• In 2021, WS/FCS developed a plan to utilize federal ESSER Funds in response to COVID’s impacts on education in our public schools. The plan includes input from 10 townhall style events and will undergo ongoing evaluation of a task force (soon to be formed). WS/FCS has the ability to amend its ESSER Plan and budget as needed. 

    What is ESSER?

    Congress has approved three (3) different Acts as a response to the impact of COVID-19.  Each Act has parts that are specific to states and school systems to address the impacts of the pandemic through the use of Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Funds.  

    March 2020 - ESSER I December 2020 - ESSER II March 2021 - ESSER III
    ESSER I was established as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  ESSER I provided direct funding to states and school districts to address the impact COVID-19 has had, and continues to have, on elementary and secondary schools across the nation.   ESSER II was created through enactment of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSA).  As with ESSER I, the core purpose of the ESSER II Fund is to provide funds to states and districts to address the areas most impacted by the disruption and closure of schools caused by COVID-19.  For NC, addressing learning recovery was the focus, specifically summer school.    The American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) Fund was enacted.  ARP ESSER (ESSER III) provides direct aid to states and districts to help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools and address the impact of COVID-19 on schools. ESSER III requires each public school unit to use at least 20% of their allotment for addressing learning loss.   

What can ESSER II and ESSER III Funding support?

  • ESSER Funds can support activities such as:

    • Addressing Learning Loss
    • Long-term Closure Activities
    • Education Technology
    • Mental Health Services
    • Summer Learning
    • Other Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Activities
    • Providing Principals/Leaders with Resources (ESSER II only)
    • Addressing Unique Needs of Special Populations

    ESSER Funds can also support improvements or modifications that help prevent transmission of the COVID-19 virus:

    • Improving Preparedness and Response
    • Training to Minimize Virus Transmission
    • Supplies to Sanitize and Clean
    • Facility Repairs/Improvement to Minimize Virus Transmission
    • Improve Air Quality
    • Coordination of Preparedness and Response

WS/FCS Guiding Principles

  • WS/FCS asked the following questions to help establish its ESSER Funding Allocations and Priorities.

    1. How does the investment address current and long-term student needs?
    2. How does the investment advance the strategic plan and instructional priorities, vision, and goals of the district?
    3. What do we know already about the efficacy of the investment of the likelihood that a new, innovative initiative will be successful?
    4. What will it take to effectively and equitably implement the program or strategy?
    5. How will the investment be sustained or continue to build district capacity after the three years of relief funding ends?
    6. How will success be measured? What are the metrics that will be employed?

    WS/FCS will be diligent to create sustainable activities, improvements, and modifications for the safe operation of its schools and address the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the district's students beyond the ESSER Funding periods.

Incorporated Community Ideas into ESSER

    • Literacy coaches to support K-3 teachers
    • Standards-aligned field trips and exploration activities
    • One-time retention bonuses to all WS/FCS employees
    • Creation of outdoor learning areas at schools
    • Expanded district hotline with increased hours and responsiveness to seasonal topics/questions
    • Enhanced student orientation experiences at schools to support return to in-person instructions, especially for transitional grades (K, 1, 6, 7, 9, 10)

    Additional Feedback Included in Other Funding Sources

    • Social Emotional Learning curriculum to support student needs
    • Establishment of wellness rooms for students
    • Mentor program, especially for black males, for encouragement and connections to the community

WS/FCS ESSER Use of Funds Highlights

  • Addressing Learning Loss

  • Providing Mental Health Services and Supports

  • Activities Related to Summer Learning and After-School Programs

  • Educational Technology

  • Sanitizing and Cleaning, Repairing and Improving Facilities

  • Improving the Preparedness/Response Efforts

  • Planning and Implementing Activities During Long-Term Closures

  • Additional Community Feedback Included in Other Funding Sources

January 2022 Community Presentation

If you are having trouble viewing the document, you may download the document.

Previous Updates

  • Click the links below for previous updates on the WS/FCS utilization of ESSER Funds.

Community Presentations

  • June 22, 2021 Board Meeting

    The June 22, 2021 Board Meeting included an updated ESSER Use of Funds Highlight from Superintendent Tricia McManus, including areas of the use of funds updated as a result of comments and suggestions received from the community in May 2021.

    Town Hall (in English)


    Town Hall (en Español)

    In May 2021, the district hosted several town halls to get feedback from students, families, and community members and stakeholder groups: Public Virtual Town Halls (May 20, May 26 - Spanish Language, and May 27), Superintendent's Student Advisory Council (April 29), Community Learning Center Task Force (May 11), Prinicipals and Managers (May 12), Equity Advisory Council (May 17), and Teacher Adivsory Council (May 20). Joint information sessions were also hosted with the Ministers' Conference of Winston-Salem and Vicinity (May 11) and NAACP (May 18). 

Share Your Feedback

  • The initial online feedback period closed on June 1, 2021. The information was compiled alongside community meeting feedback and all feedback received helped to develop and guide modifications to the district's initial ESSER (first phase) use of funds plan which is found in the presentation above. 

    We welcome you to continue sending us additional comments via:




    Call and talk with Elaine Sapp in WS/FCS Marketing & Communicaitons - 336.727.2696


    The Board of Education will get regular updates about the funds, and the Superintendent will discuss amendments made to the Use of Funds during Board of Education meetings.  Feedback is always welcome during public comment at monthly meetings.

Fast Facts

  • How long is ESSER Funding available? Do they expire?

  • Can the WS/FCS ESSER Use of Funds change?

  • What determines the district's ESSER Fund allotments?

  • Will there be an ESSER Task Force?

  • Will there be outcomes associated with ESSER Funding?

Timeline and Public Comment

  • May 2021

    • WS/FCS ESSER Use of Funds drafted
    • Community Stakeholder Feedback through Town Halls and Group Review

    June 2021

    • June 1: Initial feedback period closes
    • by June 7: Feedback compiled for WS/FCS ESSER Use of Funds first round amendments. These amendments may impact summer extended learning opportunities, staffing needs, and other efforts. 
    • June 22: Revised Use of Funds plan presented to Board of Education
    • June 29: Use of Funds Approved by the Board of Education


    • Work with Staff to develop Implementation Plans.
    • Ongoing evaluation of ESSER Plan via task force and other methods
    • Amend ESSER Plan and budget as needed

     This timeline will be updated as WS/FCS moves through the phases of ESSER Funding.

    Public Comment

    As part of receiving ESSER III funds, each school district must post its reopening school plan on its webpage and open a 30-day public comment period.  For the 21-22 school year, WS/FCS will reopen with in-person instruction for all students.  For families and students interested in virtual learning, WS/FCS offers Virtual Academy for K-12 students.  For m
    ore information about Virtual Academy, click this link. 

    Public comments were collected for the continuation of in-person instruction from June 17 to July 28, 2021.