February 11, 2022
By: Dwayne Page
The Tennessee Department of Education has announced that the DeKalb County School System is among 68 districts that have received statewide recognition as Best for All Districts for significantly investing federal COVID-19 stimulus funding to drive student achievement and improving academic outcomes.
Best for All Districts will receive financial, operational, celebratory, and resource benefits in appreciation for districts’ planned investments to spend their share of the $3.58 billion in federal COVID-19 relief and stimulus funding directly on services, resources and supports that will help students achieve academically. Governor Bill Lee announced a Day of Recognition in honor of Best for All Districts on Friday, February 11, 2022. Additionally, each Best for All district was awarded grant funds from the department’s ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) funds, with the full grant funding for Best for All Districts totaling more than $15 million. DeKalb County’s allocation is $200,000.
“Tennessee’s ‘Best For All’ districts have gone above and beyond to invest strategically in student achievement, address learning loss, and drive positive outcomes,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “As we continue to prioritize students, I commend each of these high-performing districts for their hard work and thank our teachers and administrators for their commitment to providing high-quality education across Tennessee.”
“Tennessee’s Best for All districts are truly deserving of this recognition for their strong commitment to strategically investing in their students at a time when there were literally billions of other opportunities to spend,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “Our kids deserve the best possible education we can provide them, and I am proud to honor our Best for All districts for their leadership in putting a clear focus on academic achievement to help them succeed.”
Beginning in 2020, the U.S. Congress responded to the global COVID-19 health pandemic by passing several pieces of legislation, and as a result Tennessee is benefitting from over $4.5 billion for K-12 education to be spent between spring 2020 and fall 2024. Through three rounds of funding referred to as ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) 1.0, 2.0 and 3.0 funds, over $3.58 billion will flow directly to local school districts to decide how to spend.
The department understands the importance of rewarding investments in mission-critical initiatives that are most likely to benefit students. Best for All Districts are those entities that have strategically planned for and invested in ways that are likely to accelerate student achievement. To qualify for the Best for All recognition program, a district must have planned to spend an amount equal to or more than 50% of its ESSER 3.0 award amount on strategies to raise student academic achievement, as well as opted to participate in the state’s high-dosage, low-ratio tutoring program, TN ALL Corps.