ESSER III Newsletter, Spring 2022

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Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together

To: Superintendents, Business Managers, Charter Schools, Student Success Account Liaisons and Reopening Advisors
From: ODE ESSER Team
Date: June 28, 2022
Re: ESSER III Newsletter, Spring 2022


ESSER III Newsletter
Spring 2022

Esser logo

Six Things You Should Know

The 2021-22 school year is wrapped up for most districts and the summer flowers are in full bloom. The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) is thankful for all the hard work and attention districts have given to planning and implementation of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III (ESSER III) Fund. It has been a pleasure to work with you in our review of data submissions and Integrated Planning Tools (IPTs). Before many of us break for the summer, here are six things we want to make you aware of.

  1. New Members of ODE’s ESSER III Implementation Team

ODE’s ESSER III implementation team has grown to become nimbler and more responsive to the evolving needs of our state and districts. Tam Belknap ( and Gary Campbell ( are Program Analysts working directly with districts to support data delivery and the timely reimbursement of ESSER funds. They both come to the team with experience in grant oversight and implementation and look forward to supporting districts as they implement their ESSER III funds.

  1. ESSER III Meaningful Consultation Requirement Reminder

As a reminder, ESSER III requires districts to meaningfully consult with their community and stakeholder groups as they plan and implement their pandemic relief efforts. The ODE State ESSER Plan is built on the expectation that districts are conducting meaningful consultation through their Student Investment Account (SIA) processes.

ODE has developed resources to support districts as they meaningfully consult with their stakeholder groups and links to these resources are available below.

Required Groups for Meaningful Consultation:

Students and families; Educators (school and district administrators, teachers, and their unions); Tribal Nations; Civil rights organizations (including disability rights organizations); and Stakeholders representing the interests of: 

            - Children with disabilities, 

            - English learners, 

            - Children experiencing homelessness, 

            - Children and youth in foster care, 

            - Migratory students, 

            - Children who are incarcerated; and 

            - Other underserved students.

July 2021 ESSER III District Guide

Student Investment Account Meaningful Engagement Toolkit

Tribal Consultation Toolkit 1.0

  1. ESSER III and Capital Expenditures

Many districts are considering using ESSER III funds for capital expenditures. The process starts with emailing ODE a completed Capital Expenditure Approval Form and receiving a “project tag.” Here are some tips for the capital expenditure process:

  • Districts are required to request capital expenditure when an asset or expenditure exceeds $5,000 per unit and the useful life exceeds one year.
  • If a project proposes to utilize funds from multiple ESSER grants (ESSER II and ESSER III), the project needs a project tag from each. Simply let us know how you want the cost spread between the two in the request form or in an email.
  • ODE keeps a public tracker for all ESSER capital expenditures, an easy way to find your project tag for reimbursement requests.
  • Each district is responsible for meeting Federal Uniform Grant Guidance. A pertinent list can be found on the instructions page of the request form. If your district is unfamiliar with using federal funds for capital expenditures, please be sure to read up on the requirements.
  • Funds must be spent by 9/30/23 (for ESSER II) or 9/30/24 (for ESSER III). We do not expect a further extension of those dates (other than the financial clean-up period known as ‘liquidation’) and encourage districts to start their capital expenditure projects as soon as possible. At this juncture, we believe that grant-funded capital expenses must be completed by that date. If you have a capital expenditure project that you expect to go beyond the above dates, please contact us immediately.
  • For contracts that will extend past the final date, they must be obligated by 9/30/23 (for ESSER II) or 9/30/24 (for ESSER III).







