🚨 LAST CALL FOR PROPOSALS - 2024 Virtual MTSS Summit 🚨
Submit yours by July 22 >>

    Instituting MTSS Leadership in MTSS

    Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the federal government has passed three separate stimulus bills. Combined, the three pieces of legislation have provided over $195 billion in funding for K12 schools - that’s almost double the $100 billion that schools received from the 2009 stimulus bill following the economic recession.

    Keeping track of all that money and how school districts can use the funds for students can be confusing, but here’s a bit of help...

    How much money is in the new stimulus bill for K12 schools?

    Immediately after the pandemic started in March 2020, the federal government created the first stimulus bill (the CARES Act) which allocated around $13.2 billion towards a special fund called the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund. This was then followed by an additional $54 billion in December 2020 for ESSER-II from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation (CRRSA) Act. 

    The new legislation - the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which was signed in March - provides an additional $128 billion for K12 school districts for the ESSER Fund. Local school districts will receive at least 90% of that amount with the remaining 10% going to state education agencies. The funds will be distributed to states and local school districts using the same formula that the federal government uses to disburse Title I funding for schools. You can use this nifty calculator from The Learning Policy Institute to see how much money will be sent to each state.


    When and for how long will the stimulus funding be available for schools?

    The three stimulus bills provide school districts with lots of flexibility in terms of when they need to spend the money. School districts can spend the money for costs spent prior to receiving the funds as long as they were spent after March 13, 2020 - the date that the national emergency was declared. 



    CARES Act 

    (Mar 2020)

    CRRSA Act 

    (Dec 2020)

    ARP Act 

    (Mar 2021)

    Total amount for K12 Schools

    $13.2 billion

    $54 billion

    $128 billion

    For costs dating from:

    Mar. 13, 2020

    Mar. 13, 2020

    Mar. 13, 2020

    For costs dating to:

    Sep. 30, 2022

    Sep. 30, 2023

    Sep. 30, 2024

    The latest stimulus bill - the American Recovery Plan Act of 2021 - gives states and school districts more than 3 years to spend the funds.


    How can schools use stimulus funding for RTI and MTSS?

    The new legislation requires that at least 20% of the funds that school districts receive (and 5% of the funds that state education agencies receive) from the legislation must address instructional loss using evidence-based interventions that respond to students academic and social-emotional needs.

    The remaining funding can be used for almost anything that is an allowable expense from ESSA, IDEA, or other federal education legislation. Specifically, the legislation says that school districts can address instructional loss through:

    (i) administering and using high-quality assessments that are valid and reliable, to accurately assess students’ academic progress and assist educators in meeting students’ academic needs, including through differentiating instruction;

    (ii) implementing evidence-based activities to meet the comprehensive needs of students;

    (iii) providing information and assistance to parents and families on how they can effectively support students, including in a distance learning environment; and

    (iv) tracking student attendance and improving student engagement in distance education.


    For school districts that are looking to improve their RTI / MTSS practice, these allowable expenses are a great way to start. High-quality, nationally-normed universal screeners and  benchmark assessments can help you to know which students are struggling. Branching Minds can ingest this assessment data to help educators tier students and to then create intervention plans for those students with the most need. 

    But keeping track of intervention plans for so many students can be challenging - even for the most organized educators. Branching Minds makes it easy to document and keep track of which evidence-based interventions and progress monitors are used for which students and when. 

    This way, whichever investments your school or district chooses to make using the stimulus funds, you can know that the tools are being used with fidelity - and helping to support all students after a very challenging school year.

    Interested in Learning How to Support the Whole Child with Branching Minds?

    Branching Minds makes MTSS easy, efficient, and effective by bringing together all of the components of MTSS so teachers can collaboratively problem-solve and support all students’ holistic needs. Our system-level solution helps schools improve students’ outcomes across academics, behavior, and SEL equitably.

    Our platform supports teachers with Behavior and SEL in the following ways:

    ✅ Assessing SEL Needs with the DESSA
    ✅ Understand Students Perception of their Own SEL Competence with the SECA
    ✅ Leveraging SEL Screeners for Tiering
    ✅ More effective problem-solving
    ✅ Finding the Right Evidence-based Interventions & Accommodations for Each Learner
    ✅ Creating Intervention Plans and Monitoring Daily & Weekly Progress in Behavior/SEL
    ✅ Logging & Monitoring Behavior Incidents
    ✅ Pattern Matching Behavior Incidents Across Groups
    Request a demo

    Related Posts

    Tagged: Instituting MTSS, Leadership in MTSS

    March 17, 2021

    Comments (0)

    Newer Post What is Tier 1 Enrichment and Support?
    Older Post Developing a Successful MTSS/RTI Team