By Charles Sercombe
This week is part 2 of our email conversation with Hamtramck Public School District Superintendent Jaleelah Ahmed concerning the new school year during these trying coronavirus pandemic times.
Review: What can the district offer parents who find their students are having a hard time focusing on their lessons at home? What if parents can’t balance their work and student staying home to learn remote? What assistance is available to them?
Superintendent Ahmed: I understand the struggles of a working parent with three of my own children learning virtually. They are in three different schools which makes things even more complicated.
It is important to understand the expectations from the schools, discuss a plan with the children, designate space for learning, create norms, and most importantly reach out to the classroom teacher, technology department or principal if parents or students need any kind of assistance.
We know there is a lot for parents to do and we want them to know that we are available to assist and support the learning any way we can. We also have the parent engagement team that offer additional supports to our families.
We are working to make things easier for our families; we have partnerships to support our families with food, diapers, eviction assistance and so many more things.
We are truly grateful for our parents and guardians. They are true partners and we want them to know we are here for them.
Review: What is the latest information on state and federal financial aid?
Ahmed: The state has yet to approve a budget for schools. The latest information on state funding is the Return to Learn Plan.
Under this plan House Bills 5911, 5912, and 5913 would amend the State School Aid Act to direct per pupil funding for the 2020-2021 school year based on four main parameters and considerations: days, hours, enrollment, and attendance.
Per-pupil funding will be based on a new “Super Blend” formula whereby the 2019-2020 count (obtained by weighting the February 2019 count at 10% and the October 2019 count at 90%) would make up 75% of the super blend, and the 2020-2021 count (obtained by weighting the number of full-time pupils engaged in pandemic learning for fall 2020 at 90% and the February 2020 count at 10%) would make up 25%.
There are two new sources of federal funding are available for school districts:
• Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) which are available to all Michigan school districts, however, priority was given to the 332 districts identified above and as defined in MDE’s Approved Federal CARES Act Grant Proposal as serving the most disadvantaged student populations.
• Michigan was awarded a Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund grant for the purpose of providing local educational agencies (LEAs), institutions of higher education (IHEs), and other education related entities with emergency assistance as a result of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
Sept. 18, 2020