$100 Million Smile - 4/16/21

It was good to smile. 

After more than a year of COVID-19 and trying to figure out how to best support our students, you have done an amazing job. You have responded with virtual learning, face-to-face learning, hybrid learning, adding internet connectivity across the county, and by feeding students at school, at home and in the community. You have been amazing! While our efforts to support our students have been great, there has still been this constant stress we were experiencing in trying to get it right – trying to make it work for our students, our families, and for us. So, finally, it was good to smile. 

When did I smile? It was when I learned the federal government was sending us about $100 million to address the American Rescue Plan. $100 million! Everybody in the community is talking about it. Everybody! 

When I learned the amount our school district would receive, I asked a principal during one of our VIP meetings, “If I were to tell you that you had $1 million, what would you do with it? How would you help your school improve?” I asked that of several staff members as well. Every person I asked had ideas and it has been exciting to hear their thoughts! One of the decisions made is that each school will have the opportunity to receive $1 million from this federal funding. Each school must identify its needs and develop a plan for the funding. If the ideas are good and based on evidence and research, then there is a strong possibility we are going to implement them.

There are a lot of other things we still have to address. We have not fully recovered from the effects of the pandemic on student learning, but I am excited that we are going to have some resources to help. We can’t say the federal and state governments didn’t help us through this time because they did. 

I hope you smile, too, when your principal asks, “How do we want to spend this $1 million?” I want you to use your imagination. I want you to be able to say, “This is the opportunity I have been waiting a career to address!” The money does have some strings, but not as many as we have had in the past, and we are going to do what we think is best for students. 

I am just excited about the possibilities and the flexibilities! How long have I said we need to be willing to step up to accountability? Well, this is our opportunity to step up to accountability and do it. Here’s my charge to staff: Ask your principal, “How are we going to plan how to use this funding? What are we going to do? What results do we want to get out of it?” I want you to be involved in the planning. This is your opportunity to help our students in new and creative ways. Let’s get after it!

-VIP Continues

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