AN ACT TO ESTABLISH SCHOOL EXTENSION LEARNING RECOVERY AND ENRICHMENT PROGRAMS IN EACH LOCAL SCHOOL ADMINISTRATIVE UNIT TO MITIGATE THE IMPACTS OF COVID-19 ON AT-RISK STUDENTS.
House committee substitute amends the 1st edition as follows.
Modifies the mandate for local school administrative units to offer a school extension learning recovery and enrichment program (program) outside of the instructional calendar, following the 2020-21 school year. Requires the program to be separate and apart from the 2020-21 school year and not an extension of the 2020-21 school year. Amends the requirements for program plans submitted to the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) by local school administrative units. Instead of requiring a six-week program, now requires instruction for at least 150 hours or 30 days. Makes conforming changes. Prohibits instruction on Saturdays. Requires meal service rather than lunch service on each instructional day. More specifically requires transportation services to the school facility housing the program to be provided in accordance with the Plan A requirements for transportation established in the StrongSchoolsNC Public Health Toolkit issued on February 2, 2021. Adds new requirements for (1) time to be built into the instructional day for teachers to provide individual or small group instruction to at-risk students, and (2) in-person social-emotional learning supports for all students in the program.
Regarding employment during the program, adds that the six-month separation from service required for effectiveness under GS 135-1(20) does not apply and instead a one-month separation applies for retirees of the Teachers' and State Employees' Retirement System (TSERS) who retired on or after December 1, 2020, but on or before March 1, 2021, so long as the individual returns as a teacher or other school personnel as a temporary employee on a contract basis for a program pursuant to the act. Makes the provisions regarding school personnel employment within the program expire August 1, 2021. Details the effect of the expiration of the provisions regarding the six-month separation requirement for TSERS members.
Authorizes units to use funds allocated for reading camps for 2020-21 rather than 2021-22 to support the program. Changes the effective date of this provision from July 1, 2021, to the date the act becomes law.
States legislative findings concerning allocations to public school units from the federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief II (ESSER II) Fund appropriated in SL 2021-1, and legislative intent to direct the State Board of Education (SBE) to reserve a portion of the remaining funds made available in the ESSER II Fund to meet the emergency needs of the elementary and secondary schools of the State, to be held in reserve by DPI for allocation to local units and charter schools to supper their programs. Directs allocation be prioritized to those units or schools based on need demonstrated by the expenditure of existing federal funding received for COVID-19 related impacts.
Authorizes local units to allow students who were not enrolled in that unit for the 2020-21 school year to register to participate in the program on a first-come, first-serve basis if space is available after all enrolled students have had the opportunity to register to participate.
Modifies the reporting requirements. Adds new requirements for local units to report specified data to DPI by September 1, 2021. Now requires DPI to report to the specified NCGA committee by January 15, 2022, rather than October 15, 2021, and include all information submitted by local units and explanations by DPI of program outcomes along with the previously required content.
Modifies proposed GS 115C-174.23. Adds a new requirement for SBE to determine which grade and core subject areas must have innovative benchmark assessments in order to allow teachers to more frequently measure student learning and address student learning loss throughout the school year. Now requires the State Board of Education to develop innovative benchmark assessments for use by local units (previously required to provide for and require units to implement innovative benchmark assessments). Adds that local units can either use the SBE benchmarks or develop and use their own.
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