MSCS ESSER in ACTION Community Campaign Nationally Spotlighted Among Education Leaders

An April 2022 Chiefs For Change webinar highlighted a new resource, Investment in Action: Telling the Story of How Federal Pandemic Recovery Funds Are Supporting Students. Memphis-Shelby County Schools (MSCS) was recognized as an exemplar district for effectively communicating about its high-impact initiatives funded by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and other Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) dollars.

Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray and Chief of Communications & Broadcast Services Jerica Phillips were invited as guests on the webinar to discuss the MSCS vision and strategies for its ESSER in ACTION community campaign.  


Across the country, states and school districts are investing a historic infusion of nearly $190 billion in federal pandemic recovery funds for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) to support students, families, and educators, and to make their schools and communities stronger in response to the pandemic.

 The decision on how to spend federal pandemic recovery resources is inherently and intentionally local: school communities are best positioned to come together and identify the ways these funds can address students’ needs arising from or made worse by the pandemic – from academic achievement and student wellbeing to the safety of school facilities.

 And at a time when so many school district superintendents are feeling the strain of leading systems through two years of an evolving and often unpredictable pandemic, school districts must also effectively communicate how they are deploying federal pandemic recovery funds as they navigate increasingly complex political terrain. This resource is intended to help school district leaders learn from their peers as they work to ask and answer similar communications questions in their own communities.

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