ESSER Funding 101 & Using Student Data Strategies to Respond to Learning Loss

With the recent passage of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA) in December 2020, conversations around ESSER funding seem to be popping up in more and more education spaces. Now, with the addition of new funds from the American Rescue Plan, released on March 24, 2021, our team wanted to share some helpful resources around ESSER planning. 

What’s the difference between ESSER, ESSER II, and ESSER III? 

March 2020: Congress allocated $13.2 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER). 

  • This fund was intended for “preventing, preparing for, and responding to COVID-19.” 

December 2020: Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations was signed into law, providing $54.3 billion for the ESSER II fund.

  • This fund can be used for the same purposes as ESSER, with some additions including addressing learning loss. 

March 2021: American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act was signed into law, providing $122 billion for the ESSER III (aka ARP ESSER) fund, with $81 billion available immediately.

  • This fund requires that LEAs use no less than 20% to address learning loss through-evidence based interventions. 

We found a great resource that outlines the primary differences between these funds: Comparison Table (starts on page 4)

What is the timeline for ESSER funding?

Retrieved at

ESSER III Timeline: As of March 24, 2021, the Department of Education released a total of $81 billion to support “efforts to get students back in the classroom safely for in-person learning, keep schools open once students are back, and address the academic, social, emotional, and mental health needs of all students.” This site provides a timeline for ESSER funding through the end of 2024.

How much of the funding will my state receive? 

Funding amounts are based on the amount of Title I funding a state or district receives. We’ve compiled several resources and workbooks to understand how much funding your state or district will receive. 

ESSER State-by-State Estimates At a GlanceThis interactive workbook provides funding estimates for ESSER, ESSER II, ESSER III as well as a funding timeline. To use the workbook, choose your funding period, select your state, and search by district. 

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund TrackerThis a great resource that includes ESSER I, II, and III funding amounts by state and provides additional information about SEA Plan For 10% Set-Aside for each state. 

Using ESSER funds for Schoolrunner

ESSER II added addressing learning loss as an allowable use and ESSER III requires districts to use 20% of funding to address learning loss through evidence-based interventions. As districts and school leaders seek out solutions to understand and mitigate learning loss, Schoolrunner is one tool that allows schools to track and measure student learning loss at the school, classroom, and individual level. 

School Leader:

  • Bird’s eye view on learning gaps across the school – Administrators can view performance on standards by advisory, grade level, homeroom, gender, ethnicity, FRL status, and more. With a high-level view of where students are excelling or struggling, administrators can plan for effective interventions to combat learning loss and gain insight on equity gaps within their schools. 

  • Intervention tracking – Administrators are able to create custom groups, for example, grouping all students in similar interventions to track results and progress. Administrators can quickly view how effective interventions are on mitigating learning loss and replicate successes or make changes and provide additional supports early. With the analysis tool, administrators can view daily lesson mastery by content area and teacher, including all students or priority only.

  • School highlight: In this clip, Charlie Coglianese, CEO/Founder and Chief Data Wizard at Schoolrunner, shares how Lake County School District is identifying learning gaps, missed work, and other needs for students and is responding by assigning, communicating, and tracking tutoring hours.


  • Teachers can import previous year, beginning of the year, and interim assessments either through CSV upload or integrations with LMS like Google Classroom or Schoology. Teachers can quickly visualize learning gains and losses by class, student, objective, or advisory group.
  • Teachers can view academic progress over time for a class, group, or individual student to track the efficacy of interventions and make adjustments.

Students & Families:

  • A key piece in the effort to mitigate learning loss is ensuring that students and families are in the loop. Students and guardians can access their data from the Parent Portal and mobile app, easily viewing performance per standard and all grades and assignments in the grade book.

Other helpful resources 

Frequently asked questions by The U.S. Department of EducationThis FAQ is most helpful for providing general context and information around ESSER I. 

On COVID learning loss & increasing disparities among students of color: Provides an “Autumn Report Card” with early data on learning loss and provides guidance on the creation of “acceleration plans” that use evidence-based strategies that support students with more time and more dedicated attention.

ESSER I & II Fact Sheet: This fact sheet outlines the primary differences between ESSER I & ESSER II

Have additional ESSER resources that could benefit other school leaders? Share them at and we will update them here. 

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