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The First Round of ESSER Funding is Ending on September 30th. Are You Ready?

Tuesday, 02 August 2022 10:05

Millions of dollars are being pumped into school and out-of-school time (OST) programs by the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund, allowing those programs to make enormous headway into addressing learning loss caused by the pandemic. Schools are tasked with ensuring that all students, both in classrooms and in out-of-school time programs, can access effective learning as well as have support for social, emotional, and mental health needs. Specific to afterschool, it addresses planning and implementing activities related to supplemental afterschool programs and summer learning enrichment to address learning loss. 

But, that first round of funding—ESSER I—must be spent by September 30th. Are you ready?

Finding the Sweet Spot
The key for OST programs is finding content that aligns with ESSER funding requirements but that are also easy to use, effective, and (most importantly) fun for students. Afterschool programs across the country are successfully using The Walking Classroom to supplement learning, improve student engagement, build healthy habits, and support social and emotional learning.

Tiffany Herndon, an afterschool site coordinator in Georgia said this about The Walking Classroom. “We have seen improvement in their engagement, participation, and enthusiasm for learning — and it couldn't have come at a better time!”

Fresh Air and Exercise + Supplemental Learning That’s Fun = Happier Kids
The Walking Classroom, a nonprofit program that perfectly aligns to ESSER funding requirements, offers almost 200 kid-friendly educational podcasts on language arts, social studies, and science that kids listen to while they walk. The program builds core content knowledge while boosting physical fitness, health literacy, and social and emotional learning. Best of all, students love it.

Boosting Learning
Because it increases engagement and differentiates instruction, The Walking Classroom helps students learn more, retain information longer, and perform better on cognitive tests. Educators report higher test scores, improved attendance on Walking Classroom days, better behavior, and improved motivation to learn.

Educator Stacy Mitchell-King said, “This program has really helped me reach students and differentiate learning.”

Triton, a 5th grader from WV said, “I love The Walking Classroom because I'm learning and walking. I learn a lot from it, and it also helps me understand things better.”

Supporting Social and Emotional Learning
Each 15-minute podcast begins with a brief health message to build health literacy and weaves a character value (empathy, confidence, respect, perseverance, etc.) throughout the podcast narrative to support social and emotional learning. Lesson plans guide educators in helping student understanding.

“I have nothing but praise for the program, content, etc. I often want to take a walk by myself and listen to some of the podcasts as a stress reliever and as a way to brush up on my grammar/history/etc! I'm grateful for the opportunity to bring this program to my afterschool students!” Shannon Messick, Community Education Coordinator in PA.

Learn how The Walking Classroom provides a fun way for students in afterschool to get supplemental academic instruction, fresh air and exercise, and improved mental health.

Written by Lee Ann Obringer, Communications Manager for The Walking Classroom, a program of Alliance for a Healthier Generation