This past year has reinforced the nation’s belief that, even with limited resources, teachers are incredibly resilient and able to meet a broad array of challenges such as school closures, distance teaching, and more.
Districts and schools across the country are making decisions about how to best utilize federal funding. Regardless of the programs, software, and technology professional development and training plays a critical part in acclimating educators and students to what’s “new” for best integration for teaching and learning.
A few headlines from a recent internet search on K-12 relief funding in schools include “What Congressional Covid Funding Means for K-12 Schools,” “States Scramble to Disburse K-12 Relief Funds Ahead of Deadline,” and “States are Waffling Over Billions in K-12 Federal Relief. Schools Are Getting Antsy.” Clearly, educators want clear-cut information on funding including how much, ways to use it, and when to expect it.
Since late March 2020, the federal government has approved relief funding to help states address challenges to student learning caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA), and the American Rescue Plan will provide approximately $190 billion to the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Education Relief (ESSER) fund. Of course, with the availability of funds come many questions such as - How can these funds be used? When do they need to be used by? Where should we start?
Dr. Don Gemeinhardt joined the Boxlight family late last year as Director of Strategic Funding. He is a grant and proposal subject matter expert who has worked with various companies involved with education, compliance training, and student, faculty, and police officer development. His role at Boxlight is focused on helping schools and districts identify funding opportunities for education technology, STEM solutions, and professional development.
In late December of last year, Congress approved the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 in response to the challenges the Covid-19 pandemic has created. In the CAA, over $54 billion is available for K-12 schools to use, which is in addition to what was provided in the CARES Act ($13.2 billion). The purpose of these funds includes purchasing materials and education technology to address learning loss and improve school facilities and infrastructure to reduce the risk of transmitting the coronavirus. Funding will be available through September 2022. There will be instructions from both the federal government and each state to explain the process the overall process of using the funding.
With the plethora of technology options out there (hardware, software, web applications, STEM tools, etc), it can all look exciting and you might even visualize how your students will benefit from the innovative tech available. But more often than not, the “dream” classroom rarely meshes with the “reality” budget. Fortunately, awards, crowdfunding, grants, and programs have made outfitting classrooms with state-of-the-art tech a reality for many educators.
Money in education is tight, but there are plenty of funding opportunities available if you know where to look. Searching and applying for funds can be time-consuming, so we’ve made it a bit easier by finding some incredible opportunities that can help you receive funding while enhancing classrooms.
Check out these useful guides, which offer funding that aligns with the Boxlight Classroom family of solutions:
I grew up in a small town in Minnesota. Our one elementary school building (K–6) and one combined junior and high school campus (7–12), along with the Catholic elementary school (K–6), were central to the community—structures that connected generations, a teaching staff that communicated local values, and a forum where community pride took shape in school events and the cheering on of beloved high school sports teams. It’s important to consider this rural context—deep pride in both place and people—before turning to a discussion of technology use within rural schools.
It’s no secret that STEM learning (science, technology, engineering, and math) is crucial for today’s students to succeed in the future job market. STEM occupations are growing at a rate of 17%, compared to 9.8% in other professions, so our students need to enter the workforce equipped with these skills. However, money in public education is tight, and a lack of financial resources can mean limited opportunities for STEM learning.