How Do Districts Plan to Use Their ESSA Block Grant Money?

Originally published June 17, 2018 in Education Week.

By Andrew Ujifusa

Many districts are about to get a big boost in funding for the most flexible piece of the Every Student Succeeds Act: the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants, better known as Title IV of the law. The program just got a big, $700 million boost from fiscal 2017 to fiscal 2018, bringing its total funding to $1.1 billion. And it could get even more money next year, because the House appropriations subcommittee in control of federal education spending is seeking $1.2 billion for the program in new legislation. Read More

ESSA

More Than School Safety: What the Huge Hike for ESSA’s Block Grant Means

Originally published March 22, 2018 by Education Week.

By Alyson Klein

As part of a massive new spending bill, lawmakers are poised to provide $1.1 billion in aid that congressional aides say will help boost school safety and mental-health resources in the wake of the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., last month.

The money is intended “to expand school-based mental health services and supports; for bullying prevention; and for professional development for personnel in crisis management and school-based violence prevention strategies,” according to a House fact sheet.

But the increase isn’t just good news for school safety and counseling programs. It also being cheered by everyone from advocates for music education to fans of dual enrollment programs. Read More

ESSA funding

District approves request for P.E. HRMs through ESSA funding

In her search for funding to add heart rate monitors to all eight of the Irving Independent School District’s middle schools, Sandi Cravens learned a valuable lesson: requests never made are rarely granted.

In January, Cravens, Irving ISD’s Health and Physical Education Coordinator, received $35,000 from the district’s Every Student Succeeds Act’s Title IV-A funding allocation to purchase sets of adidas Zone for IHT Spirit wrist heart rate monitors to be used across her district. If not for some quick thinking by a new administrator, Cravens might not have even made the request for ESSA funding.

“I was familiar already with Title IV but I didn’t pay too much attention to it because I assumed the money would go to another group of people in our district because that’s usually how it works,” she said.

That feeling dates back to the reality of the No Child Left Behind Act, where schools focused primarily on the core subjects of math, English, science and social studies, leaving little time and even fewer funds available for electives such as art, music and physical education. Read More

ESSA

How Irving ISD’s Health and PE Coordinator Secured Technology Funding Through ESSA Title IV

With guidance from her department head, Irving Independent School District (Texas) Health and Physical Education Coordinator Sandi Cravens applied for and received $35,000 from her district’s Every Student Succeeds Act allocation.

After working with her supervisor and the district’s director of federal funding, Cravens researched the program she wanted to develop and gathered supporting material to create a proposal to purchase a set of IHT’s adidas Zone for IHT Spirit heart rate monitors and physical education assessment software in each of her district’s middle schools. Irving ISD funded Cravens request through the district’s ESSA’s Title IV allocation, which designates that funding be used for Student Support and Academic Enrichment.

Though the Department of Education is still approving ESSA implementation plans from several states, funding for the current school year has already been distributed. Physical educators are still adjusting to the new reality that they can — and must — seek out the funding that can only be used for specific programs.

“I was familiar already with Title IV but I didn’t pay too much attention to it because I assumed the money would go to another group of people in our district because that’s usually how it works,” Cravens said. “They discussed that a certain percentage of Title IV money had to be spent on the health and safety of kids. My boss, thankfully, said he knew exactly who to talk to about it.” Read More

funding

5 Places to Seek out Funding for P.E.

From direct budget allocations to accessing federal funding, educators look anywhere they can to obtain funding for their physical education programs. Here are five success stories of teachers and administrators finding funding to purchase heart rate technology for their physical education program.

School District budget

In West Des Moines, Iowa, Brian Rhoads found funding in the district’s curriculum budget. As a physical education teacher-turned-administrator, he knew that the funding existed but that P.E. had missed out on it for several cycles. He drafted a data-rich proposal to implement heart rate monitors into the district’s P.E. curriculum and the administration granted the funding.

“Physical education has been left out of those funds for many years – no one knew to ask for it,” he said. “Well, I asked for it. It was perfect timing because we were in our curriculum adoption process, so the district simply allocated what we needed. A lot of money has gone unused because people weren’t tapping into it.” Read More