Here's a sentence we don't often get to say in education: the motherlode of funding is coming our way!
The recently-passed American Rescue Plan Act has set aside ... brace yourself ... over $2 BILLION for out-of-school time (OST) -- after-school and summer -- programs!
Not to mention, there is funding for community schools and all the wraparound services that so rarely get enough attention or funding but are absolutely critical for bolstering families in underserved communities.
This is a game changer for kids, families, schools, and OST/community school providers.
But we can't rest on our laurels and wait for the money to rain down on us. (Wouldn't that be nice?) It's time to be proactive!
I've had a lot of conversations with OST folks recently about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)'s evidence requirements.
Basically, if a school or district is going to purchase a program or services with federal funds (ie. Title I), they need to make sure that there is some evidence to show that what they're purchasing is effective.
Makes sense, right?
Unfortunately, that's not as easy or straightforward as it sounds.
Many small, community-based, minority-owned organizations don't have the capacity or funds to hire an evaluator. For me, this is a serious equity issue.
But for no money, there is a way to get your foot in the door.
To be deemed evidence-based, a program needs to meet one of the following levels:
For most programs, Level 4 is a natural place to start. With a little bit of guidance and planning, you can be on your way to accessing Title funds!
Now, the American Rescue Plan Act does not seem to specify that spending is limited to evidence-based programs ... but why hurt your chances of getting access to this lifeline?
Now is the time to position your program for maximum benefit from this upcoming funding opportunity.
If you want to get more information about Level 4 and becoming evidence-based, sign up for the FREE mini-course that Tamara Hamai and I developed. Each week you'll get emails with videos and graphic organizers to help you get ready to become an evidence-based organization!
The goal of this blog is to highlight relevant issues that impact students, families, and communities and spark engaging discussions about how to address those issues through evaluation.