What are the ESF and ESSER?

According to the U.S. Department of Education, as a part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was signed on March 27, 2020, the Education Stabilization Fund (ESF) allotted $30.75 billion to the U.S. Department of Education to award grants to States (SEAs), districts (LEAs), and institutions of higher education (IHEs) in response to COVID-19. Approximately $13.2 billion of the $30.75 billion has been allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). On December 27, 2020, the Coronavirus  Response Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2021 (CRRSA) was signed into law, proving an additional $54.3 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER II).


Why is this important to me?

Funding is available, but you must act quickly! Submissions for ESSER II Funding are due by March 31, 2021, for any funds to be used in the 2021 fiscal year.  Here is what you need to know to act now:

  1. Determine your program’s needs that may qualify for ESSER funding. (See below for specific ideas from NAfME)
  2. Meet with your administration. (Watch this video for additional tips on how to talk with your administrator and advocate for your program)
  3. Your administration or district will meet with your LEA representative to advocate for your program’s needs.
    • Each state has a different process for how LEAs are able to get their funds. Please refer to your state’s Department of Education (DOE) website for more information on how to apply and to see track funding for your state.
    • ESSER II funds were distributed to SEAs in January 2021, and they have until January 2022 to award the funds to LEAs.


How can I use this funding?

ESSER funding can be used to help purchase many different supplies for any type of music classroom. While every state is approving these supplies differently, this may include supplies from bell covers, masks, and sanitation supplies for instruments to additional instruments, technology, facility improvements, instructional support, and summer and remediation programs for students.

Please refer to NAfME’s article, COVID Relief Funding in the Music Classroom to learn more about each of the possibilities outlined below that are covered with ESSER.

    • Purchasing masks, bell covers, or other protective equipment for use in the music classroom
        • Allowable under #3, #5
    • Supporting training for music educators on strategies to conduct in-person music instruction safely
        • Allowable under #6
    • Purchasing supplies to sanitize instruments
        • Allowable under #7
    • Purchasing devices for internet connectivity, laptops, and/or supplemental software that would allow for instruction and assessment through virtual means
        • Allowable under #9
    • Paying for additional instruction, such as through an adjunct teacher, private lessons instructor, or full-time teacher, to provide remediation in music
        • Allowable under #11
    • Purchasing materials to set up music classroom with physical distance between students such as masking tape or outdoor tents and/or purchasing equipment, such as a media cart, to make the music classroom mobile.
        • Allowable under #12


Additional Resources from the U.S. Department of Education


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Looking for effective communication tips before meeting with your administrator?

As part of KHS America Academic Alliance’s Virtual Education Series, Administrator Brian Duffy and Band Director Bojan Hoover presented and reflected on different communication channels and strategies in order to have successful communication with your administration.

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