While states and districts are still learning more about ESSER II, many schools and districts are looking for tips to maximizing their funding. Find out ways to do that here!
Quick Description of ESSER II:
According to the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, on December 27, 2020 Congress approved “$54.3 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II Fund)” to be awarded to states in the same proportion as Title I fund distributions. You can read more here.
What does this mean for schools and districts?
Schools and districts will soon receive A LOT of money. Leaders will have competing commitments for how to best use these funds. And with schools and districts wrestling with sometimes decreasing enrollment, high rates of teacher turnover, and more significant needs than ever, even a lot of money can feel insufficient.
So what are some tips on how to spend this money?
With needs so vast and since ESSER II is a one-time drop of money, leaders will want to maximize impact with their investments. (Here are some tips for maximizing budgetary impact from our colleague Christine Fisher, who led Forecasting and Budgeting for the Tide Brand at Proctor & Gamble.)
With ESSER II, the name of the game is LEVERAGE!
The highest leverage way to use the money is on items that will allow your district to grow enrollment, and to engage families, students and teachers in systems that will have impacts beyond the immediate future.
Here are our top recommendations on how to spend ESSER II funds.
1 -Family Engagement: Many districts have lost, or lost track of, unprecedented numbers of students and families during this time. Districts and schools simply cannot exist in the future without students and families within them. That’s why we recommend using ESSER funds for a platform, like Possip, that allows you to easily hear from families, respond to their needs, solicit their praise and ideas, and simplify your communication with them.
2 – Staff Engagement: Similarly, teacher and staff turnover has reached unprecedented rates this year. Schools cannot run without teachers – and great teachers at that. Many teachers have left during this time citing burnout, lack of respect, and not having their voices heard. Again, having a system like Possip where administrators and decision-makers can easily hear from teachers and staff is critical.
3 – Academic Supports and Interventions: School partners are looking to fill significant gaps. Research shows students are likely to have lost up to 9 months of Math learning loss. There are a diversity of ways schools and districts are looking to close these gaps:
- Extended school year for summer learning
- Additional tutoring or reading interventions
- Online academic supports and intervention tools
- Additional technology supports (hardware or software)
- Strong curriculum and implementation supports
While it may be surprising that we put Family and Staff Engagement before this – the reality is without the engagement and support of families and staff, academic supports and interventions will not reach their maximum potential. Possip has helped many schools identify and solve existing technology needs, and get valuable insight about learning supports and interventions.
We recommend using ESSER II funds strategically. We believe platforms like Possip – or other engagement tools – can be an important first step.