Funding P2: 2020 CARES Act

By Melissa Killingbeck

When school bells rang in the fall of 2019 welcoming teachers and students to the start of a new year, only  3%-4% of school-age children in the U.S. participated in home-based schooling. No one could have predicted that by the spring of 2020, a pandemic would change all of our societal systems, and 100% of school-age children across the U.S. would be learning from home as schools shut down.

Yet, despite the unimaginable uncertainty, within a few short weeks, school districts nationwide had created and successfully launched virtual learning plans for their students. At The Positivity Project, we immediately recognized the shifting needs of our 570+ Partner Schools and worked tirelessly to put together a Virtual Learning plan to support both synchronous and asynchronous teaching models.

With the 2020-2021 school year on the horizon and no end to the pandemic in sight, schools across the country are being tasked with planning for things like social distancing and hybrid learning models — all while facing threats of massive budget cuts.

In an effort to provide schools with some economic relief, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act has been signed into law. Within this $2 trillion legislation, Congress has dedicated $13.2 billion of these funds for the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER Fund), to help K-12 schools throughout the U.S. prevent, prepare for, and respond to the impacts of COVID-19. While the distribution of ESSER Funds will occur in the same way that each state receives funds under Title I, Part A, it is not considered Title money and is separate from funds currently available for SEL support through Title IV. According to the U.S. Department of Education, ESSER funds may be used for reasons– including but not limited to:

  • Providing principals and others school leaders with the resources necessary to address the needs of their individual schools
  • Purchasing educational technology (hardware, software, and connectivity) for students, that aids in the regular and substantive educational interaction between students and their classroom instructors, including low-income students and students with disabilities, which may include assistive or adaptive technology
  • Providing mental health services and supports

At a time when social-emotional needs for students are at an all time high, schools should not have to consider cutting critical SEL supports. The Positivity Project provides Tier I Social-Emotional Learning support through fully digital resources, scaffolded Pre K-12 and therefore meets the requirements provided for use of ESSER funds under the CARES Act.  Documentation from the U.S. Department of Education further stipulates that Local Education Authorities may apply for ESSER funds no later than September 30, 2020, and can expect funds to be distributed within 30 days of an application’s approval.

The Positivity Project is happy to work with you to extend payment terms while you await approval of your application. That way, you can get started with P2 implementation before needing to pay.

The upcoming  school year is going to look a lot different and a strong character education curriculum will be more important than ever. In just 15-minutes a day, The Positivity Project will help you build self-aware, empathetic students — whether learning is in-person, virtual, or hybrid. If you are looking for a way to secure funding for P2, utilizing funds available through ESSER or Title IV are possible solutions.  For more information on including P2 within your district’s Title IV grant, click here.




Wondering what The Positivity Project could look like in your classroom? We’d like to invite you, and any of your colleagues, to see what #PositivityInAction looks like with a free 7-day trial. You can sign up here so that you can get a true sense of The Positivity Project’s benefits: easy and adaptable for teachers, engaging and impactful for students, and a schoolwide common vocabulary, and positive culture.

Melissa Killingbeck

Melissa Killingbeck is the Michigan State Leader for The Positivity Project. Prior to retiring from public education in 2019, Melissa proudly served as an elementary teacher, instructional coach, and principal in the Flushing school district for 25 years. Melissa is passionate about P2, and as an elementary principal, helped lead her staff and students in its successful implementation. She has witnessed first hand the power of P2 and is “Fired Up” and honored to have the opportunity to help grow and support this powerful movement throughout the Mitten State. Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Michigan-Flint, a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from Marygrove College, and a Certificate of K-12 Administration from Eastern Michigan University. Melissa resides in Hubbard Lake, Michigan with her husband Casey, also a retired P2 principal, and their two children, Molly & Jack, both of whom attend Michigan State University - Go Green!