ESSER update: Campus funding helps accelerate learning

During the 2021-2022 school year, Dallas ISD allocated $10 million in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds for tiered campus support to mitigate learning loss due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The funds were provided for schools to “implement their own unique acceleration and intervention plans” and to “strengthen campus-specific initiatives,” said Derinda Hunter, the director in School Leadership who led the initiative. The funding proved to be successful, and the budget was increased for the 2022-2023 school year. According to Hunter, 239 schools received a total of approximately $12.6 million by the end of August to support their learning recovery and acceleration efforts. 

To determine the amount of funding each campus obtained, schools were tiered based on need for additional support according to numerous predictors, including equity related factors, student achievement and campus climate data. Tier three schools—which had the greatest need for additional support—received $80,000 each, while tier two schools received $55,000 each and tier one schools received $35,000 each. Some of the most common purchases included instructional supplies and resources, software and technology accessories. Funding was also used to acquire new furniture to facilitate small-group learning and increase engagement. 

About 65 percent of tier three schools—the campuses receiving the most funding—and 60 percent of tier two schools used 70 percent or more of their funds last year, leading to exciting results.

“The big success that we have seen was those campuses that spent 70 percent or more of their funding last year moved one or two letter grades,” Hunter said. “Our schools are clearly dedicated to seeing how they can help our students during this time.”

Given the positive impact that the ESSER grant program has had on student outcomes, funding for tiered campus support will continue for the 2023-2024 school year. To learn more about how Dallas ISD is using ESSER funds to support learning recovery and acceleration, visit

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