Return, Recover, Reimagine:
3-Year Plan for Greater Equity and Recovery
The Elementary and Secondary Schools Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding presents a unique opportunity to support the students of Boston as we Return, Recover, and Reimagine our education system. Boston Public Schools (BPS) approached the work with equity at the center and brought in as many community voices as possible to shape our investments.
This draft report, released July 9, 2021, outlines the BPS investment strategy for ESSER II funds, which total approximately $123 million. A final report for ESSER II funds will be issued after the public comment period ends on July 30. Additional reports will be shared as more funding is allocated over the coming months and years.
At this stage of the process, we are planning allocations only for ESSER II funds, totaling approximately $123 million which we will use to help us recover from this pandemic. ESSER I funds have been spent to help us return safely to in-person learning. We heard from our community loud and clear: the majority of the funding should go directly to schools and there should be local decision-making at the school level. It’s critical that educators, parents/families, and leaders - who are the closest to our students - are able to make decisions about what interventions and practices will be most beneficial for our students and schools.
The ESSER II funds will be allocated in the following categories:
- 50% School Plan Investments
- 30% District-Wide School Investments
- 20% Forthcoming Investments
50% School Plan Investments
Initial school allocations are currently being finalized and will be shared with schools in July 2021. Then, schools will be able to work with their communities to determine what investments they believe will be most beneficial to their student body and for their school community. Additional funding may come as a result of greater differentiated analysis.
30% District-Wide School Investments
The process for determining district-wide school investments was designed to ensure that decisions would benefit students in an equitable manner, address priorities and feedback from the community, and lead to student impact.
As a result of engagement with the ESSER team and stakeholders, BPS decided to align the district-deployed investments to the three buckets that DESE outlined:
- Academics: investments like standards-based curriculum and a high-quality assessment tool
- Social-Emotional Wellness: investments like effective Social-Emotional learning tools for students in grades K-12
- Operations: investments like physical building modifications to update classroom learning environments and improve accessibility. The district plans to cover school needs in this bucket, recognizing that in order to allow schools to make what they see as the necessary Academics and Social Emotional investments, some baseline physical space components must be in place. Schools should not be forced to spend money they could invest in their students on physical building needs arising from deferred maintenance or longstanding facility challenges.
20% Forthcoming Investments
In addition to the investments in Academics, Social-Emotional Wellness, and Operations, we anticipate making investments in two additional categories: Cross-School Innovations and Community Partnerships. These two areas of investment are still under development and more information will be available in the fall 2021.