The need for new K-12 classroom technology has never been greater. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools are now using a hybrid classroom model, with some students attending virtually and others in person. In this situation, teachers need technology tools that allow them to provide the same high-quality experience for students learning at home and in person.

The original CARES Act included an education stabilization fund called Elementary and Secondary Education Emergency Relief (ESSER). ESSER is a pass-through funding opportunity, meaning the money flows from federal agencies to each state. Local education agencies (typically school districts) can then send grant applications to their state to request funding for projects that fall under ESSER's permitted uses.

As you consider how to communicate your digital needs to your state's board of education, these four essential steps will help you stay organized:

1. Follow the prescribed format

Follow your state's prescribed format, which likely includes basic components such as a statement of need, your goals and objectives, your budget and timeline and, finally, how the funds will be used to address learning gaps caused by COVID-19 and school closures.

2. Explain how your project fits the criteria

Study the list of permissible uses for ESSER funding, and articulate clearly how your project fits into one or more of the requirements.

3. Include specifics on budget and timeline

State ESSER fund applications often ask for specific information about your proposed budget and timeline for using the funds. Make sure you know how much you plan to invest in such categories as equipment/hardware, software/licensing and remote learning.

4. Plan your implementation

Make sure you involve teachers and administrators in these discussions. Listen to their ideas and concerns, and check in regularly as the new technology is deployed.

Read the full article about securing funding for remote learning technology by Jessica Leigh Brown at EdSurge.