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7 Principles for Investing ESSER Funds in Recovery & Redesign

As students and educators conclude a school year like no other, district leaders are looking ahead to 2021-2022. Planning has already been underway for months, and now, with an infusion of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding, district leaders are faced with key decisions about how to invest those funds strategically.

Navigating these challenges and opportunities is best approached with a “do now, build toward" mindset. This means addressing critical student needs now and laying a sustainable foundation for lasting improvement.

In this brief, we detail seven crucial principles for investing ESSER funds with a “do now, build toward” approach, highlight key considerations for each, and share resources to help your district realize its vision.


One district, Hartford Public Schools, has embodied these seven principles in their own ESSER planning. They are using the funds to invest in sustainable strategies for their students and staff with a plan that considers state priorities, stakeholder feedback, and recovery "must-wins" to guide them toward high-impact use of federal dollars. Check out Hartford's approach.













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