07/31/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/31/2020 11:56
DES MOINES - The Iowa Department of Education today announced the state has been awarded nearly $17.7 million competitive federal grant to support innovative ways to educate students during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funds will be used to help establish and support Iowa e-Learning Central, which will empower students, teachers and families by providing access to high-quality, virtual K-12 learning statewide, regardless of geographic location or the status of school closures.
'Education is a critical component for a child's development and that's why our Return to Learn plan gives schools, districts and parents the flexibility to do online and in-person learning,'
said Iowa Department of Education Director Ann Lebo. 'This funding will help us expand rigorous, virtual learning opportunities for all students across the state furthering the goals of Iowa's Return to Learn Strategy.'
The proposal includes establishing a leadership team to direct the development of the virtual learning environment, incentivizing educators to develop and use high-quality course programs, and developing foundational content and a central area for families to access their child's educational programming and other resources.
Iowa is one of 11 states awarded more than $180 million by the U.S. Department of Education to support students by overcoming challenges created by the pandemic. The Rethink K-12 Education awards ranged from $6 million to $20 million. Congress set aside 1 percent of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, to assist states with the highest coronavirus burden.
The $17.7 million award is in addition to $71.6 million Iowa received in federal relief for PK-12 schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund and the $26.2 million for the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund authorized by the CARES Act.