Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER)
Sustaining current investments and supporting innovative planning to address the unfinished learning of students is how Pittsburgh Public Schools is prioritizing its use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER). ESSER I, ESSER II, and ESSER III were authorized by the three relief bills known as Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), and the American Rescue Plan (ARP).
Meeting Immediate Needs through ESSER I
The District used the $11.1 million it received from ESSER I to purchase student and staff computer devices, personal protective equipment, and sanitary supplies.
Bolstering Current Investments through ESSER II
The COVID-19 pandemic forced unplanned budget disbursements toward technology to support becoming a 1:1 device district, 220 air purifiers and replacement filters to improve ventilation, and new communication tools, such as Talking Points, to improve two-way parent engagement, particularly with the District’s English Language Learners. By way of its request through ESSER II, the District aims to utilize approximately $50.1 million to sustain and enhance its current investments by expanding its wireless technology infrastructure and assets, improving indoor air quality, and advancing summer learning programming.
ESSER III Spurs Innovative Planning to Address Unfinished Learning
Guided by internal discussions with school staff and leadership and a review of input gathered at public engagement sessions, the 21-member Public Stakeholder Advisory Committee developed 34 initiatives and a budget for each in four areas:
- Unfinished Learning and Acceleration
- Social-Emotional Learning and Mental Health Supports;
- Capital and Equipment Costs
- Other Proposals.
Examples of some of the 34 initiatives approved as part of the District’s ESSER III proposal include:
- Investments in high-quality, culturally authentic, and relevant instructional resources, supports, and curriculum aligned to state and national standards;
- An extensive K-12 tutoring plan that includes appropriate compensation to attract high-quality tutors;
- College in high school at all high schools through a partnership with the University of Pittsburgh;
- Expanding and deepening of restorative practices across the District, including implementation of Restorative Safe Passages to reduce violent behaviors to, from, and in school;
- Capital improvements across schools, including Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) system repairs, upgrades & replacements, and an aqua therapy pool for Pittsburgh Pioneer;
- Enhancing and upgrading districtwide IT security; and
- Maintaining school-based staff to allow the District to address unfinished learning and acceleration.
Visit ARP ESSER Allocations for further details of the District’s plan for using ESSER III funds.
School Needs Assessment Dashboard
In accordance with the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act and Pennsylvania Act 24 of 2021 (Act 24), the Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) has awarded funding including approximately one percent (1%) of Pennsylvania’s ARP Elementary and Secondary School Education Relief (ESSER) State Reserve funds to support Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) in the development and implementation of comprehensive after-school programs to address learning loss in response to the academic, social, emotional and mental health needs of students and subgroups of students impacted by COVID-19 public health emergency that supplement school programs and activities.
Called the Student-Led ESSER Funding, the initiative will be led by a 14-member ESSER subcommittee of the Student Voice effort in PPS. Members of the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council [SSAC] and the Students and Government Council [SAGC] will work together to develop proposals for spending a part of the ESSER funds based on student needs.