ESSER update: Taking college and career readiness to the next level

Dallas ISD is accelerating college and career readiness in most grades thanks to a $350,000 investment from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund for a tool that helps students find their career path and opportunities.

“SchooLinks brings awareness and exposure to our students at a high level to see what their interests are,” said JoAnn Jackson, director of Counseling Services. “It also puts a huge focus on school choice, so our students have access to dig deep and identify the different programs that we have.” 

The tool launched for kindergarten through fifth grade students for the first time during the 2021-2022 school year to increase early awareness about colleges and career paths. Meanwhile, middle school students completed inventory assessments and college and career matching so they could align with the schools that best fit their needs, and high school students took virtual college tours, tracked their scholarships and financial aid and more. 

ESSER funding has been allocated to provide SchooLinks to Dallas ISD students and their supporting counselors for several more years. Jackson and her team are currently working with SchooLinks to refine the kindergarten through second grade assessments to match grade-level needs, increase usage across all grade levels and implement a four-year course planner for high school students so they can manage their classes and stay on track for graduation. 

“SchooLinks supports all of the work that we’re doing in the district around college and career readiness and the accountability components that fall within that,” Jackson said. “It’s just a natural progression of educating all students for success.” 

To learn more about how Dallas ISD is using ESSER funds to help offset unexpected costs and overcome obstacles caused by the pandemic, visit  

You may also like