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Initiative that used ESSER funds for classroom supplies a rousing success

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Graphic that says 12,927 projects funded

A total of 12,927 teachers' projects were funded as part of the special initiative to allocate $11 million in federal COVID-19 relief funds to help prek-12 public school educators obtain classroom resources to help students recover from COVID-19 impacts.


Nearly 13,000 Colorado teachers applied for and received more than $11 million in classroom supplies in an initiative that used ESSER II funding to help pre-K through 12th grade public school educators address COVID-19 learning loss.

The Colorado Department of Education partnered with DonorsChoose, a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit, to empower educators to secure specific classroom supplies they need to support their students’ academic success as they continue to recover from learning loss associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Colorado teachers received up to $1,000 in project funding from CDE, which included about $800 in materials after fees and other costs. 

Beginning Aug. 24, teachers applied through the DonorsChoose portal with a description of the project, up to about $800 in supplies, and a description of how the items would help with student recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. A DonorsChoose team vetted the requests and excluded projects with items that were ineligible for ESSER funding including clothing, food, subscriptions,  gift cards, or other items not related to student academic or social-emotional needs- and then approved. Items were shipped to the school almost immediately after approval. A total of 1,553 schools were supported and 167 of 178 Colorado school districts had at least one project funded.  A breakdown of the statistics of the initiative can be found here. 

“We are so happy that we were able to tap into federal COVID relief funds to provide teachers with supplies that are critical to helping students recover from the effects of the pandemic,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Susana Córdova. “Teachers were able to ask for exactly the supplies they needed and nearly every one of the projects were fulfilled. This is the kind of initiative that has a real tangible effect.”