Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER)

Make the Most of ESSER Funding

Identify need, maximize outcomes, and get the most mileage from your K-12 school district’s ESSER funds

For K-12 schools looking to maximize their ESSER funding, the first (and most crucial) step is determining where the greatest need exists and how to achieve the greatest possible impact.

Hanover Research is committed to helping districts identify opportunities to better serve their students, families, teachers, and staff through research and resources designed to help them answer crucial questions.

Learn how to support and reengage students following disruptive or traumatic events like the COVID-19 pandemic.

What you need to know about ESSER

Enacted in March 2021 as part of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) provides nearly $122 billion to support the safe reopening and operation of schools across the United States.

How do students benefit from ESSER funding?

Implemented in response to COVID-19 pandemic, ESSER funding is intended to address students’ academic, social, and emotional needs—particularly for underrepresented student subgroups, which include:

0 %
of educators reported seeing learning loss over the past year because of COVID-19

How can Hanover help?

Program Planning

Use ESSER funds to develop high-impact programs based on need, opportunity, and impact.

Learning Loss and Learning Recovery

Mitigate learning loss caused by traumatic or disruptive events, and foster learning recovery.

Social-Emotional Learning

Promote and support optimal social-emotional learning during times of high stress.

Make the most of your ESSER funding with Hanover’s custom support.

Program Planning

ESSER provides significant autonomy for districts to determine where to focus and invest. That flexibility, however, comes with a challenge: How do you know the best places to spend your funds, implement programs, and measure their success?

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of K-12 administrators cite funding as a primary barrier to program evaluation.

Hanover Solutions

Gauge the effectiveness of program performance and determine if additional support is needed.

Analyze student academic and discipline outcomes to establish baselines for program impact and/or evaluate the impact of an existing program.

Design and implement program evaluations with fidelity and learn how to interpret the findings to identify program strengths and areas for improvement.

Stand up the program you need, using implementation guides and toolkits based on peer-informed and practitioner-sourced best practices and trends.

Learn more about these and other program planning and evaluation solutions and services from Hanover.

Additional Program Planning Resources


Watch this webinar to learn about the state of program evaluations in K-12 education, including findings from our nationwide survey of K-12 administrators.

Reports & Briefs

This guide will help you prioritize and plan your program evaluation, visualize the results, and clarify program designs using logic models.

Reports & Briefs

Use this toolkit to design and implement program evaluations with fidelity and to interpret the findings to identify program strengths and areas for improvement.

Reports & Briefs

Learn how district leaders can address the prominent challenges facing parents, teachers, and students during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Learning Loss and Learning Recovery

ESSER II and III legislation specifies that funds can be used to address learning loss and learning recovery. Hanover offers a suite of services, tools, research, and resources to help you diagnose and understand the extent of learning loss and, ultimately, reduce it.

Group 26
0 %
The drop in learning gains for students returning for the 2021–2022 school year compared to a typical year.

Hanover Solutions

Compare your student outcome data to peers across your state to understand the extent of learning loss present in your district.

Inform your programming needs by using student outcome data to identify gaps in student success areas.

Gather feedback from different stakeholder groups on their perceptions of equity and inclusion to summarize and quantify key priorities, performance levels, and desired outcomes.

Collect feedback from stakeholders about the state of learning loss in your district.

Analyze student outcomes in response to social-emotional learning to determine how SEL competencies are improving.

Build teachers’ capacity to differentiate instruction with Virtual Professional Learning Modules and our library of 100+ classroom implementation resources.

Learn more about resources to address learning loss and recovery.

Additional Learning Loss Resources

Reports & Briefs

Learn how to provide high-quality, relevant, and accessible professional learning to your teachers by developing an engaging professional learning plan in 7 steps.

Reports & Briefs

Use this survey to gather feedback from students, parents, and staff members on summer school programming, including satisfaction rates, perceptions of program quality, and impact on student preparedness for the upcoming school year.


Learn how to leverage the lessons learned during the 2020-2021 school year as a catalyst for changing inequities in educational access.


Get strategies to address systemic disparities and inequities in order to benefit all students.

Social-Emotional Learning

ESSER funding can be used by districts to provide mental health services and support to students. Learn how to use your ESSER funding to support students’ social-emotional well-being as they return to classes.

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Each dollar invested in social-emotional learning can return the equivalent of $11 in long-term benefits for students, families, and society.

Hanover Solutions

Assess your students’ SEL competencies and understand how the pandemic has impacted students’ social and emotional well-being.

Help staff understand, implement, and assess social-emotional learning with our interactive online modules and classroom implementation resources.

Take a deep dive into students’ social-emotional learning progress and discover unmet needs.

Examine correlation between students’ social-emotional competencies and academic and discipline outcomes.

Measure school climate by assessing the school/building environment, academic environment, social environment, and stakeholder inclusiveness.

Learn how you can use your ESSER funding to promote better social-emotional learning.

Additional Social-Emotional Learning Resources

Reports & Briefs

Assess students’ social-emotional skills while gauging the state of student, family, and staff social emotional well-being; perceptions of existing programs and resources, and the need for additional supports.

Reports & Briefs

Understand the different approaches to supporting students’ SEL and then plan and implement school- and district-wide SEL programs and initiatives.

Reports & Briefs

Learn about how students returning to school after an extended illness, natural disaster, or traumatic experience such as the COVID-19 pandemic might struggle with re-engagement and learning loss, along with recommendations for specific strategies for supporting them.

Members Only

Get best practices for building trauma-sensitive environments to support students and staff district-wide, including in virtual settings.

Learn how you can maximize your ESSER funding to get the best possible outcomes for students throughout your school district

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