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On March 13, 2020, life as we knew it changed. K-12 educators found themselves suddenly on the front lines of a public health crisis, and though the nature of their jobs makes them singularly equipped to deal with the unexpected, challenges significantly impacted students’ academic and mental well-being. Because of this, the U.S. federal government ushered in unprecedented federal funding to districts and schools. Combined with implementations of new digital resources and tools for development, more educators are beginning to look beyond the crisis, exploring opportunities to foster new growth.

Tap into ESSER Funds

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act determined the definitions and parameters for allowable expenses seen in all three Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds and designed the distribution to follow the Title I funding formula. 

While all three acts consider learning an allowable use, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act goes one step further. It mandates that school districts “shall reserve not less than 20 percent of such funds to address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive after school programs, or extended school year programs, and ensure that such interventions respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the student subgroups described.” 

If your district is like others, your response efforts have or will use the first round of ESSER, the CARES Act, for immediate response and COVID-19 relief activities and resources. The second round, the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act, allows you to earmark some funds for rebuilding and transitioning purposes. Yet, the latest round ESSER funding through the ARP Act is your district’s opportunity to dream big.

Turn to Gale for Innovative Solutions

That’s why thousands of districts are turning to Gale to maximize their COVID-19 ARP ESSER funds with digital K-12 resources that support unfinished learning, social and emotional learning (SEL), and more.

For schools, Gale’s mission is to help students succeed in school and in life by connecting K-12 students to the curriculum-aligned digital content they need to become lifelong learners. Because student success begins with teacher success, educators are at the heart of everything we do. We provide instructional materials that make it easier for educators to meet students where they are, while the educators themselves experience professional growth and prioritize their own self-care.

Today, this includes supporting everything from unfinished learning and SEL to prioritizing equity and inclusion goals. Together, we can foster an environment where schools and students are encouraged to thrive, not just survive.

  • Understand ESSER Funds

     

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding determined the definitions and parameters for allowable expenses seen in all three Secondary School Emergency Relief funds and designed the distribution to follow the Title I formula, yet does not have to be used on Title I funding allowable expenses. The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act allows for any remaining funds to go into institutional expenses. While all three acts consider learning loss an allowable reason for use, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act goes one step further. It mandates that school districts “shall reserve not less than 20 percent of such funds to address learning loss through the implementation of evidence-based interventions, such as summer learning or summer enrichment, extended day, comprehensive after school programs, or extended school year programs, and ensure that such interventions respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs and address the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus on the student subgroups described.”

    Districts were provided funding to private schools from their CARES Act distribution, but not with the CRRSA Act or the ARP Act. In both rounds of stimulus funding, nonpublic schools will receive appropriations directly from state-level governors or education secretaries. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education asks local districts and charter networks to develop, submit, and regularly review community-involved spending plans to their state education agency. They must include stabilization strategies for safe reopening, evidence-based interventions, other spending plans, and an explanation of how the spending will address the needs of low-income students. The way institutions can use these funds will evolve with guidance from the government, U.S. Department of Education, and local educational agencies. 

    Previous ESSER funds within the CARES Act were likely used for immediate response and relief activities and resources. With the CRRSA Act, you may earmark some of the funding for rebuilding and transitioning purposes. 

    That’s why thousands of districts are turning to Gale to maximize their ARP Act ESSER funds with digital K-12 resources that provide ongoing professional development and competency-based instruction to mitigate loss, support SEL, and more.

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  • Recover Unfinished Learning

    Learning loss, lost learning, or unfinished learning—regardless of the term, we acknowledge that students have lost a lot. Upper elementary and students transitioning into middle school appear to be struggling the most.1 As schools reopen, getting students caught up is top of mind. While all three rounds of federal funding consider learning loss an allowable expense, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act requires districts to reserve 20 percent of their Secondary School Emergency Relief funds to mitigate loss and address issues like strategies for safe reopening, evidence-based interventions, and other spending plans mandated by the U.S. Department of Education.

    According to an Education Week article, researchers and educators believe that undoing the damage requires a commitment to grade-level teaching, tutoring, strategies to engage students, and above all, a strong curriculum.For many districts, that has meant transitioning from remote or online learning back to school in person by focusing on core competency-based standards. Educators learned how targeted instruction of core concepts created more successful remote learning and helped students catch up faster once schools reopened. 

