How State Education Agencies are Leveraging Federal COVID Relief Funds

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Aided by a historic federal investment, state and local education systems are transitioning from responding to the immediate urgency of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to implementing prevention and academic recovery strategies 

Below are examples of how states are leveraging federal emergency relief funds to improve education for all students. You can find information on all of CCSSO's Coronavirus recovery resources here

Investments in Tutoring 

  • Arkansas Tutoring Corps: The Arkansas Department of Education and the Office of Education Renewal Zones announced the launch of the Arkansas Tutoring Corps to serve the academic needs of students across the state. The goals of the Arkansas Tutoring Corps are three-fold; (1) To build a system of recruiting and training tutors who are equipped to meet the academic needs of students in their geographic area (2) To expand the Arkansas Tutoring Corps across the state and (3) To connect tutors with organizations serving students with academic needs in Arkansas for employment as tutors.
  • District of Columbia Investing in High-Dosage Tutoring: Over the next three years, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education will lead a major $40 million investment in scaling and supporting high-impact tutoring across the District, with a particular focus on at-risk students and other students who have experienced disrupted instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic. The investment will be made using a combination of ESSER and other federal stimulus funds.
  • Oklahoma High-Dosage Math Tutoring Program (12/15/2021): The Oklahoma State Department of Education is opening a high-dosage tutoring program to all 8th-grade students in public schools. The Oklahoma Math Tutoring Corps is an initiative funded with approximately $5 million in federal relief funding and will help close pandemic-related gaps in math learning and algebra readiness. 
  • South Carolina Partnership Provides Virtual Tutoring Support to Students (11/22/2021): The South Carolina Department of Education and the South Carolina State Library (SCSL) announced a $1.5 million partnership to address the continuing academic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership will span the next three years and is funded through the American Rescue Plan's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER).
  • Tennessee ‘TN ALL Corps’ Tutoring: The Tennessee Department of Education announced it will invest in TN ALL Corps tutoring supports beginning in the 2020-21 school year through summer 2024 through a grant matching program available to both school districts and community partners. Combining funding that is available at the state, district, and community levels, Tennessee can dramatically increase the amount of learning time children have access to—helping to mitigate learning loss and accelerate student achievement.

Summer Learning Investments 

  • North Carolina Summer Program Grants for Student Support: The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction’s Summer Career Accelerator grant program will help fund high-quality, evidence-based learning and workforce-aligned summer programs for students identified as having been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and others. Similarly, the Summer Bridge Academy grant program will help fund high-quality, evidence-based in-person learning and enrichment summer programs. 
  • Connecticut Evaluation Shows Summer Enrichment Grants Helped Reengage Students (03/03/2022): An evaluation on the impact of Connecticut’s 2021 Summer Enrichment Grants shows that the initiative successfully helped reengage thousands of students in time for the return to in-person learning in the fall, following the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic during the previous school year.
  • New Hampshire Launches the Second Year of Summer Camp (01/14/2022): The New Hampshire Department of Education is launching its second year of ReKINDling Curiosity, an initiative aimed at ensuring that every child can attend summer camp in 2022.
  • Oklahoma to Cultivate Community Partnerships to Benefit Students (10/06/2021):  The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is using $21 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds over three years to develop and expand high-quality afterschool and summer programs. The OSDE will award competitive grants to schools and community organizations that partner to provide services designed to address students’ academic, social and emotional needs.  
  • New Hampshire Brings Mental Health Support into Summer Camps (06/22/2021): The Department of Education, in collaboration with the Community Behavioral Health Association, is utilizing federal COVID-19 response funds to offer mental health training for camp counselors, as well as be on-site at many camps throughout the state to help with children’s mental health needs.
  • Connecticut Expands Summer Learning (04/21/2021): Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont announced the allocation of up to $11 million in federal funding for COVID-19 recovery efforts toward the expansion of programs that connect students to high-quality summer enrichment and recreational opportunities, with an emphasis on communities and children who were most impacted by the pandemic. 
     

