Covid Relief Playbook: 18 spending strategies to drive recovery

FutureEd has mapped out the COVID relief spending plans that 34 state education agencies have submitted
By: | June 30, 2021
Experts at FutureEd, a think tank based at Georgetown University, say relief funding is giving administrators “a substantial opportunity to rebound.”Experts at FutureEd, a think tank based at Georgetown University, say relief funding is giving administrators “a substantial opportunity to rebound.”

An unprecedented surplus of funds may be a good problem to have but the infusion of COVID education relief money has put pressure on administrators to make wise spending decisions.

The most recent package, the American Rescue Plan, for instance, requires that states and districts spend a portion of their funding on “evidence-based interventions” to help students recover from lost learning opportunities.

Now experts at FutureEd, a think tank based at Georgetown University, say relief funding is giving administrators “a substantial opportunity to rebound.”

“While many American families are looking to turn the nation’s increasing freedom from the coronavirus into summer vacations or take other steps toward normalcy, state and local education officials are facing the challenge of how best to commit vast sums of federal Covid-relief aid to education over the next three years,” said Thomas Toch, FutureEd’s director.


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FutureEd’s Phyllis Jordan, April LePage and Catherine Dragone have put together a “Covid Relief Playbook” detailing 18 evidence-based practices that have driven improvements in instructional quality, school climate, student attendance or student achievement—and sometimes all four.

Here are links to practical guidance and further research into the effectiveness of each of the strategies:

  1. Summer Learning Strategies
  2. Teacher Mindset Training
  3. Extended Day Programs 
  4. Diversifying the Teacher Workforce
  5. Tutoring
  6. Teacher Bonuses
  7. Mentoring
  8. High-Quality Curricula
  9. Combating Chronic Absenteeism
  10. Student Motivation
  11. Early Warning Systems
  12. Mental Health Interventions
  13. Home Visits
  14. Equitable School Discipline
  15. Community Collaborations
  16. Facilities Upgrades
  17. Innovative Staffing Models
  18. School-Based Health Services

Innovative state plans

FutureEd has mapped out the COVID relief spending plans that 34 state education agencies have submitted to the U.S. Education Department. Encouragingly, there are some innovative ideas in the plans, Toch says.