Supporting Schools and Libraries with Pandemic Relief Funding
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and libraries have served students and their families by providing access to a variety of resources and support–academic, and non-academic.
Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on students, teachers, librarians and other essential staff, the federal government is providing relief through several funding packages. Schools and libraries can use these funds to recover from the impact of the pandemic and move forward.
In addition to describing the impact of the pandemic on student learning and growth, Capstone’s relief funding guide provides an overview and guidance for leveraging available funds. We also created a Funding Use Matrix to demonstrate how funds can be applied toward PebbleGo, PebbleGo Next, Capstone Connect and other related solutions.
Continue reading for highlights.
How did the pandemic impact student literacy development?
Pandemic-related disruptions impacted teachers and students alike. Student growth in core subject areas, such as reading, was greatly influenced by their ability to connect and learn virtually.
Some learners were more vulnerable than others, however. The groups most impacted by the pandemic include:
- Young students
- English learners (ELs)
- Students with disabilities
- Black, Latinx and Indigenous students
- Students from low-income families
- Students experiencing homelessness
It's important to recognize that the pandemic didn’t create many of the challenges that impacted student growth–but it did exacerbate existing gaps.
“COVID-19’s impacts have fallen unevenly and preliminary data indicate that they appear to be deepening disparities in educational opportunity and achievement, many of them generations in the making. With the pandemic’s spotlight on these longstanding challenges, we have a rare moment as a country to take stock and to begin the hard work of building our schools back better and stronger—with the resolve necessary to ensure that our nation’s schools are defined not by disparities but by equity and opportunity for all students.” (U.S. Department of Education, The Disparate Impacts of COVID-19 on America’s Students)
For maximum impact, districts can put relief funds toward evidence-based solutions that support student literacy growth and other important initiatives.
How can relief funding help address the pandemic’s impact on students and teachers?
Pandemic relief funds are meant to help schools, libraries and other institutions recover and move forward.
Thus far, guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education has been purposely broad, ensuring funds can be used for a variety of necessary activities. Here are some examples:
- Providing principals and other school leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their individual schools.
- Addressing the academic impact of lost instructional time through investments such as high-quality student assessments, evidence-based activities, attendance platforms and solutions for engaging students during distance learning.
- Coordinating local preparedness and response efforts to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19.
- Purchasing educational technology, including hardware, software and connectivity, to support regular, substantive interactions between students and their instructors.
- Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning, enrichment, supplemental and after-school programs.
View our stimulus use matrices for more specific information about each funding package and product eligibility:
How to advocate for pandemic relief funding
In our pandemic relief funding guide, we provide guidance for advocating for pandemic relief funds in your state. Here are the highlights:
- Understand what your state and district are prioritizing.
- Be a problem solver; consider how funds could support the specific needs of your classroom, school or district.
- Networking is crucial! Connect with administrators and your school board for updates regarding the usage of pandemic funds.
- Work proactively with trusted vendors–they may have helpful advice from other districts.
- Have a “shovel-ready” project–and make sure school and/or district leaders know about it.
- Don’t assume that something is too expensive–there could still be room in the budget.
- Think big, and think differently. Consider making investments that will help you today–and tomorrow.
Support your students with PebbleGo, Capstone Connect and other subscriptions
Packed with informational articles, ready-made activities and literacy supports for students of all abilities, PebbleGo boosts engagement and fosters independent learning in core subject areas.
With PebbleGo and PebbleGo Next, educators and students receive access to high-quality content that’s written and curated by experts. These solutions help students develop critical thinking and media literacy skills while promoting digital citizenship–all in a secure, easy-to-access digital browser.
- Engage Early Readers. PebbleGo’s curricular content hub is specifically designed for K-3 students. Every sentence is carefully written to be at the right level for comprehension and engagement and to support curriculum standards.
- Increase Understanding. Authentic read-aloud audio and dual language support learners in honing their reading comprehension skills. And, guided and visual search options help teach students how to find content online
- Enhance Instruction. Discover new, creative ways to use PebbleGo through free online lesson plans and more, blog posts and an interactive correlations to standards tool.
- PebbleGo Next
- Engage Upper Elementary Students. PebbleGo Next includes access to age-appropriate, curriculum-connected content and other resources.
- Scaffolding Supports. Increase student understanding regardless of reading ability with authentic read-aloud audio, definitions for vocabulary words and multimedia assets in each article.
- Enhance Instruction. Critical thinking questions help educators encourage reflection and connection.
- Capstone Connect
- The Right Content. eBooks and database articles that are engaging and educationally appropriate make it easy for educators to find that “just right” piece of content.
- Interoperable. Share content using any edtech tool, including Learning Management Systems (LMSes) through easy, one-click access in the classroom or at home.
- Robust Search. Take advantage of our comprehensive search tool, which includes the ability to search by title or state standard.
We’re here to support you.
If there’s anything our team can do to support you and your students during the 2021-22 school year, please let us know.
And, for more information about pandemic relief funding and product eligibility, download PebbleGo’s Pandemic Funding Guide.