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Effective Use and Sustainability of American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Funds Community of Practice

Project Lead: Jim Colyott

States and school districts across the nation have received funding over the past 3 years through Elementary and Secondary Education Emergency Relief (ESSER) grants to address learning loss and support students’ academic, social, emotional, and mental health. Over the next two years state and district leaders will be facing two high-leverage problems that include 1) ensuring that American Rescue Plan (ARP) ESSER funds are being used effectively to address learning loss and student well-being and 2) planning for longer-term recovery efforts and how to sustain them after ARP ESSER funding expires.

R9CC is collaborating with state and district leaders in Iowa to plan and facilitate a Community of Practice (CoP) for school district leaders focused on effective implementation and sustainability of evidence-based programs and promising practices supported with ARP ESSER funds. Through the CoP sessions, school district leaders will identify a common problem of practice related to effective implementation of their ARP ESSER plans, identify and discuss relevant evidence-based strategies within their plans, and plan for sustainability of effective practices in their individual contexts.

To gather input for the CoP, R9CC held an event in Ankeny, Iowa, on June 16, 2023, entitled “Strengthening Investments to Accelerate Student Learning and Improve Well-Being.” This half-day workshop provided participants an opportunity to connect with peers and national experts, who led the following sessions: 

  • Evidence-Based Strategies for Accelerating Learning, Lyzz Davis, Lead, Research on Education Strategies to Advance Recovery and Turnaround (RESTART) Network (download slides

  • Strengthening Student and Staff Well-Being, Greta Colombi, Director, National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE) (download slides

  • Determining Cost- and Program Effectiveness of District and School Improvement Initiatives, Tammy Kolbe, Principal Researcher, American Institutes for Research (AIR) (download slides

  • Addressing Teacher and Staff Shortages, Cheryl Krohn, Senior Advisor, Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (download slides

  • Supporting Students with Disabilities, Amy Colpo, Special Education Specialist, Center on Great Teachers and Leaders (download slides

  • Braiding Funds for Greater Effectiveness, Wayne Ball, Senior Technical Assistance Consultant, AIR (download slides

  • Learning From Evidence: The Road to Recovery Project, Dan Goldhaber, Director, Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER) at AIR (download slides

R9CC presented at the School Administrators of Iowa (SAI) Superintendent Advisory Committee meeting in October 2023 in Ankeny, Iowa, to lead strategic discussions regarding the Iowa teacher shortages, which was one of the priority needs identified in June, 2023.