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How School Stimulus Aid Can Support Accelerated Learning

Education is challenging and part of a constantly changing industry. Since March 2020, schools and their staff members have been even more challenged since the world health Coronavirus pandemic began. Schools and teachers have been tasked with keeping children and themselves safe while also maintaining a challenging and accessible curriculum for students. 

Education has taken place online, in person, and sometimes through a combination of both. These various learning methods have been a particularly difficult transition for students with exceptionalities, including special needs or gifted abilities. Some students with special needs are falling further behind without intervention, while many accelerated and gifted students have not been appropriately engaged and intellectually stimulated. 

School Stimulus Aid

One bright aspect of the recent health events is the introduction of more school stimulus aid. Between the CARES Act, the COVID Relief Package, and the American Rescue Plan, K-12 schools have been granted approximately 122 billion dollars to use as they see fit.

Let's talk about how schools can use school stimulus aid and how the various methods of spending stimulus money can accelerate student learning and growth, while also supporting staff.

How Can Stimulus Aid Be used?

There are many options available for states, local school organizations, and charters schools when it comes to using their stimulus aid. Depending on needs, these school systems could focus on safety (public health), new facilities, increased staffing, new curriculum, additional training for staff, or a myriad of other possibilities. 

However, there are a couple of stipulations. First, one percent of school funding must be allocated to after-school programs. Furthermore, one percent of school funding must be used for summer activities. However, that leaves ninety-eight percent available to support and improve accelerated learning.

What Are Some Effective Ways to Spend School Stimulus Aid?

Schools, local systems, and states have different approaches to spending the school stimulus aid. In education, there is a big emphasis on evidence-based interventions.

Over the last two years, education has changed greatly. Many of the practices that worked with students in person did not work well in a hybrid or digital environment. Due to this, it is difficult for many schools to decide where their priorities lie. Last year, school systems with more technology-based equipment, software, and licensing were ultimately more successful in the transition to digital learning. 


Across the country, students use technology for school on a daily or near-daily basis. This shows some of the advantages of technology to enforce the content taught in the classroom. 

Recently, students have been issued a school laptop to use both on and off-campus, similar to issuing textbooks. For many schools, this represents a large expense. Many schools will use at least a portion of their aid money to implement newer and more devices for their students and staff.

School Safety and Health Procedure

In response to the global pandemic, many schools will continue to improve their safety and health procedures. Schools will need more handwashing and sanitizing stations for students, while the janitorial staff will need state-of-the-art sanitization equipment. Teachers will need to be provided with face shields, masks, etc., to ensure their health and well-being. 

While these are critical considerations, they may not significantly improve learning or teaching abilities. Increased school safety and health procedures will not represent a large portion of the funds for many school districts as there are other pressing needs.

Hiring Blitz

Due to various quarantines or staff leaving the education field, many schools have been short-staffed throughout the pandemic and the new school year. Many school systems will look to add teachers, paraprofessionals, substitutes, and more. Schools may use school stimulus aid to sponsor hiring events or even provide bonuses to entice new and current staff members to stay and work for their school. 

The ability to hire more staff will reduce class sizes, and the ripple effect from smaller classes will improve student outcomes. Smaller classes could also lead to a reduced risk of sickness and the spread of disease. While it is important to have a full staff, it can be equally important that they are well trained.

Staff Development

All teachers and educational staff have developed over the last two school years by necessity. From the most experienced teacher to a new teacher fresh out of college, teachers have been challenged. Teachers have learned and developed new techniques, with new technologies implemented in and out of the classroom. The increased funding allows for an opportunity for increased training. 

Some of the staff training should have an emphasis on technology. We saw how valuable that technology could be for education, and it continues to improve. Staff development can foster teamwork and community within a school or district, trickling down to students. Many schools and school systems will choose to add more staff development with their stimulus aid. For some schools, this may not be the most pressing need.

School Site Improvements

Across the country, there are many schools with a great need for site improvements, and with the global pandemic, many site improvements were shelved for various reasons. Student achievement will increase dramatically with new classrooms, outdoor areas, computer and science labs, and common areas. In terms of both functionality and aesthetics, many schools need a drastic overhaul to continue teaching students and support staff. 

Final Thoughts

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, education has become an even more difficult challenge. There are many choices available for schools to spend their stimulus aid on. Schools could improve their structures, improve school safety, increase staff, add technology, and increase staff development. Most schools will spend their aid using a combination of these methods. Ultimately, the decision will be based on the most pressing school and community needs.


Written by Lawrence Anderson

Education World Contributor

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