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ESSER Funding Peer-to-Peer Series

Project lead: Beth Howard-Brown

In spring 2021, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) recognized a continued need for a support system in which district leaders can have peer-to-peer conversations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly around how to effectively use American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds and the large carryover of Title dollars.

To fill this need, Region 9 Comprehensive Center (R9CC), in collaboration with ISBE and the Illinois Association of School Business Officials, is facilitating a virtual peer-to-peer series for district leadership across Illinois. The sessions are available to school superintendents, business officials, and other district staff to discuss how to strategically engage ESSER and Title funds to support effective longer-term resource allocation, efficient and high-impact one-time use of these funds, and connecting priorities based on student learning renewal during this time of COVID-19. During the sessions, participants explore practices pertinent to funding that are essential for student learning and recovery, learn from peers about how they are utilizing their ESSER funding, and identify actionable steps for effective and impactful district spending.

The sessions in the series include:

  • June 17, 2021: District ESSER Funding Flexibility (download slides)
  • June 24, 2021: Making Sustainable Decisions with One-Time-Use Funds (download slides)
  • July 8, 2021: Blending, Braiding, and Coordinating the Use of all Federal Funds (download slides)

A summary of the Illinois ESSER Funding Peer-to-Peer Series sessions is also available. (download report)

Through this project, R9CC also hosted a webinar with the Illinois Student Advisory Council titled “Pushing Educational Boundaries: Student Recommendations for Spending American Rescue Plan Funds” to provide research-based suggestions that district leaders can use to inform their plans for ESSER funds.

This peer-to-peer series builds from the success of R9CC’s previous Back-to-School Superintendent Focus Groups project.