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What are ESSER Funds?

Under the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which became law in March 2021, school districts around the country will receive funding to address the impact of COVID-19 on students' academic, social, emotional and mental health needs. This funding is known as "ESSER III."

"ESSER" is short for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief. ESSER III receives its numerical designation from the fact that the ARP ESSER Fund is the third set of COVID-related federal relief grants for schools that Congress has passed since the pandemic began.

ESSER I and ESSER II were established respectively by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act in December 2020.

ESSER III will provide nearly $122 billion to state educational agencies and school districts to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s students.

Homewood School District 153 is expected to receive about $2.3 million in ESSER III funds.

District 153 plans to use its ESSER III grant money in the following major areas:

Academic Supports

  • Implement tutoring programs throughout district during 2021-22 school year and summer school program in 2022
  • Staff training on effective student engagement strategies and Professional Learning Communities implementation
  • Replace and upgrade interactive classroom displays and increase bandwidth for all three schools to support instruction and interventions
  • Purchase of flexible seating and related materials to facilitate small group learning and needed interventions

Social Emotional Supports

  • Supplement current SEL efforts with Ripple Effects, a web-based program that supports and promotes SEL learning and health
  • Additional staff training to help ensure the social-emotional and mental health needs of students, their families and staff are being met

Capital Improvements

  • Upgrade HVAC system at Churchill School to improve air quality
  • Conduct mechanical, electrical and plumbing work necessary to install a mobile classroom unit at Willow School to alleviate overcrowding