. While the vaccine provides some sense of protection, we will continue to require additional safety measures for the 2021-2022 school year. As we return to full-time in-person instruction we will: 

    • Implement mask wearing protocols when required or necessary
    • Provide training and professional development on sanitizing and virus transmission
    • Purchase supplies to sanitize and clean facilities
    • Plan for long-term closures, including providing meals to eligible students/families
    • Implement on-site diagnostic testing
    • Increase/improve air quality and turn over
    • Provide flexible furniture to allow for safe distancing for students and staff

    Notes: Schools play a major role in keeping communities safe. To that end, we will continue to follow both best practices and science when it comes to the health and safety of our students and staff. 

    Capital Improvements: The ESSER III funds provide districts with the opportunity to address structural issues that may need to be addressed within their schools. These capital improvements may help bridge the digital divide, improve the learning environment or make schools safer for students and staff. As we return to full-time in-person instruction we will: 

    • Improve air quality
    • Repair/improve school facilities to reduce risk of virus transmission
    • Purchase in-class technology and devices to enhance instruction
    • Provide lifts to allow for wheelchair bound students to access all areas of the curriculum

    Notes: We have learned a great deal from the global pandemic. The focus of our improvements will be on ways we can provide a safer environment and improve the tools in our teachers’ hands. 

    If you would like to submit comments regarding the plan, please click this link.