ESSER III Advocacy Resources

Announcing "Arts Grow SC: Learning in and through the Arts"

The South Carolina Department of Education has formally announced a $20 million partnership with the South Carolina Arts Commission to help public schools throughout the state address pandemic related learning loss with proven, arts-based learning initiatives. Read more about the partnership, supported by ARP ESSER funds, here.

Maximizing Impact: Including the Arts in District Spending Plans

Arts Grow SC partners are calling on school districts to include the arts in district spending plans for ARP ESSER funds. On July 14, SCAC Executive Director, David Platts, introduced Arts Grow SC to SC district leadership at South Carolina Association for School Administrators. His presentation provided an overview of Arts Grow SC’s initiatives and offered concrete guidance as to why, where, and how to include the arts in the district spending plan template due to SCDE in August. The PowerPoint is available for download for reference and assistance during the district planning process. An instructional video is coming soon.


Esser III Funding Information

American Rescue Plan Funds Can Support the Arts During the School Day and In After-School and Summer Programs

South Carolina students will soon benefit from $2.1 billion in supplemental ESSER III dollars, funded by the American Rescue Plan. ESSER III will fund programs that accelerate learning through evidence-based practices during the school day, as well as extended-year, summer, afterschool, and other out-of-school programs.

Federal DOE guidance released in April 2021 specifically cites the importance of the arts in in-school, summer, and afterschool interventions to provide a well-rounded education and to support social and emotional learning.

Learn more from the SC Department of Education about state requirements and procedures for the new ESSER III Subgrant.

Dream Big and Cite the Studies

Now’s the time to dream big in summer and afterschool programming. The following evidence-based resources will help you advocate for ESSER III to fund engaging arts programming that makes accelerated learning a reality.

Evidence-Based Research

Well-Rounded Education & Whole Child Development

Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs (U.S. Department of Education)
Specifically cites the importance of incorporating the arts when planning in-school, summer, and afterschool interventions to accelerate learning in response to COVID-19. Evidence suggests the arts are key to providing a well-rounded education and supporting social and emotional learning.

Academic Remediation in Core Subjects

Review of Evidence: Arts Integration Research Through the Lens of the Every Student Succeeds Act (American Institutes for Research)
A research review of 27 studies that meet ESSA design criteria found an average improvement index of 4 percentile points in core learning areas for students receiving arts-integrated instruction.

Educational Equity

Gallup Student Poll, conducted and published in partnership between Gallup Research, the South Carolina Arts Commission, and Palmetto State Arts Education
An arts-rich school can help neutralize the effects of poverty. 2018 Gallup survey data shows that arts-rich schools with free/reduced-price lunch program participation 75% or greater scored higher than the state mean in four elements linked to desirable student outcomes: engagement, hope, entrepreneurial aspiration, and career/financial literacy.

Student Achievement

Critical Evidence: How the Arts Benefit Student Achievement (National Assembly of State Arts Agencies)
This research describes in nontechnical terms how study of the arts contributes to academic achievement and student success. It offers impartial, to-the-point reporting of the multiple benefits associated with students’ learning experiences in the arts.

Investigating Causal Effects of Arts Education Experiences (Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research)
Through a randomized controlled trial with 10,548 students who were enrolled in 42 schools across the Houston area, researchers found arts-learning experiences benefit students in terms of reductions in disciplinary infractions, increases in compassion for others and improvements in writing achievement. Furthermore, arts-education experiences improve school engagement and college aspirations.

Review of Evidence: Arts Education Through the Lens of ESSA (American Institutes for Research)
According to the meta-analysis conducted as part of this evidence review, the average effect found in the 20 well-designed studies examined was moderate and statistically significant, indicating that an average child would gain 15 percentile points in a relevant student outcome examined in this review (i.e. academic achievement, art learning, social-emotional learning, and process abilities) as a result of participating in an arts education intervention.

Selection into, and academic benefits from, arts-related courses in middle school among low-income, ethnically diverse youth
Alternate Link (paywall)
A new study from the George Mason University Arts Research Center and published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts found a link between arts elective courses in music, dance, visual art and drama, and better grades in middle school. ​

Your District's Funding Eligibility

  • August 24, 2021 – Deadline for school districts to submit ESSER III application to the SCDE. All school districts are required to have public input on ESSER III plan before it is submitted.
  • September 2024 – Deadline for all ESSER funds to be spent

Find your estimated district total:

    1. Visit
    2. Select ESSER III in the top menu.
    3. Select South Carolina in the left-hand drop-down menu.

Other Resources

National Association for Music Education ESSER Funding Toolkit

Educational Theatre Association ESSER Guide to Funding

National Afterschool Alliance ARP Overