District Structures to Maximize, Manage, and Evaluate ESSER Funds in Service of Students
Metro Nashville Public Schools created processes and procedures for managing ESSER grants, reporting and evaluating efficacy, and allocating these funds to schools in an equitable manner with emphasis on students in Title I schools. Leadership was strategic in ensuring the equitable allocation of these one-time relief dollars and coordinating them with other federal programs, such as Titles I and III. This session will focus on the structures created by the district staff to manage, maximize, and evaluate district and school-level ESSER funds in the midst of changing needs and requirements. The session will highlight measures created to evaluate the efficacy of the district’s most critical ESSER-funded initiatives, specifically those focused on lifting up opportunities for economically disadvantaged students, such as extended learning in summer and high dosage tutoring throughout the school year. Presenters will share examples as well as lessons learned and promising practices.
Dr. Krista Davis serves as the Coordinator of Evaluation in the Research, Assessment, and Evaluation office in MNPS. She has experience in federal programs, federal accountability and assessment, as well as in the private sector, having conducted research at American University, McRel Institute, Centerstone Research Institute, and more. Dr. Davis has a successful track record of designing correlational studies to help determine return on investment for Title-funded initiatives (among many other things).
Dr. Alyson Lerma has worked in various federal programs roles for more than a decade, both at the district and state levels. She has served as a district supervisor in large school systems in Tennessee, as well as the Director of ESEA and IDEA Monitoring at the Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE). Dr. Lerma developed the three tier risk-based monitoring system currently in use at TDOE and spear-headed a state-wide initiative to restructure the Title I, Neglected and Delinquent Program in Tennessee. She currently serves as the Director of Grants Development and Management in the second largest school district in the state with various charter and non-public schools. In addition, she has applied successfully for multiple federal grants and her team is responsible for overseeing various state and federal grants, including the emergency relief funds and Title II as well as ESEA equitable services. She holds elected positions in two state-wide organizations, M.A.S.S. (for the state's largest school system) and TAFPA (for federal programs administrators in TN).
Josh Wright’s career in education began more than 20 years ago as an Elementary Music Specialist, and during this time, he assumed the role of School Improvement Lead helping his school ensure compliance with Title I regulations. He found a growing enjoyment and satisfaction with his work in grants management and then accepted a district-level position helping principals and school leadership teams in the areas of school improvement, compliance, and budgeting. He now serves as Metro Nashville Public Schools’ Grant Coordinator with responsibilities including the coordination of the submission of the Local Education Agency Plan, the Consolidated Funding Application, and assisting in the administration and coordination of the district’s ESSER funds.