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

Sachs Foundation and Teach For America Team Up to Deliver Funds and Support to Black Educators in Colorado, Addressing the Black Teacher Shortage

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., June 16, 2022 — The Sachs Foundation, an organization that has supported Black Coloradans since 1931, and Teach For America (TFA) Colorado, the state branch of a national organization that expands educational opportunity for children by recruiting and training educators, are partnering to offer Black college graduates in Colorado an opportunity to make an impact as an educator. The organizations intend to build a community of Black educators through cohort groups and supplement salaries to address the shortage of Black teachers in Colorado.

The number of Black educators in the U.S. has been in decline since schools were desegregated, but data confirms that representation matters to students.  Johns Hopkins research shows that the presence of just one Black teacher in grades 3-5 increases low-income Black boys’ interest in college by 29% and lowers the high school drop-out rate by 39%. However, 150 of Colorado’s 178 school districts have no Black teachers at all. The Sachs Foundation launched its Teacher Development Program in 2020 to improve educator diversity in Colorado schools, a mission that matches TFA’s goal of increasing diversity in the teaching ranks to better reflect student populations.

Working together, the organizations are intentionally building a community of Black educators in Colorado. TFA Colorado is taking the lead on identifying, recruiting and training teachers since that is the organization’s area of expertise, and Sachs is providing financial support for Black teachers working in Colorado who are part of the program, drawing on its experience of providing scholarships for Black Coloradans. Both organizations emphasize the importance of a cohort (peer group) in program success. TFA Colorado says the partnership has already increased the number of Black educators who are able to teach through TFA by 150%.…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

How to make the most of your COVID relief funds

School district leaders across the country are cautiously optimistic about post-pandemic teaching and learning–and they’re also tracking what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to upgrade their technology infrastructure and classrooms with next-gen solutions like interactive displays, laptops, and more.

In 2020 and 2021, Congress passed three COVID relief packages that added up to over $190 billion for public and private schools. Billions more are slated to arrive shortly.

The potential for this funding is great. How to effectively secure and implement it can be daunting. Join eSchool News and a panel of the country’s most insightful analysts as they discuss the state-of-play of federal and state edtech funding programs and what districts can do to take advantage.…Read More

How to fund your CTE program

Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs provide students with relevant tools and skills that set them up for success in life and their careers, including those not typically part of traditional academic programs.

These programs offer something unique and, in many cases, tap into a student’s personal interests – even as they still provide a valuable education experience. CTE programs have countless benefits to students, and funding to implement, sustain, or grow your existing CTE programs is crucial. While there are many free resources available, having the funds to purchase basic equipment or upgrade to premium services can make a huge difference.

So where do you start when looking to fund your CTE program? The most significant source of United States government funds for CTE comes from The Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act, also known as “Perkins V” or “Perkins CTE grants.” It’s a grant, meaning you don’t have to pay it back, but the application process is competitive, and you’ll need to satisfy requirements as part of the grant.…Read More

How Mississippi is prioritizing student learning and safety

COVID has undeniably changed education, and as schools, districts, and states move forward with educating students in a new reality, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) is focusing on student learning and student safety.

MDE is investing up to $49 million of its American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds in four new services to support student safety and learning statewide.

“These student and school support services will help all district and school leaders manage the challenges of the pandemic and help students accelerate their learning,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education. “Along with a system to make schools safer, we are offering districts services that will give students access to high-quality content, college and career planning tools, and live tutors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”…Read More

Follow the money! Use COVID relief funds to your advantage

School district leaders across the country are cautiously optimistic about post-pandemic teaching and learning–and they’re also tracking what may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to upgrade their technology infrastructure and classrooms with next-gen solutions like interactive displays, laptops, and more.

In 2020 and 2021, Congress passed three COVID relief packages that added up to over $190 billion for public and private schools. Billions more are slated to arrive shortly.

The potential for this funding is great. How to effectively secure and implement it can be daunting. Join eSchool News and a panel of the country’s most insightful analysts as they discuss the state-of-play of federal and state edtech funding programs and what districts can do to take advantage.…Read More

Labster Secures $47M in New Funding Tranche to Expand Global Opportunities for Virtual Science Laboratory Simulations

COPENHAGEN and BOSTON – April 6, 2022 – Labster ( www.labster.com), the world’s leading platform for virtual labs and interactive science, has raised $47 million in additional funding to support massive growth opportunities worldwide. This new capital infusion will enable Labster to further develop in Europe and the United States and to establish itself within Asia and Latin America. By investing more funds into its library of science simulations and expanding its reach to younger students and adult workforce skills training, Labster will be able to serve 100 million students around the world through its institutional and government partnerships.

Total investment in Labster now stands at $147 million. This new financing tranche is sourced from new investors: Sofina Group and Pirate Impact, along with fresh infusions from existing investors: Owl Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, EduCapital, NPF Technologies, and GGV Capital. They are joining the Series C round announced in 2021 led by Andreessen Horowitz. Additional investors included Balderton Capital, Northzone, Swisscom Ventures, and David Helgason, founder of Unity Technologies.

“As a contributor to sustainable development, Sofina is proud to support Labster’s vision of empowering millions of students with an engaging STEM learning experience,” said Bertrand Fawe, investment manager at Sofina Group. “The use of immersive virtual reality technology will continue to play a growing role in the delivery of education.”…Read More

Creatorup Raises Additional Investment To Disrupt The Video Creation Sector

CreatorUp has raised an additional round of financing from Gaingels and JFF (Jobs for the Future) to expand its first-of-its-kind video marketplace – that helps organizations of all sizes create professional video content easily and affordably anywhere in the world – while simultaneously providing training and opportunities for its creative workforce. 

Funds will be used to expand operations of the CreatorUp marketplace, which features more than 650 proven video solutions, in a multitude of styles and formats, that give clients the ability to choose, purchase, and create bespoke media with just a click.

“Powering the production of CreatorUp’s content is a network of almost 7,000 creative professionals, who bring a wealth of diversity and creativity to our projects,” said Mike Tringe, CreatorUp’s Co-founder and CEO. “We’re thrilled to be able to offer these opportunities in this new creative landscape.”…Read More