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ESSER and Guidance Updates

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Dear District Administrator,

This email provides updates from the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) on the services and supports the department is providing under the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) set-aside funds in the CARES Act, as well as updates on new guidance issued by the agency on special education, English learners, and Education Forward.

The DPI was authorized by the Joint Committee on Finance (see plan from DPI and approval letter) to use set-aside funds under the ESSER to provide services and supports to public and private schools in the areas of:

  1. Building capacity for, and expanding access to, high quality online instructional resources;
  2. Providing training for educators in the provision of online and remote instruction; and
  3. Expanding and building capacity of school staff to provide mental health services, to better support students.

What follows is the list of resources, services, and supports the DPI will be making available. A description of each can be found at the link below and accessible through the ESSER web page.

o Broadband discount program (available now)
o Course content offerings to support virtual and blended teaching and learning for low or no cost (available now)
o Hardware and software discount program (coming soon: early September)
o Digital Learning Professional Development (available now)
o Teleservice Training/Digital Learning Creation Practices (available now)
o Universal Design for Learning: UDL Forward! (available now)
o Reading Roadmap Webinars (coming soon: late September)
o Assistive Technology (AT) Forward! learning (coming soon: September-October)
o English Language Arts and Mathematics Instructional Materials and Professional Learning for Remote and Hybrid Learning Environments (coming soon: late September-October)
o Adult Mental Health Literacy (available now)
o Peer-to-Peer Suicide Prevention (available now)
o Correct Use of Personal Protective Equipment (coming soon: November)
o Regional TA and Coaching Centers for School-based Mental Health Systems, including Trauma Sensitive Schools (coming soon: January 2021)
o Student Mental Health Literacy Curriculum (coming soon: March 2021)
o Reducing Mental Health Stigma in School Communities (coming soon: January 1, 2021)
o Mental Health Referral Pathways Training Module (coming soon: December)
o Restorative Practices (coming soon: September 15)

Updated Guidance

The DPI has updated special education (08/06) and English learner (08/04) guidance on serving students during COVID-19. These updates are also reflected in the links contained in Education Forward. The Education Forward guidance document has been updated and transitioned to a web-based resource focused on operating schools during the pandemic at

Please continue to use the COVID-19 web page as the central hub for COVID-19 information and the COVID-19 email address at to send your COVID-19 inquiries to the department so the appropriate staff are able to respond to you as quickly as possible.