Instructional Technology Coach Funding

31 May 2022
Nicole Zumpano
Nicole Zumpano
Director of Instructional Technology Coaching, Learning Technology Center
Mindy Fiscus
Mindy Fiscus
Director of Government Affairs, Learning Technology Center

Building sustainable coaching programs in all K-12 districts

Despite their growing popularity and research to back their efficacy, funding for coaching programs can be sparse in many districts – especially in light of competing priorities and COVID-19 related financial stresses.

The LTC is committed to helping all Illinois K-12 districts navigate this start-up process by offering guidance and resources along the path to establishing a financially sustainable instructional coaching program.

Many of the funding sources outlined below are not explicitly targeted at supporting technology coaching programs. Instead, these funds often promote equity and the adoption of evidence-based professional development strategies. Under these rationales, districts can apply for these grants with the reasonable assumption that technology coaching will be viewed as an allowable expense.
ESSA Title I

Type: Federal

Deadline: Ongoing (annual)

Passed in 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides funding to schools seeking to increase student equity via technology-based learning strategies. In accordance with guidance from the US Department of Education, Titles I, II, and IV of ESSA can be used to fund and support instructional coaching.

According to federal guidance, Title I funds can be used for non-instructional costs (behavior supports, attendance programs, community/parent engagement) if these costs are shown to help improve student achievement. Title I funds can also be spent on comprehensive, school-wide interventions, such as a school-wide coaching program.

Depending on a district’s size, location, and other utilizations of federal education funds, grants under several ESSA titles may also be combined together to establish or maintain a coaching program.

More Information: US Department of Education – Every Student Succeeds Act

ESSA Title II

Type: Federal

Deadline: Ongoing (annual)

Passed in 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides funding to schools seeking to increase student equity via technology-based learning strategies. In accordance with guidance from the US Department of Education, Titles I, II, and IV of ESSA can be used to fund and support instructional coaching.

According to federal guidance, Title II funds can be used for supporting efforts to train teachers, principals, or other school leaders to effectively integrate technology into curricula and instruction. This may include training to assist teachers in implementing blended learning projects (as defined in Section 4102(1)).

Depending on a district’s size, location, and other utilizations of federal education funds, grants under several ESSA titles may also be combined together to establish or maintain a coaching program.

More Information: US Department of Education – Every Student Succeeds Act

ESSA Title IV

Type: Federal

Deadline: Ongoing (annual)

Passed in 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides funding to schools seeking to increase student equity via technology-based learning strategies. In accordance with guidance from the US Department of Education, Titles I, II, and IV of ESSA can be used to fund and support instructional coaching.

According to federal law, Title IV funds can be used for supporting a well-rounded education, as well as safe and healthy schools environments. A portion of the SSAE program funds (if $30,000 or greater) must be used for increasing effective use of technology to improve the academic achievement, academic growth, and digital literacy of all students.

Depending on a district’s size, location, and other utilizations of federal education funds, grants under several ESSA titles may also be combined together to establish or maintain a coaching program.

More Information: US Department of Education – Every Student Succeeds Act

 

CARES Act

Type: Federal

Deadline: June 30, 2024

Passed in March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes over $13 billion in emergency relief funding for K-12 schools (collectively administered as the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund or ESSER Fund). Federal guidance allows ESSER funds to be spent on technology coaching, hardware, software, connectivity, and instructional expenses to support remote learning.

More information: US Department of Education – Frequently Asked Questions about ESSER Fund

Illinois Digital Equity

Type: State administered, Federally funded

Deadline: September 30, 2023

Section 18002 of the federal CARES Act establishes the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund and gives states discretion over distribution of allotted federal funds. Allocated funds within the GEER are set by a statutory formula based on the state’s student-aged population and poverty levels. Paragraph (c) of the same section specifies the allowable uses of funds.

A second round of funding under this title (referred to as “GEER II”) is now available.

More information (GEER Fund)US Department of Education – Frequently Asked Questions about GEER Fund

More information (GEER II): US Department of Education – GEER II Fact Sheet

Section 18003 of the federal CARES Act also establishes the Education Stabilization Fund and allows the U.S. Secretary of Education to allocate funds to each state in the same proportion as that state received under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 in FY 2020. Ninety percent of those funds are to be made available to local educational agencies (LEA), with ISBE making the application for these funds available.

IL-EMPOWER

Current federal regulations allow two or more school districts (often in a geographic area) to share fund-based services between their schools. In this arrangement, one district acts as the fiscal agent while all districts in the plan pool funds collectively. This type of arrangement may be used to fund a shared technology coaching program between several districts, particularly those who don’t have enough funds (either on hand or through federal grants) to facilitate a coaching program on their own.

The LTC Instructional Technology Coaching program operates on a cost-sharing model, allowing multiple districts in a single geographic area to benefit from embedded instructional coaching at a fraction of the start-up cost. Learn more about our program here.

IL-EMPOWER

Type: State

Deadline: Ongoing (annual)

IL-EMPOWER is designed for the specific purpose of helping school personnel implement effective school improvement practices that prepare students for post-secondary success. IL-EMPOWER seeks to build a strong and stable foundation of school-wide systems by developing effective continuous improvement practices, also known as “school improvement planning.”

Starting with the 2018 School Report Card, each Illinois school received a Summative Designation, a measure of progress in academic and student success. Multiple measures determine which one of four Summative Designations is appropriate for the school and can be found on the School Report Card. This designation determines which kind and how much funding a school can receive for their requested school improvements.

More Information:  Illinois State Board of Education – IL-EMPOWER Homepage

Nicole Zumpano
Nicole Zumpano
Director of Instructional Technology Coaching, Learning Technology Center

Nicole oversees the LTC’s Instructional Technology Coaching Program, supervising a statewide team of instructional technology coaches and supporting participating districts’ program implementation.

Mindy Fiscus
Mindy Fiscus
Director of Government Affairs, Learning Technology Center

Mindy provides leadership, expertise, and support related to broadband connectivity, equipment and device access, and funding sources, including E-Rate.