Winchester Public Schools

    598 N. Kent Street

    Winchester VA 22601

    Revised 12.12.2022

    Board Review / Approval (No Revisions 5.22.2022)

    Section 1: Introduction

    The purpose of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III Fund is to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impacts of COVID-19 on the nation’s students by addressing students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs. Winchester Public Schools  has been awarded $ 8,188,761.53 in ESSER III funds. This plan describes how the awarded funds will be used.  Winchester Public Schools has developed landing pages for COVID Related items on our ESSER III plans on our website at “Covid-19 Protocols 2022-23”  and “Pandemic Funding.”  Specific questions about this plan should be directed to Holly McDonald at 540-667-4253 ext 13133.  

    Section 2: Prevention and Mitigation Strategies

    ARP Act ESSER III funds may be used to implement prevention and mitigation strategies that are, to the greatest extent practicable, consistent with the most recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance on reopening schools, in order to continuously and safely open and operate schools for in-person learning. Winchester Public Schools will use approximately $ 3,775,265.41 of its ARP Act ESSER III funds to implement prevention and mitigation strategies as described below.

    Funds have and will use funds to purchase plexiglass for front offices, restrooms, and nurses containment areas, hand sanitizer, facemasks, sanitizing wipes, homemade cleaning kits for classrooms, water bottle filling stations to replace closed water fountains, EPA recommended cleaners, electrostatic sprayers, air purifiers, rental of storage units to store extra desks for spreading out the room to ensure social distancing in classrooms.  Winchester Public Schools is examining HVAC units within the division and plans to utilize the funds to upgrade or replace the HVAC units at Frederick Douglass Elementary School to improve air quality.  

    Section 3: Addressing Unfinished Learning

    Section 2001(e)(1) of the ARP Act requires each LEA to use twenty percent of its formula funds to address the academic impact of lost instructional time (learning loss) through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive after school programs, or extended school year programs. Winchester Public Schools will use approximately $ 3,588,798 (43.8%) of its ARP Act ESSER III funds to address unfinished learning.  When combined with ARP Act ESSER II funds the total percentage of funds increases to 40.2%.   

    The Winchester Public Schools has implemented a Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) model. MTSS is a research based approach to identify students who are not meeting grade level academic expectations and provide effective interventions to accelerate learning. Our CARES III allocation will support this model through the following:

    • 2 MTSS Coaches (1 utilizing ESSER III funds)

    • 7 MTSS Interventionists

    • Professional Development

    In addition to MTSS, the Winchester Public Schools will use our CARES III allocation to support student learning as outlined below:

    • Teacher Assistants/Flex Subs

    • Workbased Learning Coach

    • After School Care

    • Curriculum and Instructional supplies

    Winchester Public schools will continue to enhance our summer school programs to increase enrollment and accessible opportunities for students to engage in learning experiences.  PreK-12 students will have access to summer school programs including remedial summer school, reading enrichment, math interventions, math enrichment, and additional instructional opportunities to fill in learning gaps created by COVID-19.

    Section 4: Other Uses of Funds

    Section 2001(e) of the ARP Act permits school divisions to use the ARP Act ESSER III funding not 

    reserved to address unfinished learning to address the impacts of COVID-19 in a variety of ways. Winchester Public Schools allocated $388,867 for family liaisons to assist with programs to positively embrace students and families and $435,831 for staff retention and recruitment stipends.   

    Section 5: Addressing Students’ Academic, Social, Emotional, and Mental Health Needs

    The Winchester Public Schools has implemented a tiered approach for all students especially those disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.  At the secondary level, Tier one supports personalized learning opportunities and the provision of digital learning platforms to supplement direct instruction.   Tier two supports include the provision of academic coaches and Twilight School for students needing an adult to provide encouragement and academic guidance, as well as additional time to complete unfinished learning. An example of a Tier three support would be referral to the Student Success Team for intensive social-emotional and academic support.  Additionally, the Winchester Public Schools have administered a variety of K-12 diagnostic screeners to determine students in need of tier two and tier three support. 

