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U.S. Department of Education releases back-to-school checklist for parents

Department provides resource for parents and families

Back-to-school checklist for parents

Today, the Department of Education released a back-to-school checklist for parents and families. The checklist, part of the Department’s updated back-to-school resource site, will help parents, caregivers, and families engage with local school and district leaders about how they are supporting students as they recover from the impacts of the pandemic. This checklist elevates key evidence-based practices for supporting students’ learning and mental health, and ensuring the safety of students and staff, which districts are encouraged to implement using American Rescue Plan and other COVID relief funds.

This back-to-school ARP checklist also recognizes 15 promising examples of how states and school districts across the country are already using federal ARP funds to support students and to staff schools.

Through the ARP, the Biden-Harris Administration provided states and school districts with $130 billion to help students recover, succeed, and thrive. The checklist will serve as a resource for parents, caregivers, and families to have an open dialogue with their school community about these critical funds. To foster transparency and community engagement, the ARP requires states, local districts, and public charter schools to have meaningful stakeholder engagement and publicly post their planned use of ARP dollars. This checklist can support those efforts.

“A new school year brings new beginnings, and today I am encouraging schools and families to reach a new level of communication and transparency to make sure our students and educators are getting the supports they need,” said Secretary Miguel Cardona. “The checklist offers a starting point for parents, caregivers, and families to have meaningful discussions with school leaders about how they are supporting students, including with American Rescue Plan funds. The checklist can kickstart conversations about the services and supports that children can benefit from in this new academic year and beyond.”

READ MORE: Back-to-school tips for parents and children

When President Biden took office, less than half of K-12 schools were open for in-person learning. Since then, with the help of ARP dollars, schools have safely reopened with improved safety measures, programs to help students grow academically, and new supports for students’ mental health and other basic needs.

Secretary Cardona joined a press call with White House officials, members of Congress, and local educators whose districts are among those being featured in order to encourage parents and families to use this checklist and discuss how the ARP is providing unprecedented resources for a successful and safe school year.

The checklist is broken into four categories:

  • Student learning
  • Addressing the needs of the whole child
  • COVID-19 health and safety
  • Engaging families

The states and school districts being recognized for their efforts utilizing ARP funds are:

  • Arkansas
  • Iowa
  • Mississippi
  • Puerto Rico
  • Tennessee
  • Aurora Public Schools in Colorado
  • Denver Public Schools in Colorado
  • Detroit Public Schools in Michigan
  • Gaston County Schools in North Carolina
  • Guilford County Schools in North Carolina
  • Houston Independent School District in Texas
  • Jefferson County Public Schools in Kentucky
  • New York City Department of Education
  • Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota
  • Santa Fe Public Schools in New Mexico

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