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Wisconsin School Leaders Discuss Plans For Federal COVID Relief

Wisconsin K-12 schools are deciding how to spend more than $2 billion from three federal COVID relief packages.

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) money can be spent over the next three years. It’s meant to help students recover after the educational disruptions of the pandemic.

Marquette Law School held a virtual discussion with three school leaders Wednesday to talk about the federal funding.

Milwaukee’s independently-run Rocketship charter schools do have some specific plans for the third round of ESSER funding. Rocketship Executive Director Brittany Kinser said her two schools will have additional staff doing tutoring and leading small-group interventions for students struggling in literacy and math.

“We’re hiring additional interventionists, we’re investing in high-quality professional development for all staff to address the unfinished learning and the learning loss,” Kinser said.

Kinser said Rocketship also plans to user ESSER funds to pay for a mental health professional in each school. “We know during the pandemic many of our students stopped logging in [to virtual classes] and we couldn’t get in touch with them and their families,” Kinser said. “So we know we’re going to need additional mental health supports to meet the needs of our students.”

The Rocketship charter schools are projected to receive about $5,000 per student.

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