ISBE invited 10 districts to participate in a community of practice designed to increase understanding of how to braid and blend federal funds. District teams composed of principals, superintendents, business managers, and other district leaders participated in four 90-minute virtual sessions. The purpose of these sessions was to help leaders:
- Collaborate with other districts to increase their knowledge and understanding of how to braid and blend federal funds,
- Identify strategic considerations for mitigating common challenges that may arise when braiding and blending funds, and
- Identify tools and resources that can support the successful implementation of braiding and blending funds.
This guide was developed based on the community of practice work to inform other district and school leaders across Illinois about braiding and blending resource allocation strategies.
The guide has four parts. It begins with an overview of the community of practice that the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Region 9 Comprehensive Center conducted to support Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in braiding and blending federal funding. Following some background information, the next section provides users with the steps for braiding and blending funds by using a specific tool, including a table of priority areas and federal funding categories and programs. The third section addresses reporting. The final section is a series of appendices, including Illinois guidelines, scenarios, examples from ISBE and several Illinois districts for braiding and blending, and resources to inform those efforts.