Salem Public Schools’ ESSER III Funding and Priorities
Updated: February 2022
ESSER III also known as ARP ESSER is authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act which was signed into law on March 11, 2021.
The purpose of ESSER III Funds is to support the safe reopening and sustaining of safe operations of schools while meeting students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
|Grant Name||Amount Allocated||Start Date||Must Be Spent By||Current Status|
|ESSER I (CARES)||$1,096,282||March 12, 2020||Sept 30, 2022||Spent|
|ESSER II (CRRSA)||$4,124,098||April 1, 2021||Sept 30, 2023||Spending|
|ESSER III (ARP)||$9,239,679||January 2022||Sept 30, 2024||Planning|
|Total LEA Allocation||$15,800,411|
Funding Flexibility, financially the requirement is that 20% of funds are reserved for the implementation of evidence-based interventions to address learning loss. All other funds are flexible as long as they support the safe reopening and sustaining of school operations or are used to meet student academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs.
District Priorities have been developed through focused engagement with key stakeholders including students, parents, staff, and community partners through our budget engagement process, staff session, public community session, and the collaborative budget process. Key priorities center around academic support, health and safety, family and community support, professional learning for staff, and mental health and social-emotional learning (SEL).
ESSER III Requirements
- District plan for safe return to in-person instruction
- Within 30 days of plan submission
- District plan on use of ESSER III funds
- October 4, 2021 deadline
- Consultation with district stakeholders to determinwe LEA priorities
- Engagement during FY22 budget process and other discussion this winter
- At least 20% of the award must be spent on mitigating lost instructional time
- Significant investment to tutoring, small class size, summer/out of school programming
- A new Maintenance of Equity” provision (new language)
- We need to meet requirements for all fiscal years
|District Priorities Description (Initial Proposal)|
|Academic Supports | $5,584,000| Pre-K program, additional educators, building substitutes, tutors, paras, stipends (summer assessment camps, vacation academies), early literacy coaching, high-dosage tutoring, high-quality instructional materials (including early literacy work)|
|Health and Safety | $1,296,000| Personnel (nurses, custodians, technicians, COVID response, lunch monitors), HVAC upgrades, cleaning supplies, and PPE|
|Family and Community Supports | $828,000| Family engagement manager, learning & communication platform, transportation for extended day & summer programming, hotspots|
|Professional Learning for Staff | $775,000| Stipends for ILT, Equity Imperative training, special education review, instructional improvement audit|
|Mental Health and SEL | $490,000| Behavior specialists, consultation, SEL screener mental health improvements and planning|
Stakeholder Feedback: Forum conversations (Community: 1/5 and 1/27, Staff: 1/19), questions, and suggestions merged around the physical, social, and emotional health and safety of our students and staff. The following information summarizes the general conversations and recommendations brought up by stakeholders as ways to spend ESSER funds and help students and staff in their day-to-day experience.
- After school programs: Multiple groups brought up the value and need for learning beyond school hours. This includes continuing to support after school programs and summer learning opportunities and ways to continue to improve the delivery and opportunities through those programs.
- Social Emotional Learning (SEL): Participants discussed the need for more SEL for students both inside and outside the classroom. Discussion around potential ways SEL can be integrated throughout the entire school system holistically, but also for individual students. SEL was discussed not only for students, but for staff as well who are impacted by working with students who present with trauma.
- Partnerships and community engagement: Participants recognized that many of the concerns facing schools are also facing our community. Conversations centered around opportunities to engage with traditional and non-traditional partnerships to support students and teachers.
- Learning and teaching: Ways to support students in their academic development was a topic of every conversation. Ideas on how to keep students learning in a meaningful and joyful way, including project-based learning, and learning beyond the traditional classroom. Personalized learning was discussed and how we better meet the needs of every student given the wide range of academic performance levels.
Family engagement: Participants discussed the value of family involvement and the ways in which the system could best support and engage families. Suggestions included more opportunities to hear from families as well as ideas surrounding programs to better help them support their child’s growth and development.
ESSER III Family Funding Forum, January 5th, 2022
The budget engagement process highlighted our stakeholders’ priorities for investments.
Our stakeholder engagement & learning as a system led us to the key principles for our investments
- Multi-tiered system of support
- Academic Supports
- Mental Health & Social Emotional Learning Supports
- Family & Community Supports
- Health & Safety
- Professional Learning for Staff
Our investments align to the priorities informed by our budget process & community engagement
These investments reflect the priorities & still leave opportunities for shaping the work moving forward.
|District Priorities||$ Priority Investments*||Description|
|Academic Supports||$5,584,000||Pre-K program, additional educators, building substitutes, tutors, paras, stipends (summer assessment camps, vacation academies), early literacy coaching, high-dosage tutoring, high-quality instructional materials (including early literacy work)|
|Health and Safety||$1,296,000||Personnel (nurses, custodians, technicians, COVID response), lunch monitors, HVAC upgrades, cleaning supplies and PPE|
|Family and Community Supports||$828,000||Family engagement manager, learning & communication platform, transportation for extended day & summer programing, hotspots|
|Professional Learning for Staff||$775,000||Stipends for ILT, Equity Imperative training, special education review, instructional improvement audit|
|Mental Health and SEL||$490,000||Behavior specialists, consultation, SEL screener mental health improvements and planning|
- We acted quickly after ESSER III was released to submit our application before the deadline
- Our application has not been approved yet
- While dollars are allocated to buckets for the purpose of the application, the dollars have not been spent
- ESSER II is being used to pay for many of the priority items during the current year.
- Many of the items in ESSER III are budgeted for multiple years through FY24
- Significant nexus between SEL/mental health and academic supports.
- Additional mental health and SEL services at Collins are being purchased using ELT funds
- Note that staff paid for by ESSER III will require a new funding source beyond FY24
- We are interested in soliciting additional input from the SPS community, particularly around the area of mental health and SEL