5 ways to use ESSER funds to create cleaner environments

Funding is often schools’ biggest obstacle when it comes to enhancing the learning environment beyond the basics.

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund is providing a significant influx of resources for schools across the nation. However, an interesting problem revealed itself as schools find themselves struggling to decide how to spend the largely unexpected funds. In fact, according analysis of the federal ESSER data by the National Conference of State Legislatures, only 19.1 percent of the program’s funding has been used as of Feb. 28, 2022.

The relief package, which provided nearly $190.5 billion to the ESSER Fund through three separate stimulus bills, is incredibly helpful and impactful in addressing the impact that COVID-19 has on schools across the U.S. For many schools, which are historically underfunded and lacked resources, this money gives them the opportunity to make facility updates that have been needed for years.…Read More

Why E-rate is critical for school technology access

Every year, schools and libraries have access to billions of dollars of funding through the FCC’s E-rate program. Unfortunately, many don’t take advantage, oftentimes because of confusion over who is eligible and what services are available. In this post I’ll break down the importance of E-rate, how it works, and the types of technologies it makes available that are crucial to education.

The importance of E-rate

For students in the 21st century, it’s almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of the internet and digital learning technologies. There is a growing dependence on these resources across the U.S., and they are often seen as critical for connecting students and teachers and preparing students for lifelong learning and jobs.…Read More

TutorMe Partners with Columbia Public Schools, Providing Students with Tailored Instruction for Academic Advancement

LOS ANGELES (PRWEB) — TutorMe, an online tutoring solution creating access and opportunity for all students, announces a partnership with  Columbia Public Schools in Columbia, MO, supporting students during the 2022–2023 school year with learning recovery and academic advancement.

Made possible through ESSER funding and a Request for Proposal (RFP) from the district, Columbia Public Schools sought tutoring services to provide supplemental academic support to students. Columbia Public Schools chose TutorMe through a selection process among more than 20 applicants.

“As a district, our goal is to provide our students with resources that will help them grow confident as learners and further their academic careers,” said De’Vion Moore, the Assistant Superintendent of Elementary Education of Columbia Public Schools. “We selected TutorMe with the intent of making personalized tutoring support sustainable and scalable.”…Read More

FEV Tutor Students Achieve Higher Growth Scores in ELA and Math on NWEA MAP Growth, STAR, and i-Ready Assessments

BOSTON, Mass. – Aug. 18, 2022 Fifty-six percent of U.S. public schools are using high-dosage tutoring to support learning recovery, thanks to funding from the American Rescue Plan. But is it working? New research from FEV Tutor shows that live 1:1 tutoring with a subject matter expert can help students progress and close achievement gaps.

During the 2021-22 school year, students who participated in recommended dosages of tutoring with FEV Tutor, a comprehensive, research-based, virtual tutoring solution for K-12 schools, achieved higher growth relative to non-participants in English language arts (ELA) and math on the NWEA MAP Growth, Renaissance STAR 360, and i-Ready assessments.

The growth and impact analysis, which was conducted by independent researchers from JoinIn Ventures, examined fall 2021 and spring 2022 assessment results for nearly 40,000 students from more than 20 states. The data showed that students who participated in 21 or more online tutoring sessions with FEV Tutor showed greater improvements in ELA and math relative to their peers. The results also showed that the students who were the furthest behind benefitted the most.…Read More

ClassTag Awards $10,000 Community Engagement Grant

August 2, 2022 – NEW YORK: As schools and families prepare for back-to-school, ClassTag is announcing the winning district of its Community Engagement Grant, who received $10,000 in funding.

Since launching The Community Engagement Grant in June 2022, ClassTag has received 65 passionate, compelling submissions on how school districts across the country have emerged out of the pandemic to build trust and strong relationships with their community. As part of the application, leaders were asked to share the creative ways they have engaged their community and the impact this additional funding can have. Initiatives shared as part of the applications offer diverse and creative perspectives on how to tackle the most pressing issues facing school communities across the country, however the opportunities remain consistent and span across
the following five areas:

  • Equity and Accessibility
  • Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health
  • Family Education Programs
  • Partnerships with Local Organizations and Businesses
  • A Unified Communication System

After much deliberation, the ClassTag team has selected the winner – Lexington City Schools, a suburban district in North Carolina serving over three thousand students.…Read More

K-12 Staffing Issues Require Creative Community Solutions

Austin, TX – Staffing issues have been common for many public schools across the country for years. Now, more than ever, communities are positioned to help schools solve this problem with a variety of technology, funding, and community solutions. 

