How Schools Can Use Their American Rescue Plan (ARP) ESSER Funds

Through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), Congress has provided financial support for districts and schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds.

These funds are designed to help schools reopen quickly and safely while simultaneously addressing the months of significant learning loss.

While you can use these funds for a variety of different initiatives that help address learning loss, here are our top recommendations on how to spend the money: 

  • Offer evidence-based summer, afterschool, and other extended learning and enrichment programs including: 
    • STEM or STEAM camps/programs (SOURCE, SOURCE)
    • Focus on specialized programs – curriculum (SOURCE)
    • New curriculum development (SOURCE)
  • Support students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs by:
    • Initiating clubs such as a robotic or STEM club (SOURCE)
  • Furniture to provide students with their own spaces, which meets federal requirements to aid reopening and helps students learn more effectively. (SOURCE, SOURCE)
  • Social/emotional learning
    • Create spaces and resources that address students’ social and emotional intelligence and coping skills (SOURCE)
  • Hands-on STEAM resources
    • Maker spaces, durable science equipment, and activities promote learning by trying, doing, failing, and trying again (SOURCE)
  • Flexible learning environments
    • Outdoor classrooms can be created and deconstructed in moments (SOURCE)
  • Accommodate diverse learning styles
    • Think modular furniture that can support individual or group work, and kinesthetic movement for students who think best when they aren’t sitting still (SOURCE)
  • Cleaning supplies (SOURCE)
  • Education technology like computers and upgrading internet services (SOURCE)
  • Mental health services (SOURCE)
  • School building improvements that “reduce risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards” (SOURCE)

Keep in mind that districts must use at least 20% of the money to address learning loss. 

Interested in learning about other ways you can spend ESSER funds? View the full list of allowable uses on the American Rescue Plan Act Fact Sheet

Not sure where to start? Contact us today to let us help you create healthier and safer learning spaces.