APA joined a coalition of nearly 100 organizations urging the Department of Education to issue guidance on how schools can use the emergency funding (PDF, 69KB) provided through the American Rescue Plan Act to support the mental health and social and emotional learning of students as they return to the classroom. The legislation provided an unprecedented $125 billion for K-12 education, giving school districts great flexibility on how to implement these funds. 

APA worked to secure language ensuring that a portion of the money can be used for social and emotional learning and mental health purposes. However, further guidance from the department is necessary to provide schools, particularly those serving high numbers of low-income and underrepresented students, a blueprint on how to use this allowable funding specifically to address the mental health and social and emotional needs of students. This should include recommendations on how schools can provide more professional development for staff, implement universal screenings, improve mental health literacy, institute trauma-informed practices, and increase data collection.

For more information, contact Kenneth Polishchuk.