Recommendations for American Rescue Plan Act Funding to Accelerate STEM in Nevada’s Schools
Nevada Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted inequities impacting minorities and special populations, and we’ve seen learning loss across all student groups. Innovators are using this moment in time as an opportunity to evaluate traditional educational values and procedures and refocus on effective instructional strategies and best practices. STEM instruction more effectively engages students and fosters well-rounded growth for all learners than traditional instruction can. Qualities of STEM, such as integrated and complex authentic problem solving as well as a celebration of innovation and divergent thinking, allow diverse students to access the learning and find their strengths and interests. STEM education and industry also strengthens the economy, crucial post-pandemic.
U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education Cindy Marten: "As we work to reopen schools this summer and fall, we have an opportunity and responsibility to reflect on teaching and learning, best practices, and what did and didn’t work when we all had to rethink what it meant to be a student, teacher, principal, and more, and we had to do this at a moment’s notice, almost a year and a half ago. Now, with the benefit of hindsight, and the luxury of foresight, we will build back better, with urgency, intentionality, and joy, in the service of every student."
The American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund, signed by President Biden on March 11, 2021, provides close to $122 billion to States and school districts to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 on our communities. Local educational agencies (LEAs) have the flexibility to use ARP funds in ways to address such inequities and learning loss specific to their community. The State of Nevada Every Nevadan Recovery Framework prioritizes education: “The pandemic exposed existing inequities in Nevada’s public education system. Our recovery efforts must focus on reimagining education in Nevada, including how we bridge the digital divide, train and equip our educators for success, and rethink curricula to provide students with the knowledge and skills to adapt and succeed. The American Rescue Plan includes over $1 billion in direct relief for K-12 schools in Nevada.”
The Nevada Governor’s Office of Science, Innovation and Technology recommends the following evidence-based uses of ARP funds by LEAs to enhance STEM as a means for addressing inequity and learning loss among Nevada’s students.
High-quality professional learning for teachers around key STEM attributes:
- Equity in STEM
- 3D learning
- Authentic community-based problem solving
- Engineering design process
- Integrated education
- Allocations for site-based STEM or STEAM specialists to train and coach teachers in STEM.
- Extra-duty pay/stipends/substitutes for learning about, planning for, and reflecting on high-quality STEM instruction.
- Costs associated with acquiring and preparing to use programs from OSIT’s STEMList of recommended high-quality STEM programs, such as Project Lead the Way.
- Costs associated with developing and implementing STEM opportunities specifically for under-engaged populations, such as Girls Who Code.
- Costs associated with developing and implementing partnerships with local STEM industry or/and informal STEM learning providers, such as Sierra Nevada Journeys.
- Costs for developing and implementing initiatives for engaging families in STEM learning, such as hosting STEM festivals.
For further information about these recommendations, or if you have any questions, please contact OSIT by emailing T.Howard@gov.nv.gov.
 Learning loss due to school closures during the COVID-19 pandemic. Per Engzell, Arun Frey, Mark D. Verhagen. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Apr 2021, 118 (17) e2022376118; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2022376118
 Fullan, M. and Langworthy, M. “A Rich Seam: How New Pedagogies Find Deep Learning,” London: Pearson, 2014.
 U.S. Department of Education. (2021, June 22). ICYMI: U.S. Department of Education Prioritizes Advancing Equity in First Installment of Equity Summit Series [Press Release]. Retrieved from https://www.ed.gov/news/press-releases/icymi-us-department-education-prioritizes-advancing-equity-first-installment-equity-summit-series
 State of Nevada. (2021). Every Nevadan Recovery Framework: State of Nevada strategic planning for American Rescue Plan funding. Retrieved from https://nvhealthresponse.nv.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Every-Nevadan-Recovery-Framework_final.pdf.