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Resource for school leaders

ESSER Planning Framework

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ESSER III Planning

In partnership with Chiefs for Change, Thru, a K-12 education consultancy, developed and released a workbook and an accompanying guide to help K-12 districts plan for and allocate their ESSER fund grants. The workbook includes:

  • Easy-to-understand information on the ESSER funds statutory requirements
  • Step-by-step guidance for how to streamline the process for organizing and receiving funds, select initiatives, and identify partners
  • Self-populating graphs, charts, and other tools to help leaders make decisions and facilitate community conversations
  • Pre-built graphs and charts to allow leaders to easily report key details to families, partners, and governance teams

Overview of the Planning Framework

The detailed planning framework below guides LEA leaders through a coordinated planning effort to develop a plan for the strategic use of ESSER III funds. Thru organized the framework into four stages, all of which have the opportunity to meaningfully involve community stakeholders and partner organizations to strengthen the plan. Within each stage are a set of steps, questions to guide decision making, a recommended list of stakeholders to involve, and practical project actions to complete.

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Tips for Getting Started

Planning for the strategic use of ESSER funds and unpacking this framework will take time, so set expectations for yourself and others that this will be an ongoing effort over the course of 6-12 weeks (depending on your size, complexity and structures to conduct this type of planning). Below are some practical steps to take as your begin:


Make a copy of the full workbook and review each of the Input and Output tabs to identify how you will modify it to best meet your district needs.

Reach out

Reach out to a few thought partners to review this framework together - and maybe one or two of these folks can even serve as leads across planning, strategy, finance and communication


Build out a project schedule with a timeline for your team that accommodates any requirements from your Local or State Education Agency.


Consider the questions in "Decisions to Make" as conversation starters across your school and district leadership teams, getting a discussion flowing ahead of taking action.


Using the Tools

This is an opportunity for staff and community to generate ideas together so that you have a coherent and coordinated plan
to address the needs of students ahead of summer programming and SY 2021-2022 reopening.

Any questions? Reach out to Simma at Thru


Set the foundation of your planning process by identifying your team, building a thorough understanding of your district's financial situation, and developing a spending philosophy.


Design a set of initiatives to bring you closer to your strategic vision, while also addressing your student, staff and community needs illuminated by COVID.


Collaborate across partners and communities to bring your ideas into life, committing resources and energy to the plan.


Develop tools to tell the stories and share the progress being made across your district.

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