    Winchester Public Schools will develop an Multi-tiered System of Supports (MTSS) for students in K-12.  With the guidance from our instructional leaders and various stakeholders we will address learning loss with two MTSS coaches assigned to grades K-6 and 7-12.  They will lead interventionists at each school in developing processes to address students’ learning gaps caused by COVID-19 closures. Interventionists will work with specific data to guide their work with students to address learning gaps. Progress monitoring will be used to measure student progress. MTSS coaches will assist classroom teachers in developing tier one and two strategies to address learning loss within their classrooms. 

    In order to address the multi-dimensional challenges facing our students and their families, Winchester Public Schools will implement strategies across the spectrum of universal (Tier 1) to targeted interventions (Tier 3).

    Universal Interventions (Tier 1):

    • Full implementation of a Social Emotional (SEL) Curricula in grades K-12 to better comprehend their emotions, to feel those emotions fully, and demonstrate empathy for others.

      • Move this World SEL will be implemented in grades K-12.

      • Newsela SEL will be implemented in grades 9-12.

    Early Interventions (Tier 2):

    • Expand our Family Liaison Team by three.

      • In addition to current Spanish speaking liaisons, three staff will be added to encourage family/parental engagement in the school and provide ongoing, educational programs to immediate family members, parents/legal guardians of students. Particular attention will be focused on families particularly vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic.

    • Provide a multi-day professional development experience for school-based mental health professionals.

      • Participants include school psychologists, school counselors and school social workers.

      • Topics to include: Dual Capacity Framework for Family Empowerment, Trauma informed classrooms, and creating equity within schools.

    Targeted Interventions (Tier 3):

    • Ease access to mental health services.

      • Provide therapeutic mentoring services for students experiencing challenges both in the school setting and community. Access to services is a challenge due to medicaid restrictions. 

    • Ease access to mental health assessments.

      • Provide mental health assessments for students experiencing significant difficulties as indicated by threat assessments or other standard tools. Access to services is a challenge due to medicaid and private insurance restrictions. 

    Section 6: Consultation with Stakeholders and Opportunity for Public Comment

    In developing the ARP ESSER Plan, Winchester Public Schools conducted consultation in the following ways:

    Our proposed COVID-19 Recovery Plan 2021 was presented to our School Board on July 12, 2021.  This presentation can be accessed on our website, under the School Board tab, Meetings, then July 12, 2021 and allowed for public comment both in-person and digitally.  Additionally, our recovery plan was presented to principals who then presented the plan to their faculties. Addressed in this presentation was our proposed plan to Open Schools, Address Learning Recovery, Personal Protective Equipment and Cleaning Enhancements and Air Quality.  The financial scope of federal monetary assistance was outlined.  Public input was announced at this meeting and collected over the next month using a form on our website.  Responses were vetted and integrated into our current submitted plan.

    In development of this plan, Divisional leaders created subgroups which met with stakeholders within the division (teachers, coaches, nurses, social workers, principals, assistant principals, coordinators).  These groups held meetings starting in late spring, and early summer to prepare for this presentation.  Outcome of these discussions were brought to the superintendent’s cabinet level to convert the plan into a budget.  

    • Development of social emotional and mental health interventions involved a wide variety of stakeholders including the following:

      • School-based mental health professionals (school psychologists, school social workers and school counselors).

      • The SEL curriculum choice involved teachers, school counselors, school social workers and administrators.

    • Planning to increase access to community resources involved school social workers, private providers in the community and a gap analysis of services for our most vulnerable students.

      • Expanding our reach to families through the Family Liaison project was developed following dialogue with families experiencing homelessness and families of diverse ethnicities within our community.

    Section 7: Making the Plan Available to the Public

    Winchester Public Schools has taken the following steps to make this plan available to the public:

    • The plan is posted at https://www.wps.k12.va.us/domain/4720

    • The plan may be orally translated or in another language for parents. Contact Kimberley Perterson at pertersonk@wps.k12.va.us  to request translation.

    • Upon request, a parent who is an individual with a disability as defined by the ADA may be provided with the plan in an alternative format accessible by contacting Winchester Public Schools Attn: Hayley Mullins at mullinsh@wps.k12.va.us