Funding Academic Supports in High Schools
February 9, 2023
Due to learning loss and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of high school students now need academic supports, accelerated learning, and interventions. Course failure rates have increased dramatically, and many students are feeling disconnected from school, adults, and classmates.
District leaders need to help high school students reconnect to school in ways that reaffirm their interests and identities.
Our downloadable guide explains how high school leaders can effectively design academic supports and strategically invest ESSER funding with long-term sustainability in mind.
What Are Academic Supports?
Academic supports are educational services, such as additional instruction time or targeted attention, that schools must provide students to address gaps in the foundational skills they need to access Tier 1 instruction.
Examples of Academic Supports Include:
- High-dosage tutoring.
- Strategically scheduled flex blocks.
- Double-dose courses.
- Acceleration academies.
How to Spend ESSER Funds to Develop Academic Supports
Targeted academic supports will require investment across multiple components, including:
- Dedicated time and additional staff for providing targeted academic support.
- Professional learning and collaboration time for educators.
- High-quality, standards-aligned curricular materials.
- Assessments and monitoring systems to track students’ progress and evolve the approach.
Download Our Guide on Targeted Academic Supports to:
- Better understand academic supports and their research-backed elements.
- Learn how to strategically schedule and staff your high school to best employ targeted academic supports.
- Explore the areas in which you should invest funding to get the best results.
- Discover how your high school can invest federal stimulus funds like ESSER for long-term sustainability.
Additional Resources and Real-World Examples of Academic Supports
Denver Public Schools and Anne Arundel County Public Schools provide powerful examples of how to implement ESSER-funded initiatives, like targeted academic supports, that not only address urgent crises but make significant strides in service of a long-standing goal: to create more effective and equitable high school environments, experiences, and outcomes. Learn more.
The pandemic highlighted the importance of effectively serving students with disabilities—and exacerbated the inequities embedded in traditional models for doing so. District leaders need to know which resources to use and how to target them strategically in order to implement inclusion models that serve all students effectively and equitably. Learn more.
In this op-ed for District Administration, ERS CEO Karen Hawley Miles recommends a combined set of actions for addressing areas of student need—and the specific changes in scheduling and staffing needed to drive equity and excellence in high school recovery and redesign. Learn more.