ESSER Funding

  • Since the COVID-19 emergency school closure in March 2020, the United States Congress has passed three stimulus bills with the aim of providing funds to the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Education Relief (ESSER) fund. Portions of this money are designed to assist states that are expected to distribute at least 90% of the money to local education agencies (LEAs) based on their proportional share of funding received from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Title-IA. District 211 is considered a local education agency and thus has and will receive ESSER funding through the 2023-2024 school year. To date, three different versions of ESSER funding have been approved by the federal government. These versions include the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act; the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act; and the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. These so-called stimulus bills seek to provide additional funding to states and school districts in order to successfully support students as we recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • ESSER I (CARES Act)

    The first stimulus bill was passed on March 27, 2020 and is called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This bill provided the initial 13.5 billion dollars to the ESSER fund. Of that 13.5 billion dollars, District 211 received $1,135,440. The purpose of the money was to provide emergency relief funds to schools to address the immediate impact that COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on schools. District 211 initially utilized this money to purchase mobile hotspots for students who did not have home internet access, to provide training and professional learning opportunities for teachers in effective instructional methods for remote instruction, and to purchase software and hardware to allow students to continue learning. These initial purchases were made in April 2020 and allowed both our students to continue learning virtually as well as ensure that our teachers were prepared to facilitate virtual learning experiences. As we transitioned into the summer months, we planned for and facilitated a virtual summer school experience that allowed students to continue learning and receive credit for courses that they had scheduled prior to the school disruption. Additionally, we recognized the importance of student social-emotional health and designed programs and opportunities for students to stay engaged with their school community and classmates. Specifically, we designed and offered virtual, and later, small, in-person engagement opportunities for students to participate in athletics and activities throughout the summer months. As it became apparent that we may not return to a traditional schedule in the fall of 2020, we utilized additional funding to develop and implement our Summer Incomplete Remediation Program; provide advanced training to teachers in hybrid instructional methodology; purchase additional software, hardware, and mobile hotspots that would allow students to continue to learn in all departments and courses; and provide summer school counselors and social-emotional support to struggling students. As the state of Illinois released final information about the mitigations necessary for returning to in-person learning, we utilized remaining funds to purchase personal protective equipment, disinfectant supplies and screening equipment in order to ensure that our school buildings were safe for the return of students and staff. Pursuant to their mitigation recommendations, we also created outdoor learning spaces at each of our campuses. A complete list of expenditures for ESSER I can be found in the ESSER #1 (CARES Act) District 211 Expenditures table below.

  • ESSER #1 (CARES Act) District 211 Expenditures

    Category

    Description

    Expenditure

    Academic Support

    Summer 2020 Incomplete Remediation Program

    $137,854.82

    Technology

    Software to allow remote instruction (Ex: Zoom licenses, Classkick, EdPuzzle, GimKitPro, Swank)

    $174,377.00

    Technology

    Devices to Allow Remote Instruction (Ex: iPads, laptops, mifi’s, headphones)

    $45,263.28

    Safety

    PPE for Music Courses

    $44,946.00

    Social-emotional Support

    Summer 2020 Remote and In-person Engagement

    $233,504.34

    Professional Development

    Remote Learning Teams Spring and Summer 2020

    $9,401.41

    Professional Development

    Remote and Hybrid Teacher Professional Learning

    $132,746.34

    Facilities & Logistics

    Rental Equipment for Outdoor Learning Spaces

    $56,895.00

    Safety

    Sanitation Supplies for Facilities and Personnel

    $89,984.24

    Safety

    Health Screening Equipment

    $152,855.00

    Safety

    Mask Fitting for Staff

    $9,872.00

    Social-emotional Support

    Meal Delivery Service Spring and Summer 2020

    $22,742.16

    Technology

    Screening Software

    $25,000

     

    Total:

    $1,135,441.59

  • ESSER II (CRRSA Act)

    The second stimulus bill was passed on December 27, 2020 and is called the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act.   This bill provided an additional 54.3 billion dollars to the overall ESSER fund.  District 211 was allocated $4,130,009 in additional funding through this grant.  This funding is designed to be used toward mitigating the unprecedented learning loss that many of our vulnerable students have endured as well as toward restoring high quality educational environments. 

