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July 28, 2022

How to Make the Most of ESSER Funds for Your School

ESSER funds, which come from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief fund, are funds earmarked for helping schools recover from many of the challenges they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. ESSER funds can help schools provide support services to their students or enhance their plans and programs to allow student learning to continue at a high level despite the pandemic. Across the nation, K-12 districts are strategically leveraging ESSER funds to bolster student support programs in anticipation of back-to-school season. But how can you make the most of the ESSER funds for your school? 

Read on to learn a few keen strategies to maximize your ESSER funds by investing in your students' success.

What can K-12 districts use their ESSER funding on?

K-12 districts can make use of ESSER funding in several key ways:

  • Purchasing education technology
  • Instituting policies and procedures designed to manage future long-term school closures
  • Providing supplemental after-school learning programs
  • Offering mental health support to students
  • Implementing summer learning opportunities for students

Schools must use their ESSER funds to support their students and help fill in gaps created by COVID, including decreased overall learning opportunities for many students.

Online tutoring: a proven student support intervention

Many students have suffered from considerable learning gaps due to the pandemic—a challenge even more present in disadvantaged schools.

Majority-black schools, for example, currently lag an estimated 12 months behind majority-White schools. Disadvantaged learners, including those in the lower income brackets, may also struggle immensely with learning gaps and a lack of educational support.

Online tutoring is a proven initiative that can help support those students. Online tutoring offers a number of critical advantages, particularly for students struggling to bridge learning and opportunity gaps. It allows students to access tutoring whenever and wherever they need it most.

Online tutoring can also support high-dosage tutoring for students who may benefit from this intensive form of support. High-dosage tutoring can help provide scaffolding around learning gaps and help bring students back up to grade level.

What to look for in an ESSER-eligible tutoring solution

In order to find the right tutoring platform for your needs, it's critical that you find a K-12 tutoring provider that offers the features and benefits that your district needs the most.

On-demand access

Many of your students are busier than ever before. They're involved in a variety of after-school activities. They hold down jobs. They may end up at school for hours after the school day ends because their parents need the childcare available there. Ensuring that your students have access to the tutoring support they need, when they need it, is critical. Look for a tutoring provider that offers on-demand access to academic to support to deliver that around-the-clock support students need to excel.  

Multi-subject coverage

As you seek a tutoring content provider, make sure you're looking for a platform that offers coverage of the subjects your students are actually taking. You may want to provide them with STEM support or ensure your tutoring platform offers support for students taking vocational or technical classes. Consider the course offering across your district, then choose a tutoring provider that delivers much-needed support in those areas.

Easy to use and implement

When you select a tutoring provider, make sure you choose one that's easy to implement into your existing student support ecosystem. Solid online tutoring solutions work with major LMS providers to connect your students with academic support quickly and conveniently. Another consideration to keep in mind is high caliber customer support at all stages of your partnership with an online tutoring provider. An exceptional online tutoring solution offers dedicated specialists who collaborate closely with your district on driving student awareness and adoption of your tutoring program.

Offer the best aspects of in-person learning

A good online tutoring platform will offer the quality face-to-face engagement and interactivity of in-person learning. The most effective way to achieve this personalized approach to pedagogy is through live audio and video support. Online tutoring platforms that only offer chat-based support are unsuitable for working through more complex subjects like Geometry, and are impersonal and difficult to cultivate a strong student-tutor rapport. Live audio and video support allows tutors to break down more complex content, keep students engaged in the lesson at hand, and build a deeper relationship, resulting in better learning outcomes.

Collaborative learning tools

Technology in education has advanced substantially in the past few years alone. Look for an online tutoring provider that offers students and tutors full access to a host of versatile learning tools, including virtual whiteboards, screen sharing, robust text and code editors, and more.

Student analytics

Find an online tutoring provider that gives you transparent access to actionable student analytics. How do students actually perform in that virtual tutoring environment? Are they doing better during tutoring sessions? What areas do they struggle in the most? You need a tutoring platform that gives you access to those insights, which can, in turn, help guide in-class instruction and support to better address the needs of each student.

Pear Deck Tutor as an effective online tutoring solution for K-12 districts

Pear Deck Tutor (formerly TutorMe) makes it easier than ever to connect students with everything they need to close learning gaps and get back on track, from the latest virtual learning tools to exceptional tutors covering hundreds of subjects and content areas.

School districts across the country are already leveraging ESSER funds on Pear Deck Tutor to help their students succeed. With tight deadlines regarding when you must use those funds, there's no better time to make the most informed decision to help your students thrive.

Maximize the impact of your ESSER funds and invest in your students' success with Pear Deck Tutor. Contact us today to become a partner school!


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Rudy Hernandez

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