Competitive/Innovative Grant Programs 

  • Washington Reimagine Education Project: The Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction’s Reimagine Education Project aims to capitalize on the significant latitude educators have been given these past two years to accelerate learning recovery and rethink what works in education. The project supports 2-year pilots led by educators or schools/programs to investigate an innovative approach to learning in an in-person setting, or to investigate instructional and/or social-emotional practices in alternative learning experience and online settings.
  • Mississippi Investments in Student Safety and Learning (02/24/2022): The Mississippi Department of Education is investing up to $49 million of its American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds in four new services to support student safety and learning statewide. The four services include a health and school safety platform, web-based high-dosage tutoring, a college and career readiness platform and online learning resources. School districts can subscribe to the services, which are free to them.
  • Colorado Releases Five ESSER Funding Opportunities (02/17/2022): The Colorado Department of Education released five funding opportunities for Colorado school districts from Colorado’s Elementary & Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund State Reserve. The opportunities include a program to support rural districts in building career-connected learning opportunities; grants to add capacity to rural districts in identifying and developing programs to strengthen student engagement; a grant program to support districts in purchasing eligible high-quality, standards-aligned K-8 mathematics curricula and K-3 READ Act-approved instructional programs, with special emphasis on students most impacted by the pandemic; a program to ensure LEAs have the capacity to meet the need for recruiting, retaining, and supporting the educator workforce; a program providing opportunities for districts to build and strengthen mentoring programs to ensure beginning teachers have the necessary support to build instructional capacity and effectiveness in the classroom.
  • North Dakota Announces First Recipient of Teacher Innovation Grant (02/14/2022): The Teacher Innovation Grant supports innovative and creative teaching and learning projects for North Dakota licensed teachers working in North Dakota public schools. The intent of the grant is to support proactive teaching approaches that integrate new instructional strategies and methods in the classroom. The state recently announced the first teacher to receive a grant. 
  • Maryland Leads Grant Program (02/09/2022): The Maryland State Department of Education launched a new grant initiative designed to support local education agencies in utilizing more than $150 million in federal funds to overcome the learning loss resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerate student learning to narrow opportunity and achievement gaps, and provide more targeted support for historically underserved students and their communities.
  • Iowa Awards Competitive Grants to Support Early Learning Programs (02/04/2022): Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds and the Iowa Department of Education awarded 16 competitive planning grants, up to $10,000 each, to public school districts to explore the development of blending childcare and quality early learning programs in their communities. The Blended Early Learning in Educational Foundations (BELIEF) grants will support school districts working with community partners in developing plans to start evidence-based, customized early child care and preschool programs for children under the age of five.
  • Indiana Partners with Community Organizations to Accelerate Learning (12/27/2021): Governor Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana Department of Education announced that $35.2 million in state and federal grant funds are being awarded to 123 community partners and schools across the state as part of Indiana’s Student Learning Recovery Grant Program. These grants are awarded in addition to more than $122 million awarded over the summer to partnerships across the state to accelerate student learning.
  • Virginia Announces $107 Million in “Onward and Upward” Grants Supporting Math and Literacy Instruction: (10/19/2021) Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane invited Virginia’s 132 school divisions to apply for $107 million in federal pandemic-relief funds to move the commonwealth’s students onward and upward in their journey out of the pandemic by providing targeted math and literacy support to students, in addition to addressing their other academic and mental health needs. These “Onward and Upward VA” grants are funded from the American Rescue Plan Act and include support for programs during the school year, before- and after-school programs, and summer learning.
  • South Carolina Partnership Expands Arts Learning Initiatives (06/29/2021): The South Carolina Department of Education and South Carolina Arts Commission announced a $20 million partnership will help public schools throughout the state address pandemic-related learning loss with proven, arts-based learning initiatives.

