U.S. Secretary of Education to Visit RSU 21 on Monday, April 11, 2022
U.S. Secretary of Education Dr. Miguel Cardona will visit RSU 21 on Monday, April 11, Superintendent Dr. Terri Cooper announced today. “We’re honored that our nation’s top education leader has chosen to visit RSU 21 on his visit to Maine to learn more about our work.”
On Monday, Cardona will meet with RSU 21 school bus drivers at a roundtable in Kennebunk to listen to and discuss how federal COVID funds have helped school districts navigate the pandemic. “Like all of our dedicated staff, we are proud of our bus drivers, mechanics and bus aides who have helped keep students safe in school and on the bus throughout the pandemic,” said Cooper.
Dr. Cooper has applied for and received emergency pandemic funding for RSU 21 through the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds. “We were able to purchase new school buses using the federal aid, which gave us more flexibility to meet the unique transportation challenges during the pandemic,” said Cooper, “without having to use any local taxpayer monies.”
In February, Cooper was able to apply for and receive federal funds to pay a $500 bonus to all full-time RSU 21 staff. “We were pleased to be able to recognize the extraordinary contributions of our teachers, educational technicians, maintenance, transportation, nutrition, and administrative staff with premium pay for their service throughout the pandemic.” In addition, Cooper secured federal funds to pay for the district’s new summer boost program for students, new website, human resources management system, and the hiring of new allied arts teachers and an educational recovery officer. "With these federal funds, we were able to increase our support for the arts and increase teacher planning time and professional development, all of which directly benefits our students," said Cooper.
A former elementary school teacher and principal in Connecticut, Cardona became the 12th Secretary of Education in 2021. Since joining the White House cabinet, Cardona has been working with schools across the country to support students and staff through the pandemic response and recovery.
According to the Department of Education’s website, Cardona is focused on strategies to help students make up for lost instructional time, access the mental health supports they need, help districts invest in educators, and make improvements in our nation’s education system to address inequities that existed long before the pandemic.
After visiting RSU 21, Dr. Cardona will travel to York County Community College.
Photo caption: Dr. Miguel Cardona, United States Secretary of Education. Photo courtesy of U.S. Department of Education.