    Gale’s educational digital resources meet learners where they are, and offer equitable access to standards-aligned content that can be integrated into lessons, units, and student study paths, to quickly identify and close any gaps. Among the many platform benefits, there is leveled content combined with comprehensive tools to accommodate multiple learning modes and personalize instruction. The ease of use and engaging technology tools provide a place for students and teachers to make quality connections.

    Get Started       Mitigate Loss


    Explore Evidence-Based Outcomes

    In addition to the authoritative content within Gale resources, customers experience evidence-based outcomes, like the ones outlined in Gale’s Project Tomorrow® efficacy study, including:

  • Support Social And Emotional Learning

    The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act asks that districts reserve Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to respond to the social and emotional needs of students with evidence-based interventions. 

    As fellow educators, Gale understands that it’s our responsibility to care for the whole child. Nurturing their social and emotional learning (SEL) has become increasingly more important. That’s why Gale continues to partner with SEL experts, like the Cameron K. Gallagher (CKG) Foundation. This organization cultivates awareness, education, empathy, and understanding toward the depression and anxiety many kids experience.

    Inspired by our collaboration, Gale offers SEL collections, including Cameron’s Camp for Wellness, Cameron’s Collection, and the Administrator and Teacher Self-Care Collection. Each robust collection features 50 to 100 age-appropriate, evidence-based Gale eBooks to help learners of all ages better understand mental health issues and enhance their SEL coping skills. Educators and students can privately cross-search, translate, and share mental health resources at school or at home. 

    The collections are good for the well-being of your students and your school budget. You own the titles after you purchase them, and can add titles as they become available to meet the evolving needs of your students and educators.

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    Explore Results

    In addition to the authoritative content within Gale eBooks SEL collections, Gale partners experience results, like the ones outlined in this case study, including:

  • Provide On-Demand Professional Development

    The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act provides federal funding to primary and secondary education, with funds specifically authorized for professional development (PD). According to an Education Week article, COVID-19 has driven the need for PD resources that help to “keep teachers agile as learning environments shift between in person and digital, and as more products are rolled out.”4

    Why not help educators prepare for new challenges with Gale’s evidence-based approach to professional conversations? Gale eBooks: Professional Learning collections put the expert content your teachers need and want in one place. Each collection brings together 10‒50 cross-searchable titles from our trusted publisher partners, like ASCD, Corwin Press, ISTE, and Solution Tree. 

    The award-winning platform allows users to access, cross-search, and share content from many of the top authors whose subject matter aligns with personal and district-wide initiatives. They address the topics that matter most, such as differentiation, supporting all students, culturally responsive teaching, social and emotional needs, and high-quality literacy instruction.

    Along with the well-being of teams, Gale eBooks are good for the health of business. You own the titles after you purchase them, and can add collections to meet the evolving needs of your district throughout the school year.

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    Explore Results

    In addition to the highly respected, partner publisher content within Gale eBooks: Professional Learning, customers experience results, like the ones outlined in this case study, including:

  • Deliver Competency-Based Instruction

    According to a Project Tomorrow® study, 92 percent of the district administrators surveyed believed that the effective use of technology in the classroom leads to greater student success.3 This was accelerated as educators rebuilt education during the pandemic with the implementations of new digital learning resources, tools for social-emotional development, and more. Yet 45 percent of teachers spend 4‒10 hours a week searching for digital lesson plan materials.6

    Recognizing the importance of instruction, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act provides federal funding to primary and secondary education, with funds specifically authorized for professional development, instructional materials, and supporting educational programs. As districts develop strategic plans around the best options for these funds, they should think both short and long term. The funding is significant enough, and available over two or three fiscal years, which means that it could be part of a long-term strategy that incorporates innovative teaching and learning solutions that are efficient and effective.

    Understanding the challenges educators face today, the need for on-demand training and support has never been greater. Building on the foundation of Gale In Context student databases, Gale In Context: For Educators merges quality, standards-aligned content with related lesson plans and instructional tools, including tools for educator collaboration across any distance. It features a Learning Center to help educators self-teach virtual lesson planning and online teaching skills. 

    With this one award-winning resource, all school educators have a specialized tool kit to find and personalize digital learning content, plan educational activities that work well for remote or in-person environments, and provide equitable services for all students.

