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American Rescue Plan

April 14, 2021

Afterschool Arts Education can Benefit from American Rescue Plan

Thanks to the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Congress passed in March, a fantastic opportunity is available for cultural non-profits and teaching artists to partner with schools to provide after-school or summer camp enrichment programs for students.  This latest round of COVID relief for education, ESSER III (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) calls for 20% of funds to go towards learning.  This is new.  In ESSER I and II, funds mostly covered direct prevention measures such as sanitation, air quality upgrades, facility/ space restructuring, and technology.  Also, ESSER III offers at least twice as much funding as before.  For Maine, this means over $82 million, 20% of our State’s allocation, needs to address “learning-loss.”

Dance education program Central School, South Berwick

We know that students have suffered in many ways from the COVID disruption to their learning, and the loss of opportunities for creative self-expression may be amongst the hardest.   In-person singing or making music, collaborating on art pieces, performing dance, theater or spoken word — together – has been non-existent or greatly altered this year, despite teachers’ best efforts.

Studies show that the arts inherently provide social and emotional learning, so critical at this time.

Now is the time to reach out to your local schools.  They are crafting programs themselves, arranging to bring subcontractors in, or a combination and welcome partnering to address students’ learning needs. 

The Maine Department of Education is also providing a webinar on the subject on Tuesday, April 20th at 2 pm.  To learn more about this event and to register, click here.   More information can also be found here from EdNotes or here from the Afterschool Alliance.  Readers are also invited to contact Martha Piscuskas, Director of Arts Education at the Maine Arts Commission to discuss further: martha.piscuskas@maine.gov

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