The Foothills School Division has hired 21 more people to help students in grades two and three.

Assistant Superintendent of Learning Services, Caroline Roberts says they're working to fill in the gaps some students might have fallen through during the pandemic.

"The Province announced, back in November, a learning disruptions grant that was being made available for school authorities to make application for and we saw that as a great opportunity to support student learning," she explained. "The focus of the grant is literacy and numeracy and specifically in the early years, so that was grades one, two and three and so the first application was for students in grades two and three and then we just submitted our application for these grant dollars for our grade one students."

She says it's about addressing disruptions in learning brought on by the pandemic to set the students up for success not only for this year but in future years as well.

They received $373,000 through the special Alberta Education Grant and started by identifying the students most in need.

"With those dollars we went forward with a plan to support those students by having as much support in the schools as we could so we hired two teachers to oversee this numeracy and literacy intervention program and then we hire 19 Educational Assistants that were then embedded with all of out kindergarten to grade six schools, because what's most important is there's that consistence of that intervention with those students on a regular basis, Roberts says.

Fourteen of the assistants are full-time and five are part-time.

They're also moving ahead with the program to help grade one students while they await word on a $100,000 grant application.

In total the division will spend $673,000 on the project with 373-thousand coming from the province in the form of a grant.