On March 11, 2021, Congress passed a $1.9 trillion stimulus package that, among many other things, provides critical funding for public schools.
While similar to the CARES Act, this new stimulus package, called the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund, focuses on different areas of spending as it relates to state and local governments.
What is this new round of funding and how can it be applied to K-12 budgets? We looked at how the federal government applies ARP ESSER funding, specifically when it comes to education technology and learning loss at public schools around the country.
What is ARP ESSER?
The ARP ESSER Fund allocates nearly $122 billion to states and school districts. Each state will receive between $308 million and $15 billion to help schools reopen safely and provide additional support to students most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds can be used for costs dating back to March 13, 2020 and are available “for obligation” through September 30, 2023.
The U.S. Department of Education has made two-thirds of the funds—$81 billion in total—available to schools and districts in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico immediately. These funds are meant to support school efforts to get students back in the classroom safely for in–person learning, keep schools open once students are back, and address the academic, social, emotional and mental health needs of all students. The remaining one-third of the funds will be made available after states submit ESSER implementation plans.
Funds are allocated to local education agencies (LEAs) based on Title I shares. State-by-state fund allocation and guidance are here.
Applying ARP ESSER funds to education technology
Districts must use ARP ESSER funds on activities and strategies that will address the pandemic’s impact on K-12 schools. Impero helps schools directly address key areas outlined in the ARP ESSER like:
Education technology to support students and staff, including hardware, software and connectivity
Impero class:room offers robust classroom management tools to focus digital learning and help teachers support students in hybrid classrooms. Working across four operating systems (Windows, Chrome, iOS and Android), Impero class:room can be used on both school-owned or student-owned devices to ensure education continuity and greater collaboration in any learning environment.
Implementing strategies to meet the social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs of students hit hardest by the pandemic
Impero can help teachers easily identify students not keeping up with a lesson or those off task. Teachers can also record broader concerns about students in Impero back:drop. Using Impero, staff can identify and assist students who may be struggling with their academics or mental health, with a special focus on whole-student health so that schools can intervene early if necessary.
Mental health services and support
Impero can help schools proactively identify and manage pandemic-related mental health issues by offering schools a place to track online and offline concerns. This extra level of intervention offered tools like Impero well:being can help students get the help they need.
Funding crucial summer, after school and other extended learning programs including providing classroom instruction or online learning during the summer months
Help teachers make every minute of summer instruction count with tools that keep students focused and on task. Impero works across four operating systems to support managing a variety of student devices.
Additional uses as allowed related to enhancing education experience
Impero can help the education experience by providing targeted uses of technology, with features like student messaging, quick website launches, enabling and disabling internet use and others.
A detailed comparison of how school activities relate to each round of stimulus funding can be found in District Administration.
Curbing learning loss
The American Rescue Plan allocates $7 billion for schools to purchase technology, like devices and WiFi connectivity, for students. According to the NEA, this is the single largest one-time investment ever in the Federal Communications Commission’s E-rate program specifically to help schools ensure all K-12 students have an internet connection or a device adequate for distance learning at home.
Additionally, the federal bill requires that at least 5 percent of ESSER funds be reserved for activities to promote learning recovery.
Impero can help schools optimize a student’s learning environment with classroom management tools that can help teachers more quickly identify students who need help, get them on task, and provide personalized assistance. These tools can help minimize distractions so that students can more quickly recover from learning loss suffered during the pandemic.
How Impero can help
All schools should have access to great tools that can promote better learning and keep students safe, regardless of their learning environment.
Impero class:room links seamlessly with Impero well:being and Impero back:drop so that students are not only more productive in their classrooms – but they’re safe as well.
For more information on how Impero can help your school reopen safely, book a demo.