EANS FUNDING: WHAT WE KNOW
There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has been an incredible disruption to schools. As our political leaders look for ways to support students and schools as they get back on track after this disruption, funding options have been made available to help. This includes the recent earmarking of $2.75 billion dollars as Emergency Assistance for Nonpublic Schools (EANS).
How to Apply for EANS Funds
EANS funding is available in many states. In order to become eligible, state governors first need to apply for this federal source of money, and in most states a designated distribution organization serve as the official recipient of federal funds in order to exempt nonpublic schools from federal oversight.
There are twelve purposes for which these funds can be used: the first half of the list is focused on personal protective equipment and other safety measures, and the second half of the list is focused on addressing learning loss for students due to Covid-19. Amounts will vary by state, and schools applying for the second round of PPP loans right now are not eligible. However, this is an incredible, and an incredibly rare opportunity for Christ-centered schools to invest in support services that will impact their viability and resources for serving students of wider abilities for many years to come.
Demonstrating Learning Loss
As the saying goes, never waste a crisis. I would add that right now, don’t waste the chance to make an investment that will benefit your school and your students, especially students of varying abilities. If you are one of the schools who saw a boost in enrollment due to opening in person and increasing support services, you have already seen the positive benefits of meeting students’ learning needs. This EANS funding provides an opportunity to build on that trend. If you have always wanted to implement a robust, multi-tiered system of supports to enroll whole families, now is the time.
Addressing learning loss due to the pandemic will be best accomplished as part of a multi-tiered system of supports and interventions that designs support services based on knowing the needs of individual students. Addressing and individualizing learning supports is the role of educational support services within a school. One of the qualifying uses of these funds even specifies that schools may use these funds ‘to maintain or sustain support services’ for students who experienced learning loss.
Using EANS Funds for Inclusive Education in Non-Public Schools
One of my largest concerns as I talk with administrators about how to use this source of funding is that it may be spent on items that are temporary in nature, that are ancillary to the future of the school. But investments in support services grow the entire school community, aligning actions with the school’s mission in an incredibly impactful and long-lasting way. To ensure the longevity of this investment, we must think beyond traditional professional development days and rather consider ways to support the learning journey of a school community as it begins to understand students in new and Christ-like ways.
The timelines in which nonpublic schools must apply for these funds is brief, especially considering that schools may be spending these funds through the 2023-2024 school year. If you want to learn more, contact your state education agency, or visit the All Belong EANS information page. Consider ways you might be able to use this opportunity to serve students of all abilities well into the future.
If you are already down the road of inclusive education and supporting students of all abilities in your school, consider some additional investment ideas that will not only address learning loss but also provide new resources for your team in years to come. Partnering with All Belong is eligible for EANS funding in most states, as are the following resources and more:
- Social-emotional learning curriculums
- Benchmarking assessments and universal screeners
- Alternative curriculum for students with intellectual disabilities
- Achievement testing materials and protocols
- Comprehensive educational evaluations
At All Belong, we want to ensure that you have the confidence, partnership, and resources to serve students of all abilities and foster faithful communities of belonging. We would love to partner with you; and even more, we would love to see your school grow in meeting the needs of students with a wide diversity of ability. Consider using EANS funds to start or continue your journey of building a robust inclusive education program at your school. Find out more by going to our website or contacting us.
Elizabeth Lucas Dombrowski is the Executive Director at All Belong Center for Inclusive Education
Please note that this blog does not constitute legal advice, nor is All Belong an organization that provides legal advice. Explore the rules in your state, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions at 616-245-8388 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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