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How To Use ESSER Funds for Your Music and Theater Applications



When faculty budgets are being determined, it usually looks as if the purchases for music and the humanities get shuffled round and skimmed away till there’s not a lot left for the bigger-budget gadgets (and even a number of the smaller gadgets!) we’d like to make use of with our college students. To make up for these shortages, music and performing arts academics, like so many different educators, usually find yourself funding our school rooms with our personal cash. It’s removed from excellent. Fortuitously, there is a option to get funding for our school rooms and performances areas with out impacting district budgets. Congress has enacted a once-in-a-generation program obtainable to varsities and academic establishments particularly to boost scholar studying and handle studying loss introduced on by the COVID pandemic.

What are ESSER funds?

Put merely, in 2020, the U.S. Congress handed a $2.2 trillion financial stimulus invoice in response to the financial repercussions of the COVID pandemic. A part of that invoice, referred to as the Elementary and Secondary College Emergency Aid (ESSER) Fund, designated cash particularly for colleges. There are three phases of ESSER Fund dispersal that can be utilized to buy gear and provides, COVID-19 mitigation, or present assist for scholar wants. 

A few of the ESSER funds, particularly ESSER III funds, have to be used to deal with studying loss by way of evidence-based interventions that reply to college students’ tutorial, social, and emotional wants. And that’s the place music and performing arts school rooms can profit from this funding probably the most.

What does that imply for performing arts school rooms?

The performing arts assist the social and emotional well-being of scholars, whether or not by way of distance studying or in particular person. Due to this fact, performing arts–associated actions could also be eligible for assist underneath this umbrella. ESSER funds can be found to varsities to make any buy that can improve scholar studying and academic improvement. In different phrases, this will embody gear or expertise that’s usually too costly to be included in a traditional 12 months’s finances. 

Take inventory of your classroom or efficiency area.

What would make your classroom a extra accessible, extra enriching setting to your college students? You is likely to be stunned at what forms of provides or sources is likely to be obtainable for buy utilizing ESSER funds. Some examples embody:

  • Auxiliary devices for the band or orchestra
  • Notation or drill writing software program
  • Music storage choices
  • Instrument restore and provides
  • Choral risers
  • Basic music percussion
  • Motion manipulatives
  • Sound and lighting gear

I don’t learn about you, however I’ve a couple of music stands that wobble if you happen to exhale too arduous and some trombones that will or is probably not held collectively by bubblegum which might be definitely due for an improve!

When you’ve made your checklist, request a gathering.

Decide who’s accountable for your district’s ESSER funds requests. Relying in your district, this could possibly be your division chair, principal, or federal packages supervisor. Ask for a gathering. Be ready to current an in depth request checklist based mostly in your evaluation of your classroom or program’s wants. It may be clever to incorporate your division chair or one other administrator at this assembly. That means, you’ve an ally who’s acquainted and concerned together with your program. They will function an advocate and reinforce your proposal. Plan accordingly, as there are deadlines for purchases by way of every section.

Key deadlines for applying for ESSER funds

Put together for questions.

Be ready to justify why you and your college students want these funds allotted to them. Assume security, studying enhancement, program development, summer season studying, and the way funds will assist handle studying loss. Moreover, convey normal quotes for what you’re proposing to be bought. Some districts require competing quotes. The one option to entry these funds is to ask, so it is sensible to start out large. There’s nothing flawed with asking for all the things you possibly can attainable need, but additionally have various, pared-down lists prepared. In brief, come ready with extra info than you assume you’ll really need.

Don’t be discouraged by an preliminary “no.”

It may be formidable to have a request refused, however don’t surrender. One “no” doesn’t imply that funding isn’t attainable. Ask the particular person accountable for funding for what that you must revise or retool with the intention to re-apply. ESSER funding is being distributed in phases, so whereas the present section may not be an possibility, future phases is likely to be. ESSER funding is being distributed by way of September 2024, so persistence counts!

On the lookout for sources, provides, or assist as you apply for ESSER funds? The parents at Wenger Company will provide help to by way of the method.

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