Leveraging Resources: Blending and Braiding Funds Community of Practice (CoP)

Project Lead: Beth Howard-Brown

During the August 2021 statewide school board meeting, questions arose about how districts are being supported in capacity building for determining how to best expend Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) funding, with specific mention of support for braiding and blending practices. To address this need, the Region 9 Comprehensive Center (R9CC) codeveloped a needs-sensing survey with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to inform professional development for district leadership.

Based on the needs identified from the survey, R9CC collaborated with ISBE to plan a community of practice (CoP) for district leadership teams focused on blending and braiding funds. This CoP will consist of four professional development sessions that cover topics including (1) comprehensive needs assessment, (2) introduction to blending and braiding funds, (3) developing best practices for resource allocation, and (4) reporting on blending and braiding of funds. These sessions will be designed to encourage district leaders to partner with and learn from their peers while identifying and using tools and resources to support strategic blending and braiding of funds. In addition, R9CC will collaborate with ISBE to compile the resources and lessons learned from this CoP to produce an evidence-based resource that can be shared with school and district leaders throughout Illinois and beyond.

Illinois Blending and Braiding Community of Practice (CoP) Sessions: