Want the TLDR? ESSER funding can be used to address:
📓 Student learning loss
💻 Technology for Education
💬 Translation Tools
💚 Mental Health Services and Supports

If your school or district is eligible for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds (ESSER) that Congress allocated for K-12 schools in the wake of the pandemic, you might be wondering what types of technology make sense for you to purchase. Good question! One of the lessons we’ve learned is that it’s essential to beef up school-home communications in the face of school closures.

What does school-home communication have to do with ESSER funding? Another good question! Here are four specific connections:

1. Student Learning Loss:

Teachers need an effective mechanism to deliver content to students that’s accessible, translatable, and easy to view on mobile. Since learning needs are generally not consistent across a class of students, teachers can both save time AND meet individual student needs by collaborating on communications that address specific areas of remediation, or that are otherwise differentiated. The ability to share mailing lists means that students can get the consistent support they need across subject areas, and teachers don’t have to spend time copying and pasting email addresses.

2. Technologies for Educational Interaction:

Whether it’s library enrichment, guidance office learning support, or simply classroom units, it takes more effort to engage students at a distance. Technologies that enable classroom teachers and specialists to embed photos and video, links, docs, and forms in their classroom newsletters enable teachers to use multiple modalities to engage students, much as they would in a classroom (though nothing beats f2f, we know!)

3. Reaching ELL Families:

Translation features are also essential because 1 in 5 students speak a different language at home. In order for parents to best support their learners, they need to be able to comfortably read and understand any materials or information that schools send home.

4. Provide Mental Health Services and Supports:

When it comes to the emotional impact of the pandemic, it’s critical for schools to be able to share emotional support materials, surveys, and event dates with all families. Accessibility, translation features, and mobile-friendly platforms are particularly important here, as hard to reach families have been more severely impacted by the emotional and financial consequences of Covid-19.

In the wake of the pandemic, home-school communication has only increased, and this is for the good. We hope schools find effective ways of reaching all their students and families with ease, consistency, and care. If you’d like to learn more about how Smore’s digital communication platform can help your school, check out our ESSER-focused newsletter template here.

School communication through ESSER funding in a school newsletter