The Healdsburg Unified School District (HUSD) will receive over $1 million in state and federal funds to be used this summer and over the next few years for expanded learning opportunities and social and emotional support to address the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on children and learning.
“Most of this money is dedicated to providing expanded opportunities for kids to make up for some of the loss of learning that happened over the last 13-14 months,” said HUSD Superintendent Chris Vanden Heuvel.
The district will receive a $435,410 state in-person instruction grant to be used from July 1, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2022. The state is also providing a $845,402 expanded learning opportunity grant, which the district can use between the same July to August timeframe.
HUSD will get an additional expanded learning grant of $91,711, 10% of which will be reserved for paraprofessionals.
On the federal aid side, the district will receive a $756,351 elementary and secondary school emergency grant, which can be used until Sept. 20, 2023.
The total amount in state and federal funds that the district will receive is $1,372,523.
Vanden Heuvel said the district is considering how to spend these resources and some possibilities include funding expanded summer school, interventions, an extended learning day, after school classes and tutoring, and or robust counseling services.
“We’re engaging in stakeholder engagement and getting input on this at governance councils, staff meetings and with parent groups, ELAC and DELAC (District English Learner Advisory Committees),” Vanden Heuvel said.
Vanden Heuvel said the district would like to double the size of the summer school program over the next two years to provide more opportunities for students to make up for missed learning time.
He said they’re also looking at bringing on a few more intervention staff as well as extending the learning day and providing more after school programs.
“In research it’s always better for a student to have good first instruction with their classroom teacher and then pulled out for intervention if we can help it,” Vanden Heuvel said. “We also recognize that there are a variety of mental health needs that kids are coming out of the pandemic with. We want to have robust counseling services for them. We are actively looking at hiring an additional two mental health specialists as well as additional counseling interns and making sure we have all hands on deck to help kids.”
He said they hope to finalize the state monies with the school board of trustees in early May and from there, begin building the programs and hiring staff.
“I had a positive gut response to this list when I first looked at it, and of course I have a lot of questions about the details of what each of these things would entail and how they would work, but … this looks great,” school board trustee Rose McAllister said of the potential funding priorities.