COLUMBIA, S.C. — The effects of the coronavirus pandemic hit K-12 students hard. Periods of quarantine and learning from home has caused a learning loss, especially in disadvantaged communities where high-speed internet connections necessary for remote learning were practically non-existent.
In an effort to overcome COVID-19 related learning loss, the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and the South Carolina Afterschool Alliance (SCAA) have partnered to provide up to $14.5 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding to expand summer and after-school programs.
School districts and community programs throughout the state will be selected through a grants process to create or expand after-school programs and will receive professional development and a tiered system of support to minimize learning loss. Data collected by SCAA will be provided to the district for evaluation and sustainability.
An additional $1 million will be provided to support the expansion of the Columba Urban League's Equity and Excellence in Education program statewide. This program aims to significantly close the achievement gap by identifying and providing academic-related resources and support to parents and caregivers of students of color and/or economically disadvantaged students.
Also, $1.5 million in funds will go to support after-school programs provided by Wings for Kids, a non-profit after-school program that provides disadvantaged youth with access to high-quality social and emotional learning experiences. The ESSER funds will go to manage and implement a pilot project for five K–5 programs in Title One elementary schools serving 500 students in the most impoverished neighborhoods in South Carolina.
The partnership between the SCDE and the SCAA will run through September 2024.