NREA Weekly Updates: May 28th, 2021

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2021 National Forum to Advance Rural Education: 113 Years of Highlighting Rural Education
2021 NREA State Affiliates: 43 States & Counting...
NREA "The Rural Voice" Podcast Series
Become A Member of NREA Join Online
Join us November 11–12, 2021, at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana. This year, the 2021 National Forum to Advance Rural Education is going hybrid, which means we will host an in-person event, and provide the option to attend virtually. A hybrid event allows attendees and presenters to select the format that works best for them.
Like always, the event is designed to create an environment for collaboration and innovation with a diverse community that includes, national experts, K–12 and higher education practitioners, leading researchers, policymakers, and philanthropic leaders.
By leading together, we can help communities innovate and leverage local assets to create meaningful learning experiences for rural students.
2021 NFARE: Register Now
2022 FY President's Budget Submission: United States Dept. of Education
2022 FY President's Budget Submission: United States Dept. of Education
The Biden-Harris Administration today submitted to Congress the President's budget for the fiscal year 2022. As the Administration continues to make progress defeating the pandemic and getting our economy back on track, the budget makes historic investments that will help the country build back better and lay the foundation for shared growth and prosperity for decades to come.
"This proposal reflects the Biden-Harris Administration's commitment to ensuring that student success remains at the heart of the Department of Education's work. It calls on Congress to prioritize the physical and mental health of students and close education equity gaps, especially in underserved communities," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. "We need to focus on not only recovering from the pandemic but also look towards our students' education after the pandemic to ensure there are improved resources to build our education system back better than before. This budget ensures all students have access to high-quality, affordable postsecondary education, while also improving career pathways for students of all ages and levels."
The budget includes the two historic plans the President has already put forward — the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan – and reinvests in education, research, public health, and other foundations of our country's strength. At the Department of Education (ED), the budget would:
  • Add at Least Four Years of Free Education. The American Families Plan will make transformational investments from early childhood to post-secondary education so that all children and young people are able to grow, learn, and gain the skills they need to succeed.
  • It will provide universal, high-quality preschool to all three- and four-year-olds, led by a well-trained and well-compensated workforce.
  • It will provide two years of free community college and invest in making college more affordable for low- and middle-income students, including students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs), and minority-serving institutions (MSIs) such as Hispanic-serving institutions and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions.
  • And, it will invest in our teachers as well as our students, improving teacher training and support so that our schools become engines of growth at every level.
  • Make Historic Investments in High Poverty Schools. Addressing entrenched disparities in education is both a moral and economic imperative. The budget proposes a historic $36.5 billion investment in grants for Title I schools, a $20 billion increase from the 2021 enacted level. This investment would provide historically under-resourced schools with the funding needed to deliver a high-quality education to all of their students, as well as meaningful incentives for states to examine and address inequities in school funding systems. These additional funds will advance the President's commitment to ensure teachers at Title I schools are paid competitively, provide equitable access to rigorous coursework, and increase access to high-quality preschool.
  • Prioritize the Physical and Mental Well-Being of Students. Recognizing the profound effect of physical and mental health on academic achievement, the budget provides $1 billion, in addition to the resources in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, to increase the number of counselors, school psychologists, nurses, and social workers in schools.
  • In addition, it provides $443 million for Full Service Community Schools, which play a critical role in providing comprehensive wrap-around services to students and their families, from afterschool to adult education opportunities, and health and nutrition services.
  • Boost Support for Children with Disabilities. The budget includes $16 billion, a historic increase of $2.7 billion over 2021 enacted, for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to support special education and related services for more than 7.6 million Pre-K through 12 students. This is a significant first step toward fully funding IDEA and supports providing a high-quality education to children with disabilities.
  • The budget also provides $732 million for early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities, funding services that have a proven record of improving academic and developmental outcomes. The $250 million increase would be paired with reforms to expand access to these services for underserved children, including children of color and children from low-income families.
Enacting the budget policies into law this year would strengthen our nation's economy and lay the foundation for shared prosperity, while also improving our nation's long-term fiscal health.
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U.S. Census Bureau: SIS Program and State Facts
U.S. Census Bureau: SIS Program and State Facts
The SIS program values its partnership with National Rural Education Association and seeks to improve our presence on your education portal. For instance, I see as part of your Weekly Newsletter there is a 50 States in 50 Weeks project featured and one of our data tools, State Facts for Students could possibly tie into this or something similar. Please let me know if you have any ideas on how we can better collaborate with your organization.
I’d also like to share the following updates about our program.
As you may already know, the U.S. Census Bureau recently released the first results from the 2020 Census, showing the resident population of the United States on April 1, 2020, was 331,449,281! The new resident population statistics for the United States, each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico are available on Check out some quick stats below and read the full release here.
  • The most populous state was California (39,538,223); the least populous was Wyoming (576,851).
  • The state that gained the most numerically since the 2010 Census was Texas (up 3,999,944 to 29,145,505).
  • The fastest-growing state since the 2010 Census was Utah (up 18.4% to 3,271,616).
World Wildlife Fund's Food Loss and Waste Team

We are writing to you on behalf of the World Wildlife Fund's Food Loss and Waste team. We run a program for K-12 schools called Food Waste Warriors that provides grants (and stipends), toolkits, and lesson plans to empower teachers and administrators in all schools to engage their students and take action on the issue of food waste.  

