To help address the impact COVID-19 has had and continues to have, Tullahoma City Schools applied for and was awarded more than $7 million in ESSER 3.0 funds.
“Tullahoma City Schools was tasked with evaluating needs across the district and identifying ways to utilize these federal, one-time relief funds,” said TCS Director of Schools, Dr. Catherine Stephens. “We sought input from an array of stakeholders and determined several needs and ways to apply for these dollars that met the criteria associated with these federal funds. Part of these ESSER 3.0 funds will go toward slowing the possible spread of COVID-19, as we replace HVAC systems at some of our campuses. Additional funds will then be used to address the learning loss from the pandemic.”
Dedicating 20 percent of these ESSER 3.0 funds to address learning loss is a requirement of these federal dollars. Tullahoma City Schools has allotted 23 percent of these ESSER 3.0 funds to help combat the learning losses due to the pandemic. The remaining 77 percent will go toward items in immediate response to COVID-19 and preventing the spread of the virus.
In total, the district received $7,077,371.76 in ESSER 3.0 funds. TCS has allotted $5,185,205.76 toward upgrading facilities with new and improved HVAC units at Robert E. Lee, Tullahoma High School and a portion of East Middle School.
“Tullahoma City Schools needs to update the HVAC and ventilation systems at Tullahoma High School, Robert E. Lee Elementary and a portion of East Middle School to increase air circulation and air quality,” said TCS Director of Business, Jason Ray. “This is to prevent the spread of COVID-19. East Middle School is also included in the previously approved ESSER 2.0 application. Should additional funds be needed for East Middle School beyond the ESSER 2.0 allocation, ESSER 3.0 funds will pick up the cost. We are working with Trane, a worldwide leader in HVAC-related projects, to determine the best course of action for each campus.”
The Little Cats Learning Academy will receive $105,000 to hire two Full-Time Equalivent employees for the next three years and the district has also allotted $13,000 for administrative support for ESSER 3.0. An additional $150,000 will go toward grade-level curriculum. “By having greater access to state-aligned curriculum, students will have what is needed for in-class learning, before and after school tutoring, homework and more,” said TCS Director of Instruction, Susan Fanning.
The remaining $1,624,166 will be used to help schools with meeting the varied needs of students and minimize learning loss. The largest portion of those funds, $720,000, will go toward hiring four instructional coaches for the next two years. Two math coaches and two English Language Arts coaches will serve the elementary and/or middle school levels.
“Instructional coaches provide daily support to teachers to help identify and meet student academic needs,” Fanning said. “They provide support with curriculum implementation, professional learning, data analysis as well as strategies for instructional and behavioral best practices.”
An additional $540,000 will go toward hiring a Response to Intervention (RTI) teacher at each middle school for the next three years to help with closing learning gaps. The district has allotted $50,000 to ensure that summer school will be accessible at Tullahoma High School over the next two and half years. Additionally, $120,000 will go toward funding summer camps for the elementary and middle school levels.
Robert E. Lee Elementary School and THS have been allotted $145,000 to provide needed tutoring for students over the course of the next three years. A combined $14,000 will go toward trauma-informed training at each elementary and middle school as well as THS.
The district will then utilize $10,166 to implement Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Programs at each middle school. An additional $25,000 will be used for SEL and trauma-informed resources, including supplies, materials and equipment, at all grade levels.
“We believe that these measures will help us meet the varied academic and social-emotional needs of students, as we strive to address learning loss,” Dr. Stephens said. “It has been a great semester so far. We are thankful that we have been able to return fully to in-person learning. We are seeing progress and growth as a result of our dedicated teachers and staff, the efforts of our students and the wonderful support of our families. We are looking forward to the remainder of the school year.”