Plan for use of ARP-ESSER funds at Melmark

As part of the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Relief Plan (ARP ESSER), Melmark was allocated $211,262 in funding to address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on student learning and well-being. 


Our plan for the use of funds is focused on minimizing disruptions to student routine. Research shows that for children with disabilities, especially those with moderate to severe autism, one of the strategies that works best is a structured routine (How COVID-19 Has Affected Special Education Students | Tufts Now).  It is critical to minimize disruption for learning to occur.  Many of our students require one-on-one assistance in the classroom. The disruption caused by staff turnover must be minimized to maintain the social and emotional well-being of our students and to keep them engaged in active learning. 


To implement the plan, Melmark will use ARP-ESSER funding to enhance current staff recruitment and retention efforts, which include financial, education/training benefits and improved quality of work conditions. Our goal is to retain Education staff, reducing the turnover rate and creating greater stability for the students.  


Recruitment and retention efforts include the following:


Melmark offers sign-on bonuses for new staff and referral bonuses to current staff who refer qualified applicants. Our employees also benefit from a reduced lunch program, financial ‘stay’ incentive, a holiday (December) bonus and a wage initiative that allows us to pay a slightly higher hourly wage than other Approved Private Schools. Educational benefits include a tuition assistance program, loan repayment benefits, and BCBA credentialing and supervision. Increases to these existing benefits will help to retain existing staff and attract new applicants to fill vacancies.  Melmark also offers competitive medical benefits and pension plan contributions and 403B matches. Our new school building is a safe, state-of-the-art facility.


Parents and caregivers may comment upon this planned use of funds via email to advancementops@Melmark.org.


If needed, Melmark can present this information in an alternative format upon request by a parent or caregiver who is an individual with a disability.