(ARP Act)

Award Period




Deadline for Final Spending (with Tydings Extension)






Deadline for Claiming Funds in EGMS and Filing Reimbursement

November 14, 2022

November 14, 2023

November 14, 2024

  1. Addressing 20% Unfinished Learning Requirement

ODE truly appreciates the hard work districts have put into their engagement efforts and this is reflected in the activities districts are investing in via the ESSER III funds. We want to take a moment to remind all districts that the United States Department of Education requires that at least 20% of a district’s ESSER III funds be allocated to address unfinished learning, or expenditures related to addressing the academic impact of lost instructional time through the implementation of evidence-based interventions. To support districts’ planning, ODE adapted Education Resource Strategies (ERS) five research-backed overarching “Power Strategies,” which encompass several evidence-based interventions to address unfinished learning, which include Empowering, Adaptable Instruction, Time & Attention, The Teaching Job, Relationships & Social-Emotional Supports, and Family & Community Partnerships. Within the ERS resource are examples of interventions under each strategy. We invite you to review the ERS resource, especially if your district is trying to find ideas about how to address the 20 percent allocation. Feel free to reach out to the ODE ESSER III team if you have questions or would like to discuss the options for meeting this specific requirement.

  1. District Focus Group Information and Survey

ESSER III is a unique and unprecedented investment in public education, and this creates opportunities for coordination and collaboration between ODE and school districts. ODE is convening a focus group of district representatives quarterly to solicit feedback and input regarding how best to support and monitor districts regarding the use of ESSER III funds. If you are interested in participating in one of the upcoming one-hour focus groups, please let us know by completing this interest form.

  1. Spotlight on Innovative Activities

Innovation:  Introducing or beginning something new and innovation as the act of innovating or something that is new or unusual.  
-  Webster's Dictionary

What are some innovative things districts are doing with their ESSER funds? Every quarter we will highlight promising and creative activities that have the potential to impact student outcomes.

Below are examples of how two Oregon districts used funds to purchase greenhouses.

  • Klamath Fall County School District’s Henley High School (HHS) Agriculture Science Program is investing in two greenhouses (30’x 60’ each). One greenhouse will be dedicated to Agriculture students growing produce that will be served in the cafeterias of the three schools on the Henley Campus. The second greenhouse will house student-led businesses from the Agriculture Science program. Student-led business will grow produce that will be sold in the newly developed Klamath Online Farmers Market. The pandemic and rising fuel and transportation costs are forcing communities to find more local sources of food. Henley students will be treated as legitimate businesses in our local food economy. The Klamath Basin has been facing severe drought the past few years and the Engineering program at HHS secured funds as part of this grant to build a rainwater capture system into the new greenhouses and on buildings at HHS. That rainwater will be captured, stored and used in the greenhouse and other agriculture projects on our campus. This aspect of the project will help alleviate the water shortage in the Klamath Basin and act as a model system for what other groups can do to conserve water within a community.
  • South Umpqua School District’s (SUSD’s) Agricultural Career and Technical Education (CTE) program purchased a greenhouse (30’ x 72’) to safely expand SUSD’s agricultural CTE course offerings. The greenhouse will provide a protected, heated, and ventilated “outdoor” space for hosting hands-on classes in horticultural studies. Full classes of students will be able to gather with an instructor outside of a traditional classroom space to learn about and grow a wide variety of plants, and Future Farmers of America (FFA) students will be able to use the greenhouse space for hosting community plant sales and program fundraisers.

If you have an innovative and/or creative use of ESSER III funds, please let us know. We are particularly interested in spotlighting activities designed to address unfinished learning. To connect with the ESSER team, please contact us through the ESSER email in-box at

About the Oregon Department of Education’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III (ESSER III) Fund: The American Rescue Plan Act, 2021 (ARP Act or ARPA) provides an additional $122 billion for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund III (ESSER III or ARP ESSER). $1.1 billion was awarded to Oregon. ESSER III grants were awarded to LEAs in the proportion they received funds under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in fiscal year 2020. ESSER III Fund grants can be used to reimburse eligible expenses incurred between March 13, 2020, and September 30, 2024. We send out newsletters on a quarterly basis, so keep an eye out to stay up to date on ESSER III information.