#ARPStars Communications Toolkit

#ARPStars Communications Toolkit

The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a tremendous toll on America's schools, families, educators, and students. But because of the leadership from schools across the country, the help of President Biden, and the American Rescue Plan (ARP), districts have resources to begin to recover. Schools across the country are safely re-opened and providing additional mental health and academic supports by hiring counselors, expanding tutoring access, adding summer school programs and more.

To highlight the ambitious work of educators and communities all across the country, the Department of Education is launching the #ARPStars social media campaign, highlighting schools, states, and educators, in their own words, doing everything they can with ARP to fight COVID-19 and give students, teachers, and families the tools they need to succeed.

Thanks to you, our #ARPstars, school communities across the country are offering full-time, in-person learning and doing everything they can to help students thrive and build a better normal for our schools.

We need your help to identify and amplify how districts are using American Rescue Plan funding to deliver resources to schools, students and families, educators, and communities.

Below are communications resources that can help tell the story of recovery efforts around the country. We encourage you to share examples and voices that represent your district or state and will relate to your communities.

You have done amazing work over the past year, and we want to highlight it to parents and communities locally and across the country. If you have a story to share, you can post using the hashtag or send questions and content to ARPstars@ed.gov

You can see examples of #ARPstars content HERE

Example Social Media Posts

Getting the word out about your school community's efforts to safely re-open and address the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic through social media will help keep your community informed about what's going on in their schools. Below are examples of social media posts about the use of federal dollars to help schools safely re-open and recover from the pandemic:

  • "Princeton High School is using their ARP funds to make sure their students can stay safe in the classroom while also improving their academic programs. Their commitment to empowering students to succeed is what makes them #ARPStars!" -@SecCardona
  • "Learn how Richland County School District One in South Carolina is using ARP-HCY funds to increase the capacity of their McKinney-Vento program for the first time. Bookmark this page: https://schoolhouseconnection.org/arp-hcy/#spotlight #ARPStars #ARPStar"- @SchoolHouseConn
  • "Our chiefs are #ARPStars! They're using Covid aid to help kids catch up in their learning; to implement schedules, instructional models, and pathways that work for students; to develop great teachers; and more. @usedgov ⚡️"#ARPStars" by @chiefsforchange"- @Chiefsforchange

Video Instructions

Interested in taking your #ARPStars approach to the next level? Create videos that the U.S. Dept of Education can lift up for you, or you can post on your own, featuring students, educators and members of the school community. The total video should be no longer than 60 seconds; if you send us the individual pieces, we can edit the story together for you. Follow the simple instructions below to create a great video showcasing all your hard work. A sample of a completed video can be found here.

Once complete, you could post a video on your own using the hashtag or upload the content to a filesharing site (e.g., Google Drive, Box, etc.) or a YouTube link and e-mail it to ARPstars@ed.gov.

  1. A clip around 20 seconds long with someone speaking to camera with the following points:
    • Naming themselves, the school and the city and state
    • What ARP funds were used on
    • How it's helping the students at school
  2. At least two 10-second video clips of the exterior of the school (no audio needed)
    • Just outside of school, preferably with a sign or something that says the name of the school
  3. At least two 10-second video clips depicting what ARP funds were spent on (no audio needed)
    • For example, if funds were spent on filters, then perhaps showing us the room that the filtration units are in, and then a close up of the AC units in a class
  4. At least two 10-second video clips of different classroom activities (no audio needed)
    • Can just be kids in classroom setting, them paying attention to a lesson, or perhaps something more visually stimulating like playtime or hand-on activity.
    • If these clips are indoors, all students and those in the classroom should be adhering to CDC guidance on masking.

Sample Video Key Points

  • Identify yourself, your position, and your school and district.
  • Share how your school has used ARP funds, including how ARP funds have helped address students' social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs.
  • Show the viewer the impact the ARP dollars are having on your school community

#ARPstars Letters to the Editor (keep between 300-500 words):

With the American Rescue Plan, schools across the country received an unprecedented amount of funds to not just get back from the pandemic but build a better future. Communicating how and where those funds are being used with parents, fellow educators, and the community at-large is a crucial part of an effective and engaged school community. You've done the work -- engaged with stakeholders, parents, teachers, and support staff, to efficiently and effectively spend and plan for the future with these dollars. An open letter to the community is a great way to share the results.

An open letter can come in many forms. Letters can be sent to local newspapers, directly to parents, to community leaders and partner organizations and more. Letters should be personal, demonstrate shared values of the school community, and let the community know what the school is doing to elevate those values.

An effective letter will include a brief introduction, an anecdote about the school's use of federal American Rescue Plan funds and include plans and a vision for the future of the school community.

Key Points for an effective open letter:

  • Introduce yourself and your school community to the audience
  • Identify how you are using ARP funds to help students, educators, families, and whole school communities recover
  • Provide 2-3 concrete examples of how you are using ARP dollar to provide additional academic and mental health supports for students
  • In conclusion, recap the effect COVID-19 had on your school community and how the American Rescue Plan made a difference as we enter recovery.

Spreading the word about use of federal funds through traditional media:

Getting the word out about your school community's efforts to safely re-open and address the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic through traditional media will help keep your community informed about what's going on in their schools. Below are examples of effective stories about the use of federal dollars to help safely re-open schools, address the impact of lost instructional time on all students, and close the opportunity gaps for underserved students that have been made worse during this period in support of the broader goal of all children thriving:

Asheville City Schools in North Carolina used their ARP funds to provide bonuses to staff. By highlighting and rewarding the hard work of teachers and support staff, the Asheville City Schools community is demonstrating their gratitude for the dedication of educators over the course of the pandemic. Read more from WLOS: 3,000-$3,500 bonuses head to some Asheville City Schools employees

Noble County Oklahoma YMCA highlighted their American Rescue Plan funded free or low-priced summer day camps for area kids. These camps strove to help address the social emotional fallout of the pandemic. Read more at: American Rescue Plan Funds Flow To Summer Out-Of-School Programs

Saint Paul Public Schools in Minnesota announced final approval for their use of American Rescue Plan funds. The school system will be hiring additional counselors and social workers at schools and strengthening mental health support for students and staff. View their press release Saint Paul Public Schools Receives Final Approval for American Rescue Plan

Kelley Lake Elementary School used funds from the American Rescue Plan to improve their ventilation system before the new school year began as seen in WABE: 'Infrastructure is Equity': U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Tours DeKalb Elementary School