State Training Secretary Highlights Secure Return to Colleges Throughout U.S. Training Secretary Tour
Students and school communities are encouraged to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of their safe return to classrooms
Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Dr. Noe Ortega today addressed the Secretary of the United States Department of Education (USDE) Dr. Miguel Cardona at Donegan Elementary School and Northampton Community College, both affiliated in Bethlehem, PA, highlighting existing plans and resources available to support a safe return to classrooms. The secretaries toured the schools and met with staff and educators as Pennsylvania prepared for the coming school year.
“I cannot be more grateful for the hard work educators and school communities have done to support our students across the Commonwealth,” said Secretary of State Noe Ortega. “We remain determined to do everything in our power to help schools create healthy and safe conditions for the coming school year. We are very pleased that Secretary of State Cardona visited schools in Pennsylvania today to see how we are making this effort possible. “
During his tenure at Donegan Elementary School, Secretary Ortega also highlighted the $ 416 million increase in state education funding in the state budget, including a new Level Up initiative that provides $ 100 million to some of the most underfunded school districts in Pennsylvania . Bethlehem School District will receive a $ 3.46 million increase in government funding this school year, including $ 1.6 million in level-up support. The Donegan Elementary School is part of the Bethlehem Area school district.
In April, Secretary of State Cardona visited schools in the Philadelphia area and praised the Pennsylvania Department of Education for the Wolf Administration’s special initiative to vaccinate more than 112,500 teachers and staff in three weeks. The administration supports efforts to vaccinate eligible students 12 and older across the Commonwealth.
Today’s secretaries visit comes after the approval of Pennsylvania’s American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) plan, which will allocate the remaining $ 1.6 billion as one-time federal emergency aid to support the long-term work of recovery of education should use. In late March, the Wolf administration announced nearly $ 5 billion in ARP ESSER federal COVID-19 aid for pre-K-12 schools. These funds will empower schools and districts to return to face-to-face teaching. Each company receives an amount proportional to the Federal IA funds received in 2020 under the Every Student Succeeds Act. Schools must use at least 20 percent of this money to meet the learning loss and social, emotional, and academic needs of underrepresented students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners, immigrant students, homeless students, and foster children. Further information on the allocation of funds can be found on the PDE website.
Last week the USDE released its Return to School Roadmap to help school communities prepare for the 2021-22 school year. During the 2020-21 school year, the PDE regularly provided the LEAs with technical assistance and guidance to help the classroom deal with the pandemic. This also included the PDE’s online resource, the Roadmap for Educational Leaders. PDE will continue to support LEAs in preparing for the coming school year. This includes the latest chapter of the PDE Roadmap for Education Leaders; Accelerated learning through an integrated support system. This toolkit provides a professional learning suite for school leaders and educators to address student learning loss and other issues caused by the pandemic.
For more information on the Pennsylvania Department of Education, please visit the website or follow PDE on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Pinterest.
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