Ed Equity Talks Series: Demystifying ESSER Funds
As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Education released the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund in 2021 so that every school district could safely reopen their doors for young people. The Biden Administration has called for an official end to the COVID-19 induced state of emergency with just over a year remaining before ESSER funds run out. However, many parents, educators, and community members are still unclear on how much their school districts received and how the funds are (or are not) being spent. Join us on June 6, 2023 at 12pm EST where we’ll be hearing from the Education Trust and two non-profit leaders, one from Vermont and one from Rhode Island, on how school districts can be deploying funds to support young people as they grapple with unfinished learning. Examples will be shared on how communities within these states have been partnering with organizations and families to build public understanding on how funds can be deployed. Remarks will be made by Dr. James Lane, Assistant Secretary, U.S. Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. You won’t want to miss this important event!
Delia Arellano-Weddleton is the Director of Engagement and Partnerships at Nellie Mae. She is a first-generation American that identifies as a proud Chicana with roots in San Antonio, Texas.
In her role, Delia supports the Foundation’s engagement with community members to ensure that their voices are well-represented in the Foundation’s work. She is also responsible for building Nellie Mae’s partnerships with organizations that have complementary interests in supporting racial inequities in education, and for overseeing the Foundation’s coalition and advocacy efforts.
In 2019, she supported the design and development of the Foundation’s inaugural Community Advisory Group made up largely of people of color representing communities throughout the New England region.
Earlier roles at Nellie Mae, include, leading the Foundation’s Public Understanding department, which included building the capacity of school districts to engage community members, supporting advocacy organizations working on student centered learning policies, and designing, implementing, and leading the Foundation’s youth and parent organizing portfolios.
Prior to joining Nellie Mae, she developed and managed an information and referral center for an immigrant community, conducted parenting programs for families living in homeless shelters and worked as a social worker.
Peter has spent his career as an advocate for children and youth beginning with countless hours spent volunteering for Save The Children Fiji. In his senior year of high school, he founded Kids Link Fiji under the umbrella of Save The Children Fiji. Through his efforts to advocate for the Convention on the Rights of a Child, Kids Link Fiji received the San Marino Global Child Initiative Award of 2008 by UNICEF. Peter moved to the U.S. after his studies at The University of the South Pacific in 2006. He started his career in Providence working with the YMCA of Greater Providence leading after-school programs in elementary schools across the city. In 2010, Peter joined the Young Voices’ team as a Program Coordinator, marking his return to youth organizing, advocacy, and supporting the growth and development of young leaders readying them to lead in their communities. Peter is committed to creating youth-led spaces and elevating youth voice in policy-making in our communities.
Over the last 12 years, Peter has held various positions at Young Voices. In 2020, Peter was promoted to the Executive Director role. Through his leadership, Young Voices has re-branded, secured permanent space, and grown its operation and budget.
Peter currently serves as the PTO President at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Providence as well as a member of the Board of Directors for the Mental Health Association of Rhode Island.
As Assistant Director of Policy, Nicholas is responsible for overseeing P-12 work on assessments and accountability and the Alliance for Resource Equity. Prior to Ed Trust, Nicholas worked as Senior Policy Analyst at Education Reform now. Nicholas previously worked as a high school English Language Arts teacher in New Hampshire, in both charter and traditional public schools, which spurred his interest in education reform. He has a master’s in Education Policy from The George Washington University, a MA in Teaching Secondary English from SNHU and a BA in Writing, Literature, & Publishing from Emerson College.
For 11 years, Andrew Emrich taught kindergarten in Waterbury, Vermont, where he earned a reputation for his commitment to his students’ success. During this time, he came to understand the challenges faced by Vermont’s public schools and honed his skills to help best support students and teachers alike.
As an active union member, Andrew has been involved in efforts to reform pensions and negotiate fair contracts for educators. His passion for these issues led him to take on a new role as the American Rescue Plan Coordinator for Vermont-NEA. In this position, he is responsible for tracking the use of ESSER I, II, and III funds across the state and ensuring that they are used to support the needs of students, schools, communities and educators.
In his final year of teaching, Andrew served as a kindergarten interventionist. In that role he experienced first-hand the positive impact of these funds, as that position was created and funded directly as a result of ESSER.
In his free time, Andrew enjoys hiking and spending time with his family. Andrew’s work as a teacher, interventionist, and American Rescue Plan Coordinator has allowed him to make a positive impact on Vermont’s public schools and ensure that students and educators have the support they need to succeed.
Dr. James Lane serves as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of the Elementary and Secondary Education delegated the duties and responsibilities of the Assistant Secretary at the US Department of Education. Prior to coming to ED, Dr. Lane served as a band director and teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent, district superintendent, and was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to serve as Virginia’s 25th Superintendent of Public Instruction. Throughout his career he has received numerous awards, including being named the 2017 Superintendent of the Year in the Commonwealth of Virginia for his work in Goochland County.