Three Ways Districts Can Maximize Federal Funding for Data-Informed Decision Making

To respond to the demanding needs resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education provided financial resources to school districts through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund, Funding was allocated to school districts through their State Education Agencies in three rounds to help K-12 schools respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. ESSER funds are intended to help districts and schools address the most pressing needs related to the pandemic, including the purchase of technology and training to support remote learning, learning loss prevention, and mental health and social-emotional support. While the deadline to spend the first round of ESSER funds has expired, school districts are required to spend the second round of funding (ESSER II) by September 30, 2023 and the third round (ESSER III) by September 30, 2024. 

ESSER III is specifically intended to fund evidence-based practices for learning acceleration, summer enrichment, and after school programming. Schools can use this funding to invest in technology and data management to build a sustainable system for self-service analytics that supports data-informed decision making. 

Additionally, under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), all local, county, and state governments received financial resources under the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to address needs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis. SLFRF recipients can provide funding to schools to address educational disparities. SLFRF recipients are required to obligate funding by December 31, 2024 and spend all obligated funding by December 31, 2026. 

Additional eligible uses include enhanced services in schools to address increased rates of behavioral health challenges for youth, including assistance to high poverty school districts to advance equitable funding across districts and geographies and evidence-based services to address the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of students. Recipients can award funding to schools to increase access to a well-rounded education; well-prepared, effective, and diverse educators and staff; and integrated support services—can also begin to mitigate the impact of COVID–19 on schools and students and can close long-standing gaps in educational opportunity. The U.S. Department of Treasury encourages SLFRF recipients and subrecipients to invest funds for ongoing effective service delivery, including the advancement of data analytics to identify and address lost instructional time due to the pandemic. 

Here are three ways your district can work with Innive to allocate SLFRF and remaining ESSER funds. 

  1. Roadmap to Self-Service Analytics 

Self-Service Analytics enables district staff to continually discover insights using reliable, timely, actionable data that’s readily available. If you haven’t initiated a Self-Service Analytics program in your district, work with Innive to develop a comprehensive roadmap identifying new/improved technologies and processes required to support data management and analysis. We’ll help determine what supports are needed for delivering integrated data to district and school leaders while addressing all aspects of people, processes, and technology. The roadmap will answer many questions, including, but not limited to: What training is needed to improve data literacy? Do we need a data warehouse?  How will we access the data? \

Assets by Innive and Hexalytics helps monitor digital assets purchased with relief funds.
  1. Generate new insights quickly with K12 360° Datasets 

K12 360° Datasets are curated collections of data that are prepped and ready to be input into your data visualization tool, like Tableau. Each dataset is focused on a specific subject area, like social-emotional support, assessments, staffing data, digital equity, and more. These datasets support initiatives around the ESSER fund goals of remote learning, learning loss prevention, and mental health and social-emotional support. 

  1. Monitor Digital Teaching Tools 

Assets by Innive and Hexalytics is a new solution designed to facilitate digital asset management, including district-provided digital devices, hardware, and software licenses. In response to the pandemic, districts purchased and distributed devices as quickly as possible with little mechanism for tracking where the devices went or their condition. With Assets, easily check out/in devices, monitor damage history, and keep track of inventory all in one place. Generate standardized or custom reports and schedule alerts to keep informed. 

Recap: Important Dates to Remember

  • ESSER II Deadline: September 30, 2023
  • ESSER III Deadline: September 30, 2024
  • SLFRF Obligation Deadline: December 31, 2024