Food waste is an issue teachers and students confront every day, and with the incredible demands already placed on teachers, our program seeks to both compensate teachers and equip them with flexible and fully customizable resources to turn cafeterias into classrooms—helping students to conduct food waste audits in their cafeterias, advocate on the issue of food waste, and identify creative ways to reduce it.

Our new grant application cycle opens on June 1st and will close on July 20th. All applicants in any U.S. state or territory are eligible to apply for this year's grant cycle—though applicants working with schools or districts located in Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Maryland, and Washington D.C. will be prioritized to support our current food waste policy objectives. We would like to let rural schools in your network know about this grant program for the 2021-22 school year. For more details and to apply, please visit our website here.

An estimated 30-40% of food is wasted in America, while more than 41 million Americans face hunger, including nearly 13 million children. At the same time, wasting food wastes water, energy, and wildlife habitat. We started this program because schools, which serve more than 4 billion lunches per year in the US, can turn cafeterias into classrooms and measure the scale of the issue as part of a learning experience.

More information about our educator toolkits can be found here. Any further questions about the program can be sent to

Thank you for your help!

Laura Espinoza
ED ESSER-GEER Use Of Funds Guidance Is Out!
At last, the U.S. Department of Education has released its FAQ on how ESSER funding in CARES, CCRSA, and most importantly in ARP. Please take time to read the guidance. In particular, the procurement and school construction sections are quite nuanced and require a careful review. A few highlights to be aware of are listed below:
  • SEA or a State legislature may not limit an LEA’s use of ESSER formula funds
  • SEA/State may not require that CARES Act funds need to be obligated prior to obligate CRRSA Act and ARP Act funds.
  • ESSER funding can be used for new school construction, but ED cautions districts to be careful with this major investment and to make sure that it is somehow tied to preventing, preparing for, and responding to COVID-19.
  • Federal funds can be used to pay for student/staff vaccinations.
  • ESSER funds can be used for pre-K and early childhood education programs.
  • State and local education officials can't use federal pandemic relief money to shore up their "rainy day" accounts.
We provide a unique, cost-effective, top-rated Total STEM System Solution (TSSS): Academics, Robotics, and CTE, with
IMPACT services – Individualized learning, Mentoring, Performance tracking, Awards for students and teachers, Certificates from SUNY, and Teacher training, to prepare students better for STEM careers and college.

As a national and global non-profit leader in STEM & CTE education, NEF (National Education Foundation), proposes to partner with NREA to provide the following grants to your members:
1. 100% K-12 STEM+ Grants (80% grant from NEF and 20% grant from the Federal Stimulus)
2. 100% 9-12 CTE Grants (90% grant from NEF and 10% grant from the Federal Stimulus)
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The National Inventors Hall of Fame Connects World-Changing Innovators with Today’s Youth
The National Inventors Hall of Fame Connects World-Changing Innovators with Today’s Youth
To see the program in action, you can check out this link: National Connect Program
Perhaps the flyer could go out to your members for their disbursement to their constituencies.

The second item is the link below which could be included on your resources page where families might access free, easy-to-do STEM activities summer and throughout the school year.

And then lastly, this is sort of a cool thing to share as it is a grandparent talking about options
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Sharing Information From Our Partners and Sponsors:
Here are a few documents and videos you can review and share with others:
I would love the opportunity to present our platform to your member districts. Please let me know if that is possible and what I can do to help facilitate that meeting. 

Mike  Farnes
Director of North American Sales
Sales | Formative

Incredible Live Instruction by Online Tutors & Instructors
Incredible Live Instruction by Online Tutors & Instructors

All online tutors and instructors go through our rigorous vetting process and only a tiny fraction who apply ultimately make it through. Facilitating outstanding instruction is at the forefront of our work and this requires incredible tutors.
Online tutoring pairs you with the best tutor in the U.S. for your particular needs, choosing from thousands of tutors we have nationally.

1) Intro to our school programs video
2) Snapshot of our platform in action

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NREA Foundation & Research Awards Announcements
The Rural Educator


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