Dear Colleagues:

It was great that many of you were able to join me for Catapult Learning’s 9th annual Equitable Services Institute (ESI20).  Whether you were able to attend or not, I wanted to make you aware of some new resources on my website:

  • Recordings of all three days (90 minutes each) of ESI20.
  • Recordings of the pre-ESI20 sessions for CARES, IDEA, and ESSA.
  • Ordering information for the updated ESSA Toolkit and ESSA Guidebook and for the new IDEA Toolkit and IDEA Field Guide. Each topic is sold as a bundle at a cost of $30 for both books in the bundle.

To access these resources, go to  Click on “webinars” or “publications” as appropriate.  There are several other free resources still available under the publications tab (including an FAQ compilation from ESI20 discussions), so be sure to check those out as well.

On Friday, October 9, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) issued NEW guidance on the provision of equitable services under the CARES Act.  You may have been following along as we went from ED guidance, to an ED Interim Final Rule (IFR), to court cases challenging the IFR, to the rescinding of the IFR, and now to new guidance.  The following are the key take-aways from the new CARES guidance:

  • Confirmation that funding for ESSER and GEER is determined based on the Title I count.
    • LEA can use 2019-20 or 2020-21 Title I count.
  • Services are provided to students based on the location of the private school.
  • The LEA must offer services to all private schools located in the LEA.
  • All 12 purposes listed in CARES-ESSER are options for services to private school students.
  • Consultation is required as outlined in Section 1117.
  • The ombudsman for ESSA plays the same role for CARES.
  • The PPA is determined based on all private school students attending private schools located in the LEA unless, after consultation, the LEA decides to focus on a subset of private school students—giving greater weight to particular student characteristics.
  • With agreement between private school officials and the LEA, the LEA may pool ESSER funds.

As always, if I can help answer specific questions, just go to the tab on my website home page—Ask Michelle.

Thank you for all you’re doing for our nation’s children during these challenging times.  Stay strong and be safe!

All the best,