By Rep. Anita Kulik
Throughout the pandemic, our most vulnerable groups have been hit hard due to the challenges they face in this critical time. These groups face challenges every day, and the pandemic has only accentuated these challenges.
School students have certainly faced their share of obstacles, along with their teachers, parents and administrators. Many of our discussions have centered on how to educate our children in these uncertain times. Since schools closed in the early spring, school administrators, teachers and parents have been working on how to best educate the children, whether in-person or remotely.
Our most vulnerable students will be the most affected by these education plans. Children with special needs and disabilities may not fare as well with remote learning or even the social distancing requirements. School districts and parents need extra help in making sure these children are not left behind in the education process.
In order to help our students with special learning needs, grants have been awarded to school districts throughout the Commonwealth through COVID Relief Funding. All the school districts within my area of representation have been accepted for these grants:
• Carlynton: $16,576.70
• Chartiers Valley: $23,850.09
• Cornell: $10,852.21
• Montour: $19,217.27
• Sto-Rox: $21,122.73
• Avonworth: $5,434.40
• Propel Montour: $5,000.00
These grants are to provide enhanced real time instruction to bolster remote services and supports for students with complex needs, and provide services and supports to students with disabilities who experienced a loss in skills or a lack of progress due to the closures of in-person learning that have occurred due to the shutdowns.
In addition, grants were made available from the COVID Relief Funds to help schools improve services to historically underserved students.
The monies are to go to improve educational services at schools designated for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) under the Federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Two schools from my district received grants: Carlynton in the amount of $41,009 and Sto-Rox in the amount of $67,944.
It is particularly important that all our students go into this new school year with all the resources necessary to succeed. I will continue to advocate for our students as well as continue my discussions with our local school officials.
For additional information on these grants or other state issues, please contact me at (412) 264-4260.