Governor Doug Ducey, in partnership with Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, today announced $19 million in targeted grant funding to support schools and students most impacted by COVID-19. The funding, which comes from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund as part of the CARES Act, will help schools with teacher development, teacher stipends, reading and math curriculum, summer education resources and more.
Eligibility for the program, known as the Acceleration Academies Grant Program, was determined through a partnership with Read On Arizona and the Maricopa Association of Governments. The organizations adopted a data-driven approach, considering factors such as AZMerit scores, percentage of students eligible for free and reduced-priced meals, access to computers and Internet, COVID-19 cases in the community, unemployment claims and more. More than 180 schools are eligible for the program, with additional dollars prioritized for schools most impacted.
“No matter what education option parents choose, we are determined to make sure no student falls behind this year,” said Governor Ducey. “Throughout our state, school leaders, educators and families have stepped up to overcome exceptionally challenging circumstances and deliver for our students. These dollars will boost those efforts, funding proven acceleration strategies to keep kids academically on-track. I’m grateful to Superintendent Hoffman for her continued partnership and to our educators and school leaders for their work to make this school year successful for all our students.”
“Throughout the pandemic, we have worked to support teachers, ensure students’ needs are met, and keep faculty, students and families safe,” said Superintendent Hoffman. “We know more resources are needed to help our education communities respond to this pandemic. From teacher stipends to additional curriculum and much more, the Acceleration Academies Grant program will help our schools most in need. I’m grateful to Arizona’s educators for their hard work, dedication and sacrifices these last several months, and to Governor Ducey for prioritizing our students.”
The Arizona Department of Education will administer the grant and develop reporting and progress measures for grant recipients. Through the program, eligible schools will be able to choose programs that best fit their needs from a list of strategies proven to accelerate academic achievement. Examples include:
- Training teachers in best practices for math and literacy instruction;
- Teacher stipends for additional student tutoring sessions;
- Contracting with qualified math or reading specialists to do one-on-one or small group work with students;
- Operating summer math or reading intensive programs for students in need;
- And more.
In July, Governor Ducey announced the “Arizona: Open for Learning” plan. The plan provides maximum options for Arizona families, ensures students receive a full academic year of education, invests a total of $440 million in federal dollars to our schools, and gives local school leaders the flexibility and public health guidance to make the best decisions for their students.
In addition to today’s investment, the Governor earlier this year dedicated $1 million in GEER funding to provide virtual instruction professional development to teachers through the Arizona Virtual Teachers Institute, and to provide grants to launch small learning communities for underserved students.
In October, Governor Ducey announced $500,000 to continue expanding efforts across the state to increase high quality education options. The dollars will support the creation of effective small learning models and community partnerships that target students and families in need.