You are here

News Release - Districts, charter schools receive ESSER grants for math and K-3 reading curricula  

Sept. 21, 2022

Districts, charter schools receive ESSER grants for math and K-3 reading curricula  

DENVER – A total of 42 Colorado school districts and 28 charter schools will each receive a portion of $10 million in federal grants for K-8 math curricula and K-3 READ Act instructional programming, according to the Colorado Department of Education.

The ESSER K-8 Mathematics Curricula and K-3 READ Act Instructional Programming Grant program is funded through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds set aside for state-level programs. It was created to help districts purchase effective K-8 math curricula and K-3 READ Act-approved instructional programs in an effort to help accelerate learning for districts that have been particularly impacted by the disruptions caused by the pandemic. 

Interruptions to in-person instruction due to the pandemic resulted in many students falling behind, but students who were in need of the most support before the pandemic have fallen behind at even greater rates. In Colorado, those effects can be seen in the reading scores for the early grades and math scores for students below high school. For example, the percentage of K-3 students identified as having reading challenges increased to 22% from 16% pre-pandemic. And middle school math scores on the Colorado Measures of Academic Success tests this spring fell by as many as 6.5 percentage points from pre-pandemic levels.

Research has shown that providing students with high-quality, standards-aligned instruction can result in significant academic gains.

This grant allows schools and districts to purchase and use high-quality math and reading curriculum to address learning impacts caused by the pandemic. Applicants also can use the funds to pay for professional learning that directly supports the use of the materials.

“As we looked at the first set of statewide assessments administered after the pandemic, it was clear we needed to invest in strategies with the potential to be transformative for our students,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “Choosing curricula is firmly within the authority of local school districts, but our hope is that by presenting a range of very high-quality options and helping districts make the significant investment it takes to purchase their chosen learning materials, we can dramatically accelerate student learning.”

Each applicant was eligible to apply for $150 per student per content area, with a maximum award limited to $500,000. In most cases, applicants are spending local funds along with grant funds to make their curricular purchases.

A full list of schools and districts can be found on this webpage.

The reading material purchases eligible for the grant include core materials approved as part of the READ Act. The mathematics materials eligible for the grant include core materials with top ratings from, a third-party reviewer of curricular materials. A list of all eligible materials is on the grant program webpage.