Aided by an 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • Virginia Invests in Mathematics and Literacy via Teacher Resources (12/10/2021): Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane invited Virginia public colleges and universities to apply for grants totaling $34 million to develop resources and professional development programs for reading and mathematics teachers. The goals of the Onward and Upward: Supporting Literacy and Mathematics grant program are aligned with the recommendations of the Virginia Department of Education's Virginia LEARNS workgroup. Funding for the Onward and Upward: Supporting Literacy and Mathematics grant program is from the federal American Rescue Plan Act.

  • 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.
     
  • Maine Receives Approval for American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief – Homeless Children and Youth (ARP-HCY) State Plan (12/01/2021): The U.S. Department of Education recently confirmed approval of Maine's plan for supporting homeless children and youth through American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds. With the American Rescue Plan Homeless Children and Youth funding, the Maine Department of Education plans to continue to provide training, technical assistance, capacity-building, and engagement at the state and local levels.
     
  • Nevada Announces $20.7M Investment to Incentivize Pathways to Teaching (11/23/2021): The Nevada Department of Education (NDE or Department) announced 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.
     
  • South Carolina Announces Partnership to Provide Virtual Tutoring Support to South Carolina Students: The South Carolina Department of Education and the South Carolina State Library 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).
     
  • Oklahoma Announces $5 million Investment in Math Tutoring Corps to Help Close Learning Gaps (11/16/2021): The Oklahoma State Department of Education is investing approximately $5 million in federal relief funding to build a Math Tutoring Corps. The high-dosage tutoring initiative will help close pandemic-related gaps in math learning and algebra readiness for up to 1,500 Oklahoma seventh- through ninth-grade students a year. 
     
  • Georgia Launches Effort to Support and Re-engage Rural Students (11/08/2021): The Georgia Department of Education (GADOE) is launching a statewide effort 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.
     
  • South Carolina Announces Afterschool Leaders Empowered Program: 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.
     
  • 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.
     
  • 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.

  • 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.  

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    Arizona Tutoring Corps Program (09/30/2021): The Arkansas Department of Education is partnering with the Education Renewal Zones to build and grow the Arkansas Tutoring Corps program, a system of trained tutors around the state who will provide tutoring assistance to students who need additional academic support. The program, which is funded by state set-aside American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds, seeks to recruit at least 500 tutors who will be connected to organizations in their geographic areas that provide academic support to students. These organizations include schools, community organizations, faith-based organizations, and other entities that provide academic assistance to students.
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    Nevada to Invest in Educator Projects Using Federal Relief Funds (09/29/2021): The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) announced the allocation of $8 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to help K-12 public school educators get classroom resources for the school year through DonorsChoose, a nonprofit crowdfunding website. The collaboration between NDE and DonorsChoose will provide Nevada educators with up to $800 in funding for their projects, empowering them to support their students' success with classroom resources.
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    Oklahoma Invests $2.5 Million to Give 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.
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    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 (CARES Act) 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 the grants to 47 entities.
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    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 (TFA). 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. 
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    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.
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    Oklahoma Allocates Relief Funds to Paid Student Teaching (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 will use $12.75 million in federal relief funding to pay eligible Oklahoma college students for their work as student teachers.  
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    Connecticut $16 Million To Support Local Special Education COVID-19 Recovery Efforts (08/02/2021): Governor Lamont and Acting 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.
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    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 (ARPA) 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. 
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    South Carolina Announces $14.7 Million Investment to Expand Early Childhood Education Initiatives: South Carolina State 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.
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    Arizona Partners with Discovery Education to Accelerate Student Learning (07/08/2021):  The Arizona Department of Education launched a new partnership with Discovery Education whose K-12 digital platform supports learning wherever it takes place. 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.  
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    Kansas Announces Funding to Address Early Literacy (07/14/2021): Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Randy Watson and Kansas State Board of Education members recently announced $15 million in funding to address early literacy. The $15 million is set aside from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III fund.
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    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.
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    Iowa to Launch New Pre-K-12 School Mental Health Center (06/23/2021): The Iowa Department of Education and the University of Iowa announced a partnership that will expand training opportunities for student teachers and practicing teachers, provide professional development resources and services to support mental health needs in schools and conduct research on the effective delivery of these services to students. The agency designated $20 million in federal relief funds to help support the Center’s work.
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    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.