As the September 2023 deadline for committing ESSER funds approaches, schools across the country face a decision on how to best invest in the money that remains. Allocating ESSER funds is a crucial decision for schools and districts, as these funds offer a rare opportunity to invest in students’ education in a meaningful way. One of the most effective ways to support students’ academic and career success is by investing in STEAM and coding initiatives.
Preparing Students for Future Academic and Career Success
STEAM and coding skills are in high demand in today’s job market. By investing in these fields, schools can help their students develop the skills necessary to succeed in the 21st-century workforce. STEAM and coding also fosters critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity, essential skills that are invaluable for all students.
Engaging More Students to Reduce the Achievement Gap
STEAM and coding education can help reduce the achievement gap and encourage more learners to pursue science, technology, and engineering opportunities at the higher grades and in the workforce. Investing in STEAM and coding education can help promote academic and career success for all students. Additionally, providing STEAM and coding education at an early age can help promote economic mobility for all students, by opening up new career opportunities and reducing the achievement gap, and create a more equitable and prosperous future for all students.
Inspiring the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs
STEAM and coding education can inspire innovation and entrepreneurship. By teaching students how to develop new technologies and start their businesses, schools can create a new generation of tech entrepreneurs. These students will be equipped with the skills necessary to drive economic growth and create new job opportunities.
Options for Using Remaining ESSER Funds
In conjunction with STEAM and coding solutions, ESSER funds may be spent on improving and personalizing professional learning and other support for educators. These add-on costs of many edtech solutions would provide ongoing support for educators and students.
Another option to stretch ESSER dollars further is to add multiple year subscriptions to STEAM and coding solution purchases. This allows for positive impacts far beyond 2024.
It’s important to note that schools have many options for how to use ESSER funds. Still, investing in STEAM and coding initiatives provides a unique opportunity to prepare students for future success, promote equity and opportunity, and support the local economy. By investing in STEAM and coding education, schools can empower their students to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
Shaunda Douglas is a former educator with over 15 years of experience in all levels of education. In her free time, she reads, plays with her dogs, watches baseball, and loves a good nap.