    Prior to the start of the 2020-2021 school year, District 211 created a Learning Renewal Team, consisting of school and district staff members that conducted research to develop options for hybrid, in-person, and remote learning as well as identify effective potential uses for ESSER II funding.  Consistent with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Illinois P-20 Council Learning Renewal Resource Guide, District 211 planned to utilize funding from the CRRSA Act using these core principles: focus on the most impacted students; identify priority areas for new or further improvement; align our efforts with state learning goals; maintain a strong equity focus; and continually review, analyze and update our efforts. Ultimately, these principles are guided by the P-20 Council’s vision for the “road to renewal,” which seeks to “maximize the number of students and understand each student’s ongoing needs to provide individualized support while extending time and empowering educators with cutting-edge resources to propel Illinois students toward a successful future.”

    Using the recommendations of the ISBE and other state organizations, District 211 organized our internal learning renewal efforts into two areas of focus: social-emotional health and academic success.  Within these areas of focus, we began the 2020-2021 school year with a focus on three phases of implementation which were applied consecutively and then in parallel with each other.  These phases of implementation included re-engagement of students, identification of current reality and the development of tailored support options.  As we prepared the budget required for the grant application and access to the funding, we organized our funding into five major categories: Academic Support, Technology, Health & Safety, Social-emotional Support, and Facilities & Logistics. 

    The category with the highest budget amount in the ESSER II grant was Academic Support. The funding in this category allowed us to provide continuous instruction to students during the school day as well as additional enhancement and tutoring options for students.  As the 2020-2021 school year progressed, we quickly realized that we needed to constantly revise and redevelop our efforts and programs to ensure the impact and effectiveness as we transitioned from remote learning to hybrid learning and back.  Additionally, we offered families the opportunity to individually chose their learning environment while still having the ability to access whichever learning environment they felt most comfortable in. When combining the areas of focus with the phases of implementation, we are able to individualize and streamline our efforts to meet our students exactly where they are and provide high levels of support to move them forward toward increased wellness and academic success.

    One large-scale use of this funding included the creation and implementation of a comprehensive Summer Advancement Program (2021), which sought to: re-engage students in in-person learning by providing opportunities for students to learn critical skills and content, increase students’ comfort and excitement about returning to in-person learning, prepare them for upcoming rigorous coursework in the fall and allow students to explore potential college and career pathway opportunities.  This program included differentiated options for students – including weekly intensive workshops, virtual learning renewal options, incomplete remediation for students who earned incomplete grades during the second semester of the 2020-2021 school year, and additional assistance for students who may have been disproportionately affected by disruptions to school and were not on-track to graduate in May 2021.

    The second largest budget category of CRRSA funding included the creation and implementation of a Student Social-Emotional Health Renewal Team.  The purpose of this team is to create additional resources within District 211 to engage directly with students, families and outside community agencies.  The team currently consists of additional social workers and school counselors who were hired during the 2021-2022 school to provide additional support and immediate access to students.  These staff members were integrated into our existing school-based teams to achieve the following: connect with disengaged students and families to ensure re-engagement and regular school attendance, provide wrap-around support to students and families through the collaboration with local community resources, and provide ongoing social-emotional and academic interventions throughout the school year.

    Additional budget amounts were set aside to hire additional school nurses and certified nursing assistants to support students, required testing programs, and facilitate logistics of quarantine and isolation, continuation of software licenses and additional technology to ensure that students could continue to access learning experiences in remote and hybrid environments, and purchase personal protective equipment, sanitation supplies, and screening equipment to comply with continued mitigations.

