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August 27, 2021


In one way or another, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on all of us. As schools navigate reopening amidst continued health and safety concerns, student and staff mental health and wellbeing is also of top concern.

In an effort to address the new challenges schools are facing, congress passed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act in March of 2021. This unprecedented $1.9 trillion assistance package includes $122 billion for the ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund. These “ESSER” funds are provided to state educational agencies (SEA) and school districts to help safely reopen and sustain school operations.

The CATCH team can provide assistance to districts and schools wishing to utilize ESSER funds to implement or bolster CATCH wellness initiatives. Please email [email protected] to get started.

At CATCH, our Whole Child Wellness programs are evolving with the changing needs of students and educators, and include a greater focus on Social & Emotional Learning (SEL). Our newly added SEL Journeys program complements CATCH’s evidence-based, Whole Child approach with explicit and intentional curriculum designed to help students manage stress, develop self-awareness, and reconnect with peers in healthy and positive ways.

There are many ways that ESSER funds can be used to address school health and safety needs, as well as the mental health needs of students. Of the many approved uses of ESSER funds, the following align with CATCH program offerings:

  • Any activity previously funded through ESSA, including Title II and Title IV-A, which both support SEL, health, and physical education.
  • Providing mental health services and support.
  • Activities to address the unique needs of low-income students, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth.
  • Planning and implementing activities related to summer learning and supplemental after-school programs.
  • Purchasing educational technology that aids in regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors.

ESSER fund awards to SEAs are in the same proportion as state received received under Part A of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended in fiscal year 2020.

This funding offers schools and districts a unique opportunity to reimagine their approach to school-wide wellness. In partnership with CATCH, educators can support students with programs that authentically nourish the whole child – MIND, HEART, and BODY.


Additional Resource:

Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund FAQ