Today, State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and the South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) were notified that South Carolina is a recipient of $15,049,608 in funding for the Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
"The emergency remote learning that took place as a result of COVID-19 school closures brought to light disparities in our school communities that made student learning difficult in the pandemic environment," said State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman. "The Rethink K12 grant will allow our state to address and overcome these challenges not only in the upcoming school year but also in the long term. I am excited about the new doors that will be opened for our students, parents, and educators as a result of this grant and am appreciate of the partnerships that made it possible."
Congress set aside 1% of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for grants to states with the highest coronavirus burden. The U.S. Department of Education announced the Rethink K-12 Education Models grant competition in April 2020, inviting any state educational agency to apply. The program supports new, innovative ways to access education with an emphasis on meeting students’ needs during the coronavirus national emergency. Applications were evaluated by a panel of independent peer reviewers, and the highest-scoring applications received funding. Given the nature of the national emergency, states with the highest coronavirus burden were prioritized.
South Carolina's application, titled Return to Learn: Delivery Quality Instruction Virtually Anywhere, once carried out, will:
- Increase availability of remote learning resources to students and teachers in areas of SC that lack broadband access;
Improve education resources for specific, identified gaps by developing and curatingengaging, high-quality content;
Increase teacher experience, confidence, and proficiency with remote learning technology and resources;
- Improve communication between families, teachers, and schools to support remote learning.
The SCDE is partnering with the South Carolina Education Oversight Committee, South Carolina Educational Television, and private industry to carry out the grant activities.