Use of ESSER III Funds

Under the American Rescue Plan (ARP), which became law in March 2021, school districts around the country will receive funding to address the impact of COVID-19 on students' academic, social, emotional and mental health needs. This funding is known as "ESSER III."

"ESSER" is short for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief. ESSER III receives its numerical designation from the fact that the ARP ESSER Fund is the third set of COVID-related federal relief grants for schools that Congress has passed since the pandemic began.

ESSER I and ESSER II were established respectively by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March 2020 and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act in December 2020.

How Much Money Will ESSER III Provide?

ESSER III will provide nearly $122 billion to state educational agencies and school districts to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation’s students.

 Chicago Heights School District is expected to receive $18,903,520 in ESSER III funds. 

How Will Chicago Heights School District 170 Use Its ESSER III Funds?

The District plans to use its ESSER III grant money in the following major areas:

  • Academic Supports

  • Social Emotional Supports

  • Capital Improvements

Academic Supports:

  • Hire instructional coaches, assistant principals, and teachers to ensure quality instruction occurs throughout the district. 

  • Provide Comprehensive After School Instruction (CASP Tutoring): CASP is designed to provide a comprehensive layer of academic support for identified students. CASP will serve students with supervised tutoring services in a safe, supportive, and familiar environment for learning. 

  • Purchase supplies and materials to combat the digital divide and support the learning environment.

  • Provide stipends for professional development

Social Emotional Supports

  • Provide an online SEL platform that provides each student with personalized self-guided mindfulness strategies while connecting the students in conversation with a caring adult. The program is designed to identify, address, and manage problems before they start.

  • Provide salaries/benefits for nurses, psychologists, case managers to support students' social and emotional well-being.

Capital Improvements

  • Repairing and improving school facilities to reduce the risk of virus transmission and exposure to environmental health hazards. Repair and upgrade projects to improve air quality in identified school buildings. Replace roofs, interior of buildings, and HVAC systems in identified buildings to meet code standards and reduce risk of virus transmissions and health hazards.

  • Provide salaries/benefits for custodial/maintenance staff and administrative assistants who support the work of capital improvement efforts.

  • Provide security equipment to keep students and staff safe.