Mental Health and Wellbeing 

  • Mississippi Invests in Telehealth Services for K-12 Students (02/17/2022): The State Board of Education will award a $17.6 million grant to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) to create a telehealth delivery system within K-12 schools to provide remote healthcare and healthcare provider access to students. The Mississippi Department of Education expects UMMC to deliver on-demand urgent care and telebehaviorial health during school hours. UMMC services to students will include urgent care, mental health, remote patient monitoring and specialty consultation healthcare. MDE is using American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds to cover the grant.
  • South Carolina Announces Partnership to Help Educators Recognize and Address the Impacts of Pandemic Trauma (02/14/2022): The South Carolina Department of Education and Children’s Trust of South Carolina announced a partnership to help schools recognize and address the impacts of the pandemic on the mental health of children. Utilizing a train the trainer model, every school district is now eligible to send representatives to a nationally established training on adverse childhood experiences, also known as ACEs. 
  • New Hampshire to Provide Educators with Tools to Build Resilience: (01/28/2022): The New Hampshire Department of Education is partnering with The Regulated Classroom, an approach to cultivating conditions for felt safety in the classroom, to assist educators in preparing their students for learning and equipping educators with resources to reduce stress and dysregulation in the classroom. This initiative is funded through the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief.
  • Georgia Launches Effort to Support and Re-engage Rural Students (11/08/2021):  In October 2021, the Georgia Department of Education’s (GADOE) Office of Rural Education & Innovation announced its first round of initiatives to assist school districts with locating and supporting students who have disengaged from school as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. GADOE is partnering with Graduation Alliance and dedicating $5 million in ESSER COVID-19 relief funds to the location, engagement and individual support of up to 50,000 students in rural areas who have disengaged from school or are chronically absent due to COVID-related school disruptions, who are in danger of failing one or more classes, or whose families have requested additional support.
  • New York Community and Faith-Based Organizations to Receive Funding to Support Families (08/25/2021): Community and faith-based organizations across New York state will receive over $1 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security funds to provide services and supports for students and families adversely affected by the pandemic. The State Education Department’s Community Schools Technical Assistance Centers will provide grants to 47 entities.
  • Wisconsin to Distribute $10 Million to Support Students Experiencing Homelessness (08/24/2021): The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction will allocate more than $10 million in federal grant funds to aid school districts in identifying and supporting students experiencing homelessness. The funds are part of $800 million released from the U.S. Department of Education in the American Rescue Plan Act’s Homeless Children and Youth Program. There were 17,179 students experiencing homelessness in Wisconsin during the 2019-20 school year.
  • New Hampshire Brings Mental Health Support into Summer Camps (06/22/2021): The Department of Education, in collaboration with the Community Behavioral Health Association, is utilizing federal COVID-19 response funds to offer mental health training for camp counselors, as well as be on-site at many camps throughout the state to help with children’s mental health needs.
  • Oklahoma Awards $35 Million to 181 Districts for School Counselor Corps (06/30/2021): To help Oklahoma schools meet the needs of children in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is awarding grants to 181 school districts across the state to hire school counselors and school-based mental health professionals. OSDE is using $35.7 million in federal relief to fund the grant program called the Oklahoma School Counselor Corps.

 

