Recovery Plan Guidance: Progress Monitoring and Efficacy of Interventions


Phase 3: Monitoring Process and the Effectiveness of Interventions


There are many lessons to be learned about the most efficient, effective use of Elementary & Secondary School Emergency Relief funds and Higher Education Emergency Relief funds.

The best use of such spending will help schools better understand students’ recovery needs while shining a strong light on equity. Successful schools will commit to high-impact practices and focus their spending on strategies that specifically target recovery.

  • Schools, school districts and colleges should pay special attention to drawing down ESSER and HEER funds as needed to help manage local essentials. These outlays are best made immediately; the first set of funds will expire by September 2022. As COVID conditions and restrictions change, planners can adapt if they have a process in place to identify those changes and appropriate responses.
  • Local education agencies and higher education institutions should pay close attention to how they developed their first application if they are considering applying for the second subset of funds. The second grant application will be almost identical to the first. Lessons learned during the first phase of funding can be documented through meetings using focus teams and aimed at answering questions including:
    • How were priorities determined for using ESSER and HEER funding?
    • What actions were taken?
    • What data is available to measure outcomes?
    • What changes are needed in the second phase, and who will make them?

ESSER and HEER funds provide local education agencies and higher education institutions a great amount of flexibility in deciding how to use the funding, which should be dedicated to efforts such as remote learning for all students — especially disadvantaged or at-risk students and their teachers and faculty. Schools and districts will do well to monitor progress closely:

Focus Area     Actions    Outcomes


or Group Responsible

Recovery and Innovation

Health and
and Facilities



The effectiveness of these funds’ use is best measured by using guidelines determined by state education agencies and the United States Education Department. All ESSER and HEER funds are subject to audit requirements under any audit acts, which are reviewed and governed by the Government Accountability Office. Local education agencies should be aware that while these funds are distributed based on what the agencies receive from Title I-A distributions, ESSER funding is not classified as such and needs its own awarding, tracking, and monitoring protocols. Any school within a local district can be awarded funding, but a local education agency can select schools to receive the funds based on poverty, school need or other measures.

Federal Guidance Documents

State education agencies will monitor the use of ESSER and HEER funds. Here are details and links to detailed state plans and requirements, with a suggested chart for keeping track.

  • Postsecondary institutions are required to submit a) an annual performance report to the Annual Report Data Collection System provided by the U.S. Department of Education and b) the name and email address of everyone authorized to submit this assessment document.

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