ESSER Funds Update

Posted on 12/10/2021
ESSER Funds Update

More than 5,000 community members responded to
our survey regarding the use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds from the federal government. Of those who responded, 78% described their connection to FHSD as parent/guardian, 19% as current staff member, 7% as student, 15% as resident and 2% as business owner or other (respondents could select more than one category).

Federal stimulus funds can only be used for certain expenses. The five categories were ranked by respondents. The results are below (with #1 being the highest-ranked option and #5 being the lowest-ranked option):

1. Purchasing educational technology (hardware, software, connectivity) 
2. Increasing academic interventions (before/during/after the school day) 
3. Repairing, replacing and/or maintaining HVAC systems to address COVID-related air quality issues 
4. Providing additional social and emotional supports for students 
Providing additional summer learning opportunities

In October, District leaders reviewed the survey results with seven different focus groups (82 total participants) made up of parents, teachers, support staff, business leaders, elected officials and school administrators who shared their perspectives and generated additional ideas. Focus group participants were asked to consider which ideas would have the greatest impact across the organization and particularly on student learning and support. 

As a result of feedback received through the community survey and focus groups, the following general areas of expenditure were identified: academic and logistical support to address student learning loss, curriculum and instructional updates and support, and staff salaries. Each recommendation will be further analyzed to ensure the District has appropriate staff and capacity to execute the initiative at a high level. 

It’s also important to note that ESSER 3 funds have not been appropriated by the state legislature, so plans and timelines may need to be adjusted while we await confirmation that the expected funds will be available for reimbursement. 

If you have additional ideas to share regarding ESSER funds, please email [email protected]. Updates will be available on the District website.

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