    We also planned for the use of CRRSA funding to both strengthen current academic interventions and implement new academic support options for students during the 2021-2022 school year.  These options included offering expanded afterschool tutoring and academic support options at each District 211 school, increasing our ability to track the success of our interventions and providing additional school day opportunities for students to receive support.  The original plan for ESSER II funding was to be used throughout the 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 school years. A complete list of the budgeted categories as well as the projected expenditures through the end of the 2021-2022 school year can be found in the ESSER #2 (CRRSA) District 211 Budget and Current Expenditures table below.

  • ESSER #2 (CRRSA) District 211 Budget and Current Expenditures

    Category

    Description

    Budgeted

    Projected Expenditures through

    2021-22

    Academic Support

    Personnel to provide the following academic support options to students:

    • Summer 2021 Incomplete Remediation
    • Summer 2021 On-track to Graduation
    • Tutoring for Students in Quarantine/ Isolation
    • Instruction for Students in Home/Hospital Program
    • Substitute Teachers and Teacher Assistants for Staff in Quarantine/Isolation
    • Additional Teacher Assistants to Facilitate Academic Support

    $1,863,687

    $350,000

    Technology

    Software to Support Academic Instruction and Social-emotional Support (Ex: Panorama, Classkick, EdPuzzle, GimKitPro, Swank, Zoom)

    $373,119

    $300,000

    Social-emotional Support

    Additional School Counselors 2021-2022 and 2022-2023

    $1,191,758

    $320,000

    Health & Safety

    Additional Nurses and CNAs 2020-2021 and 2021-2022

    $562,581

    $420,000

    Facilities & Logistics

    Rental Equipment for Outdoor Learning Spaces

    $5,000

    $15,000

    Health & Safety

    Sanitation Supplies for Students, Facilities and Personnel

    $133,864

    $106,000

     

    Total

    $4,130,009.00

    $1,511,000.00

  • ESSER III (ARP Act)

    The third stimulus bill was passed on March 11, 2021 and is called the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act. This bill provided an additional 122.7 billion dollars in overall supplementary ESSER funding. District 211 has been allocated $9,270,929 to be used toward returning all students to in-person instruction and mitigating the short-term and long-term effects of learning loss. The use of this funding, which is available through the 2023-2024 school year, will ultimately be determined based on the needs of our school community and the analysis of the success of the programs that utilize CARES and CRRSA funding. Access to ARP funding is contingent on several requirements that must be completed prior to submitting expenditures to the ISBE. These requirements include communicating a “safe return to in-person instruction” and “continuity of services” plan. District 211 fulfilled this requirement with the safe return to in-person instruction during the 2021-2022 school year. We are also required to regularly review, and, if appropriate, revise the plan to ensure continued safety and continued in-person learning. Each school district that receives ARP funds must also designate not less than 20 percent of the total allocation to “address the academic impact of lost instructional time through the implementation of evidence-based interventions” and “address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on students from low-income families, students of color, children with disabilities, English learners, migratory students, students experiencing homelessness and children and youth in foster care.” For District 211, this represents $1,854,185.40 of the grant. Finally, each district must submit a plan to the ISBE for the use of ARP funds. This plan must be developed after engaging in “meaningful consultation with stakeholders including students; families; school and district administrators and teachers, principals, school leaders, other educators, school staff and their unions.” District 211 has accomplished this meaningful consultation through several methods over the past year. These include the Equity and Cultural Audit that included students, staff, and families, the Strategic Plan development process, public comments during Board of Education meetings, school and district-based Equity Teams, school and district-based Wellness Committees and meetings with school staff members. District 211 staff are currently finalizing the proposed ARP funding plan. As part of the development process, District 211 is seeking the input from community members on the way we should allocate the funding. Please use the District 211 ARP ESSER (III) Public Input Survey link below to provide your input on our priorities.

  • District 211 ESSER III (ARP) Funding Priority Survey (click here)

  • Overall, District 211 is predicted to receive $14,536,378 from the combined ESSER funding, to be utilized by the end of the 2023-2024 school year.