Comprehensive Distance Learning Grant Program Announcement

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

Comprehensive Distance Learning Grant Program 

The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is pleased to announce it will make $28.1 million available to school districts through a new grant program to help support Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) for the upcoming school year. In the face of the pandemic, it has become clear that one of the greatest challenges will be how to effectively reopen schools. While this is the shared goal of all, it may be impossible to do this safely, which will require an alternative hybrid or comprehensive distance learning model. In addition, even with the ability to safely reopen schools, the unpredictability of the pandemic may require schools to shift their education model into distance learning.

Through the Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) Grant Program, ODE will use a combination of CARES Act Funding from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund ($20 million), Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief Fund ($6.5 million), and the Coronavirus Relief Fund ($1.6 million), to provide formula grants to address critical student needs and overcome current barriers faced by Oregon schools in successfully implementing and maintaining continuous distance learning. 

In developing a model to allocate the funding, ODE has created a funding formula that recognizes the total student population in each school district, but at the same time ensures equal weighting towards districts that face disproportionate impacts due to low income levels, geographic remote locations, and larger populations of migrant students. The allocation model will provide all 197 school districts with a funding award that uses data from the State School Fund that represent the size of the district Average Daily Membership (ADM), severity of district poverty, population size of English Language Learners (ELL), and rural, remote small schools. The first three data points have similar weighting in the allocation formula and drive approximately 80% of the overall weighting with the 20% balance driven by rural district weighting.   

ODE, as required by the CARES Act, must collect applications from school districts or an identified lead that outlines how it plans to use the funding during the 2020-21 school year.  School districts will apply either individually, as a consortium with a lead district, or as multiple districts with an Education Service District as the lead. The funding may be used on any one or a combination of five categories that include:

  • Access and Connectivity: Adequate infrastructure and/or services that enable internet access and connectivity for student learning;
  • Student and Teacher Devices: Appropriate, user friendly, and accessible devices for all students and teachers to navigate through distance learning curriculums and programs of study;
  • Digital Content and Curriculum: High quality, adaptable, culturally responsive, and effective digital learning curriculums and content that fosters all student learning and engagement;
  • Learning Management Systems: Online technology that allows educators to successfully deliver their teaching content and lessons; and
  • Professional Learning for Educators: Various supports and training that ensure effective use of all digital learning tools.

The grant funding will be available for eligible expenses for the period July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021. ODE  plans to release the district allocations later this week and anticipates opening up the application process by Monday, August 10. The current plan calls for a three week open process to apply with the end date being August 31. All grant agreements would be executed in early September at which time the funding would become available through the Electronic Grants Management System.

ODE will be administering the CDL Grant Program through the Office of Finance and Information Technology, with technical assistance on district planning being supplied through the Digital Learning Team from the Office of Teaching, Learning, and Assessment.  For questions specific to this program, please contact Mike Wiltfong or Carla Wade.