District leaders are navigating critical resource allocation and budgeting decisions in the coming months to meet student learning needs. SCORE recently shared an overview of the opportunity district leaders have to leverage federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds II (ESSER II) to address learning loss and other student needs. Since that time, new state investments to address learning loss and an increased likelihood of additional federal funds adds urgency for how leaders develop spending plans that prioritize long-term gains — particularly for underserved students — to increase equity and opportunities for students who need more support.
Building on that initial analysis, SCORE is releasing a COVID-19 Impact Memo on Using ESSER II Funds to Accelerate Student Learning. Drawing on the available research on accelerating student learning as well as insights from education finance experts, the memo explores key strategies, including:
- High-dosage tutoring
- “Vacation” acceleration academies
- Targeting acceleration programs based on data
Additionally, the memo lays out three key considerations for district leaders to ensure lasting, long-term benefits for student learning:
- Make one-time investments with one-time funds to avoid a “fiscal cliff”
- Invest in practices that aid in long-term recovery
- Sustain public support by making choices with data on student needs and per pupil costs
The ESSER II federal funds represents the latest — but likely not the last — round of financial support for schools as they address significant learning, operational, and financial challenges related to COVID-19. Used wisely under a thoughtfully developed strategy, these additional resources can help put more students on the path to success in college, career, and life.
Peter Tang is SCORE’s director of research.