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Funding Social-Emotional Support for Students

With many students returning to school with pandemic-related trauma, building strong relationships and support is more important than ever. ESSER funds give districts and schools the opportunity to respond to these intensified needs by strengthening structures for social-emotional development and support.

Our downloadable guide offers guidance to districts leaders looking to use ESSER dollars to sustainably fund structures for social-emotional support. It also includes concrete examples of staffing and scheduling models that leaders can implement today and continuously improve over time.




How to Support Social and Emotional Learning

Research shows that dedicated, explicit social-emotional learning opportunities and instruction have a demonstrated positive impact on students, often boosting academic performance. To be most effective, leaders should integrate social-emotional learning into academic instruction during the school day.

Examples of Social-Emotional Support Include:

  • 1:1 student counseling.
  • Supplemental services, including family outreach, behavioral supports, and counseling support groups.
  • Investments in a safe, positive environment.


How to Spend ESSER Funds to Support Social-Emotional Learning

Strategic ways to invest ESSER dollars in social-emotional development and support include:

  • Providing instructors with quality materials, dedicated time, development opportunities, and supports for integrating social-emotional learning into academics.
  • Building a safe, relationships-based environment, starting with investments in developing adult practices.
  • Offering home visits and emerging digital tools, which have shown promise for increasing family engagement.
  • Leveraging community resources for additional counseling supports for sustainable investment.


Download Our Guide on Social-Emotional Support to:

  • Better understand social-emotional support and development.
  • Learn how you can invest in social-emotional support and development.
  • Discover how to strategically and sustainably invest your ESSER funds to support students’ social and emotional needs.
  • Explore the scheduling implications of these investment areas and review concrete examples.




Additional Resources on Social-Emotional Supports for Students


How Do You Support Social-Emotional Learning and Expand Collaborative Planning Time? 

In the 2015-16 school year, Arlington Woods Elementary used the opportunity for greater autonomy over scheduling to create designated time for social-emotional learning. Find out what they learned and how to support this kind of instruction.

Presentation: Cleveland Metropolitan School District 

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, CMSD worked with their community partners to meet family needs in new ways, including expanding access to mental health services, food, clothing, and rent assistance, in an effort to help students impacted most by remote learning. Click through this presentation to see how they achieved this goal. 

Guide: Integrating Social, Emotional, and Academic Development

Check out this guide that The Aspen Institute, ERS, and other partners created to help principals and school leadership teams see how social-emotional learning can enhance academic performance, and learn how to weave social-emotional development into every aspect of school.




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