On Thursday, December 10, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Education announced a $2.5 million grant to implement, scale-up and enhance evidence-based interventions that accelerate students’ academic progress and reduce learning loss among New Jersey students that has resulted from school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The “Addressing Student Learning Loss” grants will fund programs in public schools, including charter and renaissance schools across 16 districts. These 16 districts will receive up to approximately $156,500 per award using funding that the New Jersey Department of Education (Department) set aside in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds for targeted initiatives.

“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, learning loss among our students is one of the most significant challenges faced by schools throughout New Jersey,” said Governor Murphy. “With this program, among other efforts from the Department, we are committed to closing the gap for vulnerable students who may have fallen behind by helping districts implement exemplar programs in their own schools as well as providing additional resources to ensure that every student receives the high-quality education that they deserve.”

While districts throughout New Jersey have been implementing programs with local, state and federal funds to accelerate learning, the new grant program will allow districts to expand existing programs or implement new initiatives. The Department will showcase the successful model programs as exemplars that other districts may want to emulate.

“The New Jersey Department of Education is committed to working with districts in this crucial endeavor to advance student learning in all New Jersey schools,” said Acting Education Commissioner Angelica Allen-McMillan, Ed.D. “We know that mitigating the effects of learning loss is not a one-time fix. Rather, this grant signifies the Department’s growing commitment to enhancing the suite of tools and supports we provide districts to measure, remediate, and prevent gaps in student learning resulting from COVID-19.”

The grant will fund evidence-based interventions or instructional strategies in math and/or English language arts, and/or social-emotional learning supports to address learning loss. The grant also provides recommended strategies that schools may choose to adopt during the 17-month initiative, which could take the form of programs such as extensive individual or small group tutoring or interventions, after-school or summer programs, access to online learning platforms or coaching for teachers.

Interested applicants have until January 21, 2021 to apply for the grant. The full Addressing Student Learning Loss grant can be viewed on the Department’s Grant Opportunities webpage.