AAPS COVID Response
Ongoing Work in Support of Students and Staff
2020-21 – 2021-22 – 2022-23
February 23, 2022
1) Student Learning, Growth, and Academic Progress
Work to ensure continuity of student learning, growth and development continues throughout the 20-21 and 21-22 school years and beyond.
Steps to ensure continuity of learning opportunities including:
- day-to-day classroom instruction with in-person and virtual programs staffed by highly-certificated professionals,
- intervention and additional learning and enrichment programs to support closing gaps and leaps in understanding and skill development,
- additional comprehensive summer programming open to all students, including those needing intervention support as well as students in need of advancement.
The AAPS will support academic learning through comprehensive planning and responsive teaching. Using the AAPS Framework for Equitable Instruction, we will continue to enhance teaching and learning through: improved Tier I instructional fidelity, Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, and Universal Design for Learning integration and blended learning. Using local assessment data, teacher observation, pass/fail rates and MTSS process, students will be identified and supported; cross-funding and application of support of other federal programs such as Title I and IDEA funds with the support of Building Support Teams and Student Intervention Services will ensure robust growth and development for students.
Additional actions to support continuity of student learning include the review of current curriculum, its congruence with research-based intervention supports, standards, assessments and addressing equity goals; the review and realignment of Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) model including implementation of coaching to address assessment spread within grade levels, and the expansion of 1:1 and small group supports; renewal of academic support materials with expansions to support access for identified learners.
Other actions to support the continuity of student learning include efforts to retain and attract highly-qualified staff across all levels and functions to carry out this important work.
Ongoing evaluation of programming is critical to ensure robust learning growth. AAPS will use a 3-pronged program evaluation to determine the continued ability of our programming to address the needs of identified student groups. This includes: process evaluation, outcome evaluation and impact evaluation. Using this approach will allow the AAPS team to evaluate whether goals and objectives are met, how to best allocate resources and identify barriers or measures that are generating student success and progress, and those that may not yield results. Each part of the process allows for differentiated data analysis based on student group and expected outcomes. This continuous improvement cycle creates opportunity for both short and long term progress and can be assessed within multiple timeframes such as regular school year versus summer programming.
Sample expenditures in Student Learning, Growth and Academic Progress include:
- Staffing for in-person & virtual learning programs during 20-21 and 21-22 school years
- Staff and programs to provide additional learning support, including intervention and advancement
- Competitive Pay & Hiring and Retention Incentives to support strong professional staff
2) Student Well-being, Social-Emotional Development, and Mental Health Support
Work in support of student wellness, social development, and resources to strengthen whole-child development.
The AAPS will support social-emotional learning (SEL) through comprehensive planning and responsive teaching, in-school support including the addition of support staff and professionals, and support of key community programs and partnerships.
To address SEL and work in support of student wellness and social development, resources to strengthen whole-child development include a variety of mental health/social work supports including community partnership with local community centers, teen counseling supports and national campaigns such as “OK to Say”.
Sample expenditures in Student Well-being, Social Emotional Development, and Mental Health include:
- Rec & Ed Programming during 20-21 school year
- Quarantine learning support teachers during 21-22 school year
- Additional in-school student support staff and professionalsCompetitive pay & hiring and retention Incentives
- Meal delivery and pick-up offerings during extended school closures
3) COVID Mitigation
Work to reduce COVID transmission in schools through the implementation of COVID mitigation steps, including: COVID response training of all staff, ongoing case management, contact tracing, responsive testing, physical classroom and school enhancements to support students, staff and reduce spread.
COVID resource funds are utilized to reduce the continued spread of COVID-19 by supporting CDC and State of Michigan recommended mitigation strategies for K-12 institutions including enhanced air filtration, circulation and ventilation, masks/PPE, directional signage, hand sanitizer, installation of touchless faucets and paper towel dispensers, plexiglass partitions at transaction counters, enhanced cleaning supplies, services and practices, outdoor seating, tables and materials to promote social distancing, where applicable.
The AAPS has provided additional health-related staffing including nurses, contact tracers and support staff to detect and mitigate spread by providing notification, quarantine and isolation information, and resources and relief for those who may contract the virus. We have provided flexible learning options for families and students through virtual schooling options and our Quarantine Learning Plan, while maintaining face-to-face instruction for those healthy to attend.
Responsive testing protocols, contact tracing and training for staff on implementation and mitigation have been conducted. Designated building subs specifically trained to provide ongoing support focused within a single school and COVID mitigation have been implemented.
Cooperatively-planned vaccination clinics with local health agencies have provided convenient, accessible vaccinations, and weekly testing clinics will continue to detect and mitigate covid spread. The AAPS will continue to follow CDC, local government and State of Michigan guidance on the use of masks and mitigation strategies.
Sample expenditures in COVID Mitigation include:
- Additional nurses and COVID response team staffing
- Improved ventilation at all school campuses
- Personal Protective Equipment
- COVID testing
4) Quality Staff
Work to retain and attract quality professional and hourly staff - highly trained, experienced and committed - to support students, staff in carrying out our central mission of teaching and learning, and the ongoing daily operations of the school district.
Enhancement to salaries continues as a priority to ensure a quality staff to serve the students of the Ann Arbor Public Schools including teachers in classrooms, support staff, and leaders.
In addition to critical salary enhancements for existing staff, the use of COVID response funds allow the district to be responsive to ongoing staffing issues related to difficult-to-fill vacancies as a result of, and exacerbated by, the COVID pandemic, including retention of staff and contracted services, and substituting for staff who are ill, quarantined or hesitant to provide in-person instruction, impacting daily staff attendance rates. These uses have had a positive and direct impact on the prevention of learning loss and instructional minutes available for direct student support.
Strategies to recruit and retain high-quality staff for all departments and areas impacting learning and operations have been pursued, including retention of current staff through targeted stipends and competitive hourly pay incentives, and recruitment through stipend incentives responsive to longevity commitments. Efforts to fully staff high-shortage areas with competitive pay and incentives will address mental health professionals including social work support, special needs instruction and support staff, health specialists to address mitigation and COVID response, qualified teacher substitutes, food service, transportation, and other understaffed hourly/and full-time support areas.
Sample expenditures in Quality Staff include:
- Additional salary enhancement for all employees paid in December 2021
- Increased pay rates across hourly positions, including para-educators, child care staff, office professionals, noon hour supervisors and coordinators, food & nutrition, custodial, and transportation
- Salary enhancements for hard-to-fill positions, such as self contained teachers and nurses
- Retention efforts, including enhanced compensation for child care workers and self contained staff
- Increased daily rates for guest teachers and substitutes across other employee positions
- Provision of additional sick days for staff diagnosed with COVID
- Devoted additional resources to staff well being and mental health which included expanding service options for Employee Assistance Program