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Do Now, Build Toward

Resources to help districts and schools create their strategies for ESSER investments and COVID recovery

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The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, but it hasn’t affected everyone equally. Equity  should be at the forefront of a district’s decision-making process — so quantifying students’ needs across the district (by grade level, student group, and by school) is essential for building the case to act urgently and direct resources where they are needed most.

Districts across the country are planning how to invest huge influxes of one-time ESSER funds — targeting funds toward meeting urgent academic and social-emotional recovery needs, as well as redesigning better, more equitable approaches to teaching and learning. 

Many districts will want to sustain the changes they are funding with ESSER dollars beyond the three-year period. This means that district leaders will need to begin planning and investing with sustainability in mind. By carefully setting this foundation now and leveraging the three-year window ESSER provides, 2024-25 school district budgets will not only avoid a funding cliff, they will be able to accommodate new, equity-focused ways of working that are more strategic, effective, and resilient than the ones we had before the pandemic. 

This overview brief highlights four key ways district leaders can sustain their new ESSER investments over time.

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