Strengthening the Teacher Pipeline/Addressing Teacher Shortages 

  • Illinois Invests in Bilingual Educator Pipeline (03/04/2022): The Illinois State Board of Education announced a $4 million grant, funded with federal pandemic relief dollars, to support the bilingual educator pipeline. The grant will cover the cost of tuition for current educators to earn full licensure to teach English Learners.  
  • Maine Launches Guest School Staff Member Campaign (02/09/2022): The Maine Department of Education and Educate Maine have partnered to launch a Guest School Staff Member campaign with a challenge to businesses, leaders and citizens to help fill the needs in schools. Guest School Staff Members can serve a variety of roles in schools, filling in for or supporting bus drivers, playground monitors, food service workers, teachers, and support staff. Additionally, Maine Commissioner of Education Pender Makin recently helped alleviate some of the pandemic-related staff shortages at Readfield Elementary School today by helping teachers in several classes and working lunch duty.  
  • Oklahoma Invests in Classroom Projects (01/21/2022): The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is dedicating $6 million in federal relief funds to help classroom teachers get resources for their students through the national nonprofit, DonorsChoose. The partnership between OSDE and DonorsChoose will provide up to $800 to an educator’s project.  
  • Utah and DonorsChoose Launch $12 Million Effort for Educators (01/18/2022): The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) announced the allocation of $12 million in COVID-19 relief funds to directly help K-12 public school educators get classroom resources for the school year through DonorsChoose, a nonprofit crowdfunding website. The collaboration between USBE and DonorsChoose is the largest of its kind to date in the nation and will provide Utah educators with up to $1,000 in funding for their projects, empowering them to support their students' success with classroom resources.
  • Tennessee Pioneers Permanent Program to Develop Teacher Pipelines (01/13/2022): Paving the way for teaching and educator workforce development nationwide, the Tennessee Department of Education announced it has pioneered a new way to develop teacher pipelines, and is the first state to be approved by the U.S. Department of Labor to establish a permanent Grow Your Own model, with Clarksville-Montgomery County School System and Austin Peay State University's Teacher Residency program becoming the first registered apprenticeship program for teaching in the country. Tennessee is the first state in the country to sponsor Teacher Occupation Apprenticeship programs between school districts and Educator Preparation Programs, which will further the state’s and nation’s efforts to extend the teacher pipeline and address teacher shortages.
  • Virginia Announces Funding for Teacher Recruitment and Retention (01/04/2022): The Virginia Department of Education is allocating $12 million to a variety of programs as part of its ongoing teacher recruitment and retention efforts, including $2 million to encourage and assist aspiring educators and other school staff to earn full state teaching licensure. Twenty school divisions with relatively high percentages of provisionally licensed teachers are being invited to apply for grants to cover the tuition and fees for the required coursework.
  • Mississippi Awarding Grants to Universities to Enroll more Potential Teachers (12/17/2021): The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE), through its Mississippi Teacher Residency program, will award $9,886,468 in grants to five universities in the state to cover tuition and expenses for up to 240 individuals seeking a graduate degree in elementary and secondary education. The MDE is using American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to provide the grants. 
  • Nevada Funds 10,993 Educator Projects through DonorsChoose Grant Program (12/13/2021): The Nevada Department of Education announced the completion of the DonorsChoose Grant Program, which was able to fund 10,993 Nevada educators’ projects up to $800 using federal relief funding. NDE announced the state’s $8 million investment in this first-of-its-kind partnership on September 29 and celebrated the program’s completion as final resources have been distributed to Nevada’s educators. In September 2021, the department announced the collaboration between the department and DonorsChoose to empower teachers to support their students' success with classroom resources.
  • Nevada Announces Investment to Incentivize Pathways to Teaching (11/23/2021): The Nevada Department of Education created the “Incentivizing Pathways to Teaching” Grant Program (IPT Grant Program), which will grow Nevada’s educator workforce by providing stipends to support pre-service educators as they complete coursework or student teaching at a Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) institution or other approved educator preparation program. Due to Nevada’s need to grow its number of licensed educators, NDE prioritized $20.7 million in federal relief funding from Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II) out of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) for the IPT Grant Program.
  • Oklahoma Announces Funding to Combat Teacher Shortage (08/24/2021): State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister announced a $4.2 million grant awarded to the Oklahoma Chapter of Teach for America. The grant will help the organization launch a statewide strategy to increase school effectiveness, build a strong pipeline of educators and address pandemic-related learning loss.
  • Oklahoma Launched an Initiative Focused on Supports for School Leaders and Mentoring New Teachers (08/09/2021): To ensure students have access to well-prepared teachers in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) is using $12.75 million in federal relief funding to pay eligible Oklahoma college students for their work as student teachers.  
  • New Hampshire Educators Offered Free Training (06/03/2021): The New Hampshire Department of Education created a partnership with Granite State College to bring professional development training to New Hampshire educators across the state. This program is being funded through $2 million federal emergency relief funds. These funds are designed to respond to the impact of coronavirus as well as build resiliency in the education system against such disruptions. The training will build educator capacity to design and implement remote instruction, including use of the state’s Learning Management System.
  • Missouri Offered Teacher Recruitment and Retention Grants to LEAs: To address staffing shortages within the teaching profession, Grow Your Own (GYO) grants are being made available to all school districts and charter schools. GYO development funding of $10,000 will be available to all school districts and charter schools to create or further develop a GYO program. In addition, a regional GYO support person representing the Missouri Teacher Development System will be available to review and monitor grants and provide technical assistance to all schools in their region.

Stakeholder Engagement 

  • Tennessee Best for All Districts (02/11/2022): The Tennessee Department of Education announced the 68 districts that have received statewide recognition as Best for All Districts for significantly investing federal COVID-19 stimulus funding to drive student achievement and improving academic outcomes. Best for All Districts will receive financial, operational, celebratory and resource benefits in appreciation for districts' planned investments to spend their share of the $3.58 billion in federal COVID-19 relief and stimulus funding directly on services, resources and supports that will help students achieve academically.
  • Kansas Created Task Force for ESSER and EANS Funding: Commissioner of Education Randy Watson created the Task Force on ESSER (II and III) and EANS (I and II) to offer guidance and oversight of school districts' and private schools' plans for expenditure of federal funds focused on supporting student learning and student needs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Connecticut Students to Decide How Federal Relief Funds are Invested (11/10/2021): Governor Ned Lamont and Connecticut Education Commissioner Charlene Russell-Tucker launched Voice4Change, a first-of-its-kind campaign administered by the Connecticut State Department of Education that will empower high school students to decide how American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds are spent.

Student Support 

  • Kentucky Hires Specialists to Assist Students with Disabilities Transition After High School (01/14/2022): The Kentucky Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Early Learning will use federal funding to take steps to support local districts in improving the outcomes for students with disabilities after they leave high school. The purpose of these services is to ensure a smooth transition from high school to adulthood. This can include assistance with schooling, aid with finding employment and support for college or career and technical education.
  • Missouri Program Aims to Boost Postsecondary Outcomes for Rural Students (10/18/2021): The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in partnership with philanthropic organization rootEd Alliance, launched a statewide initiative to ensure high school students, particularly those in rural communities, have an advisor exclusively focused on helping them achieve success following graduation. The program, called the Missouri Postsecondary Advising Initiative, will place trained advisors into rural high schools, alongside school counselors, to provide students individualized college and career support. The first awards will be funded by federal COVID relief dollars.

