PPS: Our Plan for Student Investment Account Funding2/11/2020Dear PPS Families and Staff,We are in the final stages of developing our application for Student Investment Account (SIA) funding. As you might already know, the SIA is part of the Student Success Act, which was passed by the Oregon legislature last year. SIA funding is intended to address students’ mental or behavioral health needs, and increase academic achievement for students, including historically underserved students. Portland Public Schools’ SIA allocation for the 2020-21 school year will be approximately $39 million.
We have spent the last several months engaging with school communities, our administrators and educators, our Board of Education and our community partners and stakeholders. Guided by what we heard from you and aligning with our district vision, racial equity and social justice framework, and PPS strategic plan, we have decided on the key areas where we plan to allocate our SIA funds in order to provide both robust differentiated investments in our highest-needs schools, as well as added investments that attempt to reach and support students in every school in the district.
Here are some of the highlights of our SIA plan:
- More optimal student-teacher ratios & class sizes (K-12): This includes additional classroom teachers, counselors, and social workers to increase schools’ capacity to provide differentiated, more personalized academic and social emotional support to students.
- More equitable access to arts education, especially in historically underserved and under-accessed school communities: This includes increases in staffing in support of elementary and middle school levels in the Jefferson, Madison and Roosevelt clusters, a visual and performing arts Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA) position to support Master Arts Education Plan development and implementation, and funds to purchase instruments and materials.
- Curriculum materials & professional development for educators: We will purchase and implement new, high-quality instructional materials in multiple subject areas, begin adoption of a new ESL/ELD curriculum and development of a Guaranteed and Viable Curriculum for Health and Physical Education.
- Increased academic supports and targeted interventions for our most vulnerable and historically underserved students: This includes hiring additional teachers and instructional specialists at targeted schools, expansion of early education access, and culturally-specific curriculum supports to accurately present to all students the contributions of Native Americans past and present.
- Expansion of elective courses at Comprehensive Middle Schools and K-8’s: Additional staffing to support added visual & performing arts elective courses, and technology support to implement 1:1 device program in four new Verizon Innovation schools.
- Increased social emotional, mental and behavioral health supports across the district: We will improve counselor-to-student ratios at all middle schools and all targeted K-5 and K-8 schools, increase the number of social workers supporting high schools, including an increase in mental health staffing across K-5/K-8 and Multiple Pathways to Graduation schools, add school psychologists to support case management, increase contracts with culturally-specific organizations to provide mental and behavioral health support, and add Restorative Justice and Title IX positions.
- Culturally-specific student & family supports and expanded community partnerships: We will expand culturally-specific student and family engagement resources, make available additional high school wraparound services, provide more opportunities for mentorship and student leadership and expand culturally-specific enrichment activities.
This is important work, as it is critical that we maximize every dollar in the best ways to support students across our district. We will share additional details in the coming days and weeks, leading up to our formal application being presented to our Board at the end of the month. Beyond that, we look forward to implementing these new and expanded programs, interventions and initiatives for students across the district.