Governor Walz will utilize federal funds to provide academic enrichment and mental health support this summer
5/18/2021 12:19:38 PM
[ST. PAUL, MN] – Governor Tim Walz today announced a plan to fund enhanced summer learning programs in Minnesota to help students recover from the learning challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor will allocate $75 million of the state’s flexible American Rescue Plan funds to provide academic enrichment and mental health support this summer and beyond for Minnesota’s students, families, educators, communities, and schools. Governor Walz made the announcement today at Otter Lake Elementary School in White Bear Lake. Photos from the event are attached.
“Our students have sacrificed so much this past year, and the learning disruptions caused by COVID-19 have impacted every single student across Minnesota. Today, we are announcing a summer learning plan to put our students front and center,” said Governor Walz. “These summer programs will help make up for missed learning opportunities and will help our students conquer the school year in the fall. Our students deserve this investment.”
“Our students have overcome tremendous challenges during these past two school years – and we are so close to the other side,” said Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan. “Because of today’s announcement, schools and community organizations can make plans for summer learning that support the academic and emotional needs of our students as we move towards next school year.”
“As we move toward the end of a school year unlike any other, we must focus on helping our students recover from the pandemic,” said Education Commissioner Dr. Heather Mueller. “I’m grateful we are able to use these federal funds to provide students with the enriching summer learning experiences they need and deserve.”
Governor Walz will allocate $75 million of the flexible State Fiscal Stabilization Funds in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan toward programming that will provide solutions for academic enrichment and mental health support starting this summer. The funding below will enhance both summer learning opportunities and academic year programs at school districts and charter schools across the state:
Academic and Mental Health Support ($34.614 million)
Public schools and districts will receive a general allocation in order to create partnerships with organizations and provide services in the following areas:
• Expand mental health and well-being support to youth and adolescents attending school district and charter school summer learning programs.
• Partner with community businesses and organizations to develop a summer mentor and/or tutoring model that covers enrichment programming and other costs such as transportation and meals to increase student participation.
• Bring school-based summer programs into the community, providing opportunities for enrichment, social and emotional skill building, mental health support, and tutoring services.
• Provide students with summer field trips for hands-on learning opportunities. Hands-on learning opportunities include activities such as trips to nature centers, state parks, zoos, museums, or theaters.
Preschool for 4- and 5-Year-Olds ($20 million)
This allocation provides preschool or prekindergarten to 4- and 5-year-olds. These funds can be used in a Parent Aware star-rated, public or private, preschool, or prekindergarten in-person learning program. These high-quality early learning programs help children develop their social-emotional skills before they begin kindergarten.
School-Linked Mental Health Grants ($6.011 million)
This investment in School-linked Mental Health Grants, administered by the Department of Human Services, will address an increased need for community mental health services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Expanded Access to Tutoring ($3.25 million)
The Governor will expand access to tutoring services including academic enrichment, mental health support, and other wrap-around services for K-12 children by providing grants to experienced entities, including community organizations.
Increased Adult Basic Education Program Funding ($10 million)
This investment will strengthen Adult Basic Education (ABE) programming statewide to ensure access to, enhance the quality of, and to increase the ABE programming available. This proposal will fund expanded ABE programming for the summer of 2021 and if funding remains available, it would be used throughout fiscal year 2022 in order to build and help sustain enhanced programming year-round.
Learning Acceleration and College Readiness Initiatives ($1.125 million)
The Governor will allocate funding to the Office of Higher Education (OHE) for two programs for the summer months. Funding for OHE’s Summer Academic Enrichment Program will increase by $625,000 and the Intervention for College Attendance Program will increase by $500,000. These programs will work to address educational challenges due to the pandemic, which is disproportionally impacting the most underserved students.