Funding PD Infrastructure with CARES Act and Title II
By Julia Ramsey
As districts ramp up their PD to sharpen educators’ virtual instruction skills, coordinating and supporting newly-remote teaching teams has never been more critical. But with an uncertain school year ahead and funds stretched tight by COVID-19, many education leaders are scrambling to find the budget for professional learning supports. Recent changes to federal education funding structures like Title II and the CARES Act mean that these dollars are now available to invest in long-term PD solutions for continuous improvement.
Title II and KickUp: Preparing and Retaining High-Quality Educators
Title II authorizes programs to improve teaching and leadership through professional learning at the state and district levels.
In alignment with Title II, KickUp provides:
A flexible evaluation and support system: teachers and administrators can use a web-based software platform to customize and run personalized growth cycles, track educator evaluation, and monitor classroom performance.
Multiple measures of evaluation: school districts can incorporate multiple forms of data collection — including observations, walkthroughs, support logs, educator surveys, and multi-stakeholder surveys — to inform their evaluation and support efforts.
Tools to track growth over time: teachers and administrators can set professional growth and programmatic goals based on educator data, then track the attainment of those goals over time.
Reporting to ensure educational equity: administrators can differentiate professional learning support based on the needs of educators and students, ensuring that teachers in highest-need areas receive relevant and effective professional development.
Processes for conducting needs assessments: administrators can conduct and analyze customized needs assessments from multiple stakeholders to ensure their professional development plans incorporate student and teacher voice.
School districts across the country have utilized Title II funding to purchase KickUp’s software and services, including Frederick County Public Schools, Maury County Public Schools, St. Vrain Valley Schools and others.
KickUp is also proud to partner with Learning Forward, the leading advocacy organization for Title II, and informs its platform development based on the best practices of job-embedded professional learning that Learning Forward promotes.
CARES Act and KickUp: Infrastructure and Training for Online Instruction
As of June 2020, the US Department of Education has created new flexibility for using federal funds to support closing the digital divide.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes an Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) that provides $13.5 billion in funding relief for K-12 schools.
While the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) had previously limited districts’ ability to use federal funds for technology infrastructure, Congress has also introduced specific waivers to repurpose these existing funds for distance learning supports.
Why invest in online-specific professional learning? Skilled educators are the key to ensuring that blended or online instruction is effective. KickUp creates top-to-bottom transparency and connection for superintendents, district and school leaders, and instructional coaches to make sure that distance learning initiatives are working for teachers and coaches alike.
What kind of distance learning supports does the ESF cover? ESF dollars can support short-term needs around distance learning — but more importantly, are also available to invest in collaborative, ongoing, and job-embedded professional development. With an uncertain school year ahead, sustained and continuous online instruction training is likely to be an ongoing need.
How does KickUp help close the digital divide? KickUp lets you quickly and easily assess district-wide progress toward instructional goals — a critical need for administrators coordinating newly-remote teams in rapidly changing circumstances. KickUp clients can monitor real-time data about instruction on the individual, school, or strategic focus level to ensure equitable instruction across classrooms. And during a time when there’s never been a greater need for strong instructional coaching, KickUp gives coaches the information they need to provide just-in-time support for their educators, while letting administrators track activity to ensure coach time is spent on high-impact activities.
Who should I talk to about using ESF dollars for KickUp? Contact a member of our team today to go through your local policy and find an educator-supportive solution.