Dare school board hears an ESSER report, school nutrition bonus plan and Holocaust curriculum plan

Published 7:55 am Monday, January 8, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Dare County’s school board received an update on the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund, abbreviated ESSER, expenditures.

Director of elementary education Caitlin Spruill told the board that three different acts passed by the federal government have parts specific to states and local school systems. Those parts respond to the impact of COVID-19 from March 2020 through June 2024.

For each federal grant, the school system was required to submit a budget, list planned activities to implement and measure the effectiveness of the activities.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

Dare County Schools received funding from 17 grants associated with ESSR, including: K-12 Emergency Relief Funds, Supplemental Instructional Services, School Nutrition and Summer Career Accelerator Programs.

– K-12 Emergency Relief Funds were used to purchase Chromebooks for students, teachers and teacher’s assistants; provide professional learning on remote/in-person best practices, and hire personnel including interventionists, Multi-Tiered System of Support coordinators and a school psychologist. The assessment measures included bill of sale for Chromebooks, staff surveys and growth over the years.

– Supplemental Instructional Services where K-12 students identified as at-risk were invited to attend summer learning opportunities broken into two sessions during Summer 2021.

– A Retention Bonus for Child Nutrition staff was based on time and length of employment. Retention data of employees who received bonus was measured.

– Summer Career Accelerator Programs used the offerings of College of The Albemarle and East Carolina’s Coastal Studies Institute for career-based activities.

The 17 grants total $9,936,710.85. Spruill reported that Dare schools have spent 83% of the awarded ESSER grant funds.

The final update from Spruill is that Dare County Schools recently completed their ESSER-GEER Monitoring Review. Spruill reported that the system met all programmatic requirements and had no findings or recommendations from North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Office of Federal Programs.

Director of school nutrition Kelleta Govan introduced the school nutrition bonus incentive program that rolled out in December.

School nutrition employees provide meals to students and staff in all schools in the district. The average daily participation shows the nutrition staff serving 731 at breakfasts, 1,902 at lunch and 300 after-school snacks including pre-k student snacks.

Each school nutrition employee could potentially receive a maximum of $1,100 for the school year. Bonuses are based on attendance (including annual/sick leave) and professional development/growth opportunities. Bonuses will be paid twice per year, December and June. Substitutes are not eligible for the bonus.

At Dec. 11, 2023, 42 full-time and part-time school nutrition employees are working 209 days per year. The bonus was equal to about $5.26 per day.

The bonus is staggered to account for attendance. With perfect attendance from August through November, the bonus is $500; with less than three days absent, the bonus is $350; with less than five days, $250. From December through June with perfect attendance $500; less than seven days, $350; and less than nine days, $250.

A $100 bonus is provided for professional development through the School Nutrition Association.

“On November 18, 2021, The Gizella Abramson Holocaust Education Act was passed into law when Governor Cooper signed the budget. This act mandates Holocaust education in middle and high school in public education in North Carolina beginning in the 2023-2024 school year,” states the presentation by Denise Fallon, director of secondary education.

In fall 2023, a nine-member Holocaust implementation team was assembled and presented its implementation plan Dec. 11, 2023 to the Dare County Board of Education.

The plan starts in January with a presentation about the Holocaust Education Act to all staff at general faculty meetings for grades 6 through 12.

In February and March, the team will collaborate with English and social studies teachers to share information and review lesson plans/resources. Attendance at professional development and training in person or virtually is encouraged. The team will discuss local elective option with high schools

In April and May, the team will monitor progress and host additional work sessions with teams of teachers as needed and teachers attend professional development sessions.

In June, a Dare County Schools formalized curriculum development team goes to work. A Holocaust webpage for information and resources is created. For the 2024-2025 school year, traveling exhibits, guest speakers and field trips are arranged.