Council of State Science Supervisors
“The voice and vision of science education for the states”

Leveraging American Rescue Plan Funds to Support Science Education

Introduction to ARP ESSER Funds

COVID-19 closures have affected students across the United States in ways that may not be fully understood for decades. As a result, Congress has made emergency funds available through theAmerican Rescue Plan Act Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund.  Allowable uses of the funds are outlined in the Appendix.

How ESSER can support Science and STEM can Support ARP

According to the Framework for K-12 Science Education, providing ongoing interaction with practices, crosscutting concepts, and progressing complexity of disciplinary core ideas gives students the opportunity to grow with their understanding and application of scientific thought and reasoning. Given this approach, “learning loss” due to a year of COVID interruption is not the immediate concern for science, as students will have further interaction with core ideas at a greater depth in later years.  Teaching K-12 Science and Engineering During a Crisis suggests instead to manage and modify the scope of the curriculum through organizing instruction to focus on the most conceptually meaningful work, building toward multiple learning goals simultaneously, coordinating learning within and between grade levels, connecting to students, homes, and communities, and integrating elementary instruction. 

Available funds can be leveraged to engage students in developing understandings of phenomena and solving problems in ways that equitably attend to student needs and honor the unique set of skills and understandings that students bring with them.

How To Use This Document

The following chapters of Teaching K-12 Science and Engineering During a Crisis provide an organizational structure for the guide. The document is organized by the following themes:

These themes provide context for what science teaching and learning may look like moving forward and how funds can be spent to support students and teachers. Vignettes provide a description of one approach that a school has adopted in the past. Each suggested use of funds is followed by a number or numbers in parentheses, corresponding to the allowable uses list in the Appendix. While these uses may beallowable according to the ESSER guidance, not all uses will be allowable or appropriate in the context of a given state or district. These suggestions are not exhaustive and have not been reviewed by the United States Department of Education. In addition, this collection of resources was created for a joint CSSS, NSTA, and NSELA webinar to support this guide.

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