SISD accepted $41.8 million in state grants to combat student learning loss due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in a unanimous vote from trustees Dec. 14.

The Texas COVID-19 Learning Acceleration Supports are a series of grants provided by the Texas Education Agency to Texas school districts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. TCLAS are available in 10 sections, each coordinating with a different area of improvement and amount of money, according to TEA.

“This is our work that we've been really talking about last year; as our children started to trickle back in, we realized that there was a huge learning loss,” said Lupita Hinojosa, chief of innovation and equity. “Some people call that COVID[-19] slide.”

The available TCLAS funding for school districts totals $1.4 billion, according to TEA. The grants became available in July, and the district applied for it in September, Hinojosa said.

“At the state level with this grant, they're focusing again on strategic planning and performance management, on making sure that school districts had high-quality instructional materials, that school districts were investing money and ... supporting teachers,” Hinojosa said.

SISD opted to accept eight of the TCLAS sections, according to Hinojosa, which will fund training and education for teachers and paraprofessionals, as well as access to additional curriculum materials for students.

Other sections of the TCLAS grants SISD accepted include tutoring support and designing the school year calendar. Two options for SISD’s 2022-23 school calendar will be available for the public to review in January, Superintendent Rodney Watson said Dec. 14.

SISD opted not to accept two parts of the TCLAS offerings that pertained to lengthening the district’s summer school program and redesigning a school or creating a new one. These two sections did not align with the district’s vision, Hinojosa said.