Post-COVID, it’s tempting to believe that the pandemic caused the staffing shortages K-12 schools are currently facing. However, the shortages began after the Great Recession in 2008 when reducing public school funding by $1,000 per student was common in almost every state in the country. Despite state revenues being back to pre-recession levels by 2014, many states still have not increased school funding to pre-recession levels. Add in normal inflation and the unprecedented toll that the pandemic placed on everyone, and public schools are now facing some of the biggest staffing issues.

At WorkMonger, we believe that communities are better positioned than ever before to help solve the staffing issues public schools face. By using technology advancements, community support, staff tenacity, and state funding, communities can help public schools heal and thrive. …Read More

What’s keeping districts from spending COVID relief funding?

2020 and 2021 saw $190 billion in federal relief funds go to schools through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER).

But why aren’t schools spending the money? The answer–or, more accurately, answers–offers a glimpse into the complicated state of post-COVID education.

Districts received funds based on their Title I funding, and ESSER funds must be spent by September 2024. While many districts have planned how they’ll use their funding, they have not actually spent it to date.…Read More

6 findings to inform your state’s principal preparation

As state leaders continue to weigh the best use of federal funding to improve education in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a major new research report by the Learning Policy Institute and The Wallace Foundation underscores the importance of federal, state, and district policies that foster the availability and quality of principal preparation and professional development programs.

The research finds that the preparation and professional development a school principal receives not only shapes their efficacy as a leader, but are also associated with positive outcomes for teachers and students. 

Developing Effective Principals: What Kind of Learning Matters?, conducted by LPI, synthesizes peer-reviewed scholarship from 2000 to 2021 that addresses principal preparation and development programs. It also examines survey results and statewide policies to understand the extent to which principals have access to high-quality learning opportunities and the role of policies in increasing access. The study’s authors are Linda Darling-Hammond, Marjorie E. Wechsler, Stephanie Levin, Melanie Leung-Gagné and Steve Tozer. The report updates a prior 2007 study, Preparing School Leaders for a Changing World, led by Darling-Hammond.…Read More

How an AI tutor more than tripled my school’s literacy rates during the pandemic

In pandemic and post-pandemic era education, teachers, school leaders, and parents have been concerned with getting kids back on grade level and closing the achievement gap. In fact, according to the most recent Educator Confidence Report from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 62 percent of teachers say students falling behind is a top concern this school year.

Across the nation, schools and districts have utilized additional funding to hire tutors who can provide additional support to students before, during, and even after school in efforts to help kids learn skills that they need to become proficient. 

At Brewbaker Primary School (BPS) in Montgomery, AL, we decided to leverage an AI tutor–Amira by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt–to help our students improve their reading achievement. Amira is a 1:1 virtual reading tutor that uses state of the art AI and voice recognition software. Our Amira implementation efforts have yielded astounding and significant learning outcomes.…Read More

Digital Health Platform Parallel Learning Announces $20M in Series A Funding to Further Expand and Serve Students with Learning and Thinking Differences

NEW YORK, NY (MAY 26, 2022 ) – Parallel Learning (Parallel)—the digital health platform that provides a new way to test, diagnose, and empower students with learning and thinking differences—today announced $20M in Series A funding and an expansion to its suite of teletherapy services. This round was led by Tiger Global with additional participation from Obvious Ventures, Barry Sternlich’s JAWS and existing investor, Vine Ventures. This news comes only five months after Parallel’s official launch alongside $2.8M in previous financing, bringing the company’s total capital raised to $22.8M. The new funds will be used to accelerate Parallel’s national expansion to deliver an end-to-end suite of psychoeducational services for students. Parallel’s services go beyond initial psychological evaluations to offer ongoing support to students including skill-based tutoring, executive function coaching, and as of today, behavioral therapy as well as speech and language therapy. Services are available directly to families as well as to school districts as part of the company’s enterprise offering.

With Parallel, services begin within days, instead of the typical wait of months, and cost a fraction of the price of traditional services. Parallel offers specialized care at a quicker, more convenient and affordable rate compared to traditional care options. The company employs licensed psychologists, learning specialists, behavioral health therapists and speech therapists in each state and matches students with providers based on their referral concern and desired services. Following the initial consultation, a student will be matched with a care team specifically assigned to ensure the student receives all recommended services.

“Our mission is to work hand-in-hand with school districts and families to deliver the highest quality developmental services to students across the nation,” said Diana Heldfond, Founder and CEO of Parallel Learning. “With 20 percent of children challenged by learning and thinking differences, we’re committed to offering lasting, effective and affordable solutions to help those students succeed in and out of the classroom.”…Read More