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    Explore Results

    In addition to standards-aligned content within For Educators, customers experience results, like the ones outlined in Gale’s Education Week insights brief, including:

  • Align With Technology Infrastructure

    The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the importance of sustaining models to support technology infrastructure of one-to-one student devices and the delivery of instruction and content through digital platforms into the future.

    According to an article from the Learning Counsel, educational technology spending in the U.S. K-12 sector was $3.58 billion in 2020.6 This spike over 2019 expenditures was largely due to allowable ESSER fund use within the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act also outlines the purchase of educational technology as an allowable expense. 

    Digitalization fosters a more collaborative environment and increases efficiency in how materials are prepared and distributed. Recognizing this, Gale has developed products and resources that are simultaneously accessible for multiple users—integrating with learning management systems (LMS), ERMS, integrated library system (ILS) platforms, and more.

    Our proprietary search user interface (UI) focuses the experience on the data points needed to help identify content relevant to their needs, encouraging critical evaluation and selection. From there, the workflow tools provide greater access to content with translation tools, citation tools, highlights and notes, and LMS integration.

    The pairing of research and technology has become integral for learners of all ages. We’re proud to help schools bridge the gap from the library to the classroom to the home by offering innovative digital resources to fit every need.

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    Explore Results

    In addition to aligned workflow tools, Gale partners found:

  • Improve Reading Outcomes

    Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, national reading scores found 68 percent of 4th graders and 70 percent of 8th graders were reading below grade level.7 These rates have likely worsened due to temporary school closures throughout the 2020-21 school year. To level the playing field, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act requires districts to reserve 20 percent of their ESSER funds to mitigate loss and address issues like strategies for safe reopening, evidence-based interventions, and other spending plans mandated by the U.S. Department of Education.

    In 2019, Project Tomorrow® conducted independent research on the efficacy of large print usage in the classroom. Within the 15 diverse districts that were part of the study nationwide, 76 percent of below-grade-level readers had better retention, and nearly two-thirds of English as a Second Language (ESL)/English Language Learner students (ELLs) students reported faster acquisition of the English language.8  

    Why is this format so effective? 

    Large print books from Thorndike Press offer a combination of a larger font and increased white space to improve reading fluency, decoding, speed, and tracking ease. In the height of digital fatigue, large print gives students a break from online learning. It’s a no-tech reading intervention tool that can easily be woven into your summer reading program. There are more than 700 large print titles to choose from, with new additions monthly. Select from bestsellers, classics, curriculum-aligned, award-winning, and topical titles.

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    Explore Evidence-Based Outcomes

    In addition to better retention from below-grade-level readers, large print customers experience evidence-based outcomes, like:


    Information regarding ESSER funds will be updated as the U.S. government, U.S. Department of Education, and other entities’ plans evolve.

  • Sources

    1. Sparks, Sarah D. “Pandemic Learning Loss Heavier in Math Than Reading This Fall, But Questions Remain,” Education Week, December 1, 2020.

    2. Shafer, Stephanie. “Overcoming COVID-19 Learning Loss,” Education Week, August 19, 2020. 

    3. Based on the report “Turn Database Access into Action,” from a 2018–2019 nationwide study conducted by Project Tomorrow® in partnership with Gale, a Cengage company, to determine the efficacy of using Kids InfoBits for elementary students and Gale In Context for middle and high school students to support learning outcomes. Project Tomorrow is a federally recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a 23-year history of supporting innovation in K-12 education through research and school-based programs.

    4. Bradley, Brian. “Supplemental Curriculum Providers Say Demand Is Booming. What’s Driving It?” Education Week, March 18, 2021. 

    5. When considering access to Gale’s resources through direct purchase, statewide, and district subscriptions for the benefit of their students. As of September 20, 2016.

    6. Cauthen, LeiLani. “The 2020 Digital Transition Survey Results Are In: Just How Large Is the K12 Ed-Tech Market?” The Learning Counsel, accessed April 28, 2021.

    7. National Assessment of Educational Progress. The Nation’s Report Card 2019 (October 2020), retrieved October 16, 2020. 

    8. Project Tomorrow®. “Advancing Literacy with Large Print: Results from a Nationwide Study about the Efficacy of Large Print Books on Student Reading Skills and Mindsets” (September 2019), retrieved March 23, 2021.

Information regarding ESSER funds will be updated as the U.S. government, U.S. Department of Education, and other entities’ plans evolve.