School Leader Development 

  • South Carolina Afterschool Leaders Empowered Program (10/28/2021): The South Carolina Department of Education (SCDE) and The Riley Institute at Furman University announced the South Carolina Afterschool Leaders Empowered (SCALE) program to prepare and grow leaders who are working to address the academic impact of COVID-19 through summer and afterschool learning programs. Funding for the SCALE program comes from the $211 million set aside for SCDE from the more than $2 billion that came to the state through the American Rescue Plan's Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.

Accelerated Learning 

  • Mississippi Investments in Student Safety and Learning (02/24/2022): The Mississippi Department of Education is investing up to $49 million of its American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds in four new services to support student safety and learning statewide. The four services include a health and school safety platform, web-based high-dosage tutoring, a college and career readiness platform and online learning resources. School districts can subscribe to the services, which are free to them.
  • South Carolina Announces Investment to Expand Early Childhood Education Initiatives (07/28/2021): South Carolina Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman announced the funding of several early childhood education and parenting support initiatives as part of South Carolina’s response to the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s education system. The state will provide $14.7 million in funding over the next three years to carry out several early childhood initiatives in partnership with South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness. The funding comes from the South Carolina Department of Education’s $211 million set- aside from the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.
  • Kansas Announces Funding to Address Early Literacy (07/14/2021): Kansas Commissioner of Education Randy Watson and Kansas State Board of Education members recently announced $15 million in funding to address early literacy. The $15 million is part of the state set-aside from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III fund.
  • Arizona Partners with Discovery Education to Accelerate Student Learning (07/08/2021): The Arizona Department of Education launched a new partnership with Discovery Education. By strategically using federal relief and recovery dollars, teachers and students across the state will soon receive access to Discovery Education’s K-12 learning platform to accelerate student learning.  
  • Connecticut Invests in Local Special Education COVID-19 Recovery Efforts (08/02/2021): Governor Lamont and Commissioner of Education Charlene Russell-Tucker announced that more than $16 million in ESSER II funds will be deployed to provide support and services to accelerate learning for more than 80,000 special education students. These include addressing delayed, interrupted, suspended or inaccessible Individualized Education Plan supports and services; special education evaluations; supplementary tutoring and reading instruction; and individualized in-home support for high needs students. 

Digital Learning 

  • New York Announces Availability of $6.2 Million in Federal Funds to Address the Digital Divide (07/28/2021): New York State Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced that more than $6.2 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds are available to help libraries and other cultural institutions across the state address the digital divide, increase access to the state’s cultural history and expand student access to digital learning materials. 
  • Nebraska Makes Zearn Available to all Districts (02/2021): To support schools with math acceleration, the Nebraska Department of Education announced the opportunity for all Nebraska public and non-public schools to have full access to the Zearn Math Summer Intensive Series for summer 2021 and the 2021-2022 school year.

College and Career Readiness 

  • New Hampshire Launches Pioneering Earn-and-Learn Program (02/17/2022): Leveraging up to $2.5 million in federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds, the New Hampshire Department of Education has launched an initiative to provide secondary students with paid, work-based learning opportunities by matching learner wages. Work! As Learning will support up to 1,000 secondary students in earning academic credit while gaining valuable work experience before they graduate from high school. To incent these opportunities, NHDOE will reimburse New Hampshire-certified employers for 50 percent of learner wages paid up to $15 an hour.
  • Ohio to Fund Programs Supporting Alternative Demonstrations of Competency (01/10/2022): The Department announced a new funding opportunity totaling $1 million for nonprofit organizations, career-technical planning districts, registered apprenticeship training providers and institutes of higher education.                    
  • Oklahoma Gives Students Extra Opportunity to Take College Readiness Assessments (09/09/2021): The Oklahoma State Department of Education is using a portion of its federal relief funding to provide public school sophomores, juniors and seniors an extra opportunity to take college and career readiness assessments.

COVID-19 Mitigation 

  • Vermont School Vaccine Incentive Program (12/07/2021): Vermont Governor Phil Scott and the Agency of Education announced the School Vaccine Incentive Program, committing $2 million in federal emergency funds to schools that achieve a student vaccination rate of 85% or higher. Schools that meet this threshold will be eligible for a minimum award of $2,000 and a potential maximum of $15,000 for schools over 90% vaccinated. In order to be eligible, schools must encourage student participation in how funds are spent

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