Esser funding

In March 2021 President Biden signed the America Rescue Plan (ARP) in response to the pandemic, with $122 billion appropriated to the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) fund.

The Colonial School District received $30,671,394. All funds must be spent by September 2024.

Colonial’s plan for the ESSER funds impacts every building, every employee group and every department.

How we are utilizing ESSER Funding

The goals of these investments are to provide:

More instructional time through after school and summer programs

More comprehensive supports for our students which will allow our teachers to focus more on teaching

More relevant and engaging curriculum and resources

More functional, efficient and comfortable facilities in which to teach and learn

More administrative and financial support to ensure that all employees are well supported and funds are managed effectively


 $6.9 million 

allocated for learning loss.

 $3.5 million 

allocated for afterschool & summer learning.

Additional Staff Support

with additions of Extended Learning Supervisor, Grant Specialist and Leave Specialist.

9 Focus Areas

Under ESSER guidelines there are 9 different focus areas where CSD is investing funds.

Click the topic below to learn more. To see a detailed plan including allocated funds, please visit: Use of ESSER III Funds/ Application

Health & Wellness

Additional PPE, Nursing supplies and equipment
Additional staff support such as Substance abuse counselors, Nursing support, & Social workers
More info
  • Substance abuse counselors
    • Focused on supporting high school students struggling with addiction and helping them graduate.  
  • Nursing support including CNAs for CARES Isolation rooms
    • This includes contractual support for contact tracing efforts 
  • Social workers
    • Will assist in addressing attendance concerns and work on re-engaging students who may have disconnected from school during the extended period of virtual instruction.
Funding for District Wide Lead Nurse who coordinates and assists with the district level response to COVID
More info
  • ESSER III also has continued funding for the lead nurse who coordinates and assists with the district level response to COVID issues and can liaise with the Division of Public Health.

HR & Talent Development

Additional leave specialist to assist with volume and added complexity of COVID leave
More info

The pandemic has increased the need for timely handling of employee leave concerns and absences due to COVID. To help meet these demands, we have hired an additional leave specialist to handle the increased volume and complexity of absences. 

Increased efforts in recruiting the best talent by marketing Colonial to today’s scarce workforce
Creating new pipelines for instructional staff

Nutrition / Transportation

Transportation for Afterschool and Summer programs

provide access to afterschool and summer programs to address learning loss

Provide meals to students through supplementing lost revenue to Nutrition Services
More info

During the Summer of 2021, Colonial School District will continue providing meals, at no cost, to youth 18 years of age and younger. Meal packages will be delivered to local communities twice a week (including both breakfast and lunch). The Summer Meal Program will begin the week of June 14th, 2021 and run through August 12th, 2021. As students return to school for the 21-22 school year, schools will resume their traditional model of providing breakfast and lunch to students.

Curriculum & Instruction

• Adoption of a new K-5 ELA curriculum
Investing in and managing several new curricular resources
Creating an after-school and summer curriculum

Align curriculum resources to after-school and summer programs.

Student Services

Ensure K-5 curriculum/resources are accessible to special education students
Managing contractual staff providing speech therapy guidance on providing differentiated instruction/ intervention
Ensure that special education staffing needs are prioritized via staffing recommendations


No additional costs to Colonial residents
More info

Managing and maintaining critical infrastructure projects will enhance the condition and extend the life of our buildings without adding additional costs to Colonial residents through referendum.

Replacing aging HVAC systems to increase ventilation & fresh air.
More info

The HVAC projects will increase the circulation of fresh air throughout the buildings as well as minimizing moisture in the air through more effective chillers. This will enhance the air quality of our schools and help to minimize the spread of COVID-19 and other contaminants.

Replacing aging roofs

Schools Division

Adding teaching units to support learning loss
Managing contracts with Communities in Schools and Jobs for Delaware Graduates
More info

Colonial will also be partnering with Communities In Schools to support high school students who are showing warning signs of school drop out. Communities In Schools provides staff who provide both academic and nonacademic support to students including connection to community resources, mentoring, tutoring, family assistance, opportunities for service learning and college/work access and readiness. This program will continue to help support students’ social emotional wellbeing and support re-engaging with school for any student who is showing signs of struggles.

A contract with Communities in Schools (CIS) has been placed in several Title 1 Colonial schools to link the partnership of community-based resources to promote social-emotional learning and academic support. CIS develops mentoring/tutoring, after-school programming, individualized interventions, and family assistance. Sample services within the contract include: 1. Non-academic assistance: Connecting young people with a host of services — healthcare, housing, nutrition — resulting in students more prepared to learn. 2. One-to-one mentoring: Instilling the confidence to succeed, the belief that education creates opportunity, and setting the expectation for success. 3. Tutoring and academic support: Increasing academic performance and building confidence. 4. Family assistance & parent engagement: Ensuring children have a supportive home life, and that parents have access to the services they need. 5. Out-of-school enrichment & service learning: Strengthening the resiliency of children to succeed by expanding their understanding of what the world has to offer. 6. College and work access and readiness: Addressing college readiness earlier in school better prepares students to take advantage of going to college and increases employability.


Managing the replacement & support for SMART Boards district-wide.
More info

Colonial is using funds to ensure that our students continue to have all of the supports they need to succeed in the changing landscape of this pandemic. This includes SMART Board replacements for our secondary classrooms (elementary classroom SMART boards were replaced with ESSER II funds). We have found that facilitating ‘room and zoom’ situations is easier with SMART boards, while having other instructional benefits. While we anticipate providing face to face instruction five days a week, we recognize that the need for flexibility and novel solutions for times when students may need to quarantine or other unforeseen factors prevent in person instruction for all students

Maintaining & supporting a one-to-one Chromebook ratio for all students.
More info

Additional investments in Chromebooks for our students will also help ensure that every student is ready to engage in instruction even if they cannot come to school.

Managing & supporting curriculum instructional resources and operational software


Addition of a Grant Specialist Staff Member to ensure that we utilize all of these added funds to the highest value for our students, staff and community.
More info

The Grant specialist will assist with the added tracking and administrative tasks of the various ESSER grants. This staff member will be housed in the Business Division and tasked with ensuring that all spending from the ESSER grants is consistent with the statutory requirements and in line with the application. This person will also handle amendments and any reporting tasks required with assistance from other departments as needed.