Many of you have heard about the pandemic relief funds that most school districts are eligible for called “ESSERS III.” This money will come to school districts through the federal grant process, and although at this writing the grant application itself is not available, we are hoping that we will have an opportunity to access these funds. The process of grant writing can be a challenging one, since there are usually very clear directives on how that grant money is spent. This money, naturally, is to help schools to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The areas that are clear that we can address with these funds are addressing any loss of learning or providing technology and curriculum that may be used in the future if this may force temporary school shutdowns, or long-term illness that may keep individual students away from the normal school setting. We have plans to continually update the technology needed at home and in the classroom, and updating the way material is presented in a way that appeals to students today.
At Southwest Public Schools we always want to keep our classes at a very manageable size. Next year we will be splitting two grades at the elementary to keep class sizes small. When you add sections of classes you also have teachers in those classes, so positions change and we will be adding a teacher to cover art and do interventions for those students who need assistance. This will be in addition to those teachers that already do interventions with students. Providing extra assistance at summer school will also be a part of our normal procedures, with extra staff available for as many children that need it. At the upper grade levels, credit recovery will be provided for all students that need it. We will employ two full-time counselors as well as a part-time school nurse for increased mental and physical health concerns.
Knocking down viruses that make students and employees ill will be a large part of our efforts, as well. We have seen a significant drop in influenza cases, presumably from the efforts taken to control Covid-19. We intend to look into better air filtration systems for classrooms and buildings, which will include better filters for our current HVAC systems. The hydrostatic foggers that we have used in our buildings and buses have contributed to the air quality for our students and staff. In addition, we will continue to encourage the use of frequent hand washing, using hand sanitizer, and thoroughly sanitizing all of our high contact surfaces daily. We will monitor the CDC and local health department to continually update our methods and abide by the NSAA guidelines for participation and spectators for activities.
If you have any further ideas on how we can use any ESSERS grant money in the future, please contact myself or principals Tara Fries or Matt Springer. We would be happy to get your input. These guidelines are somewhat strict, so new field turf on the football field is not an option (!), but if you have an idea about the use of these grant funds, let us know.
R. Todd Porter
SOS!! We really need some Jr. High Football and Jr High Girls Basketball Photos! If you can help us out, please submit your pictures ASAP!
SUBMIT your pictures here. The yearbook staff is always looking for more pictures. We can't always be at every event, so we count on you to help us out! Please click and upload your best pictures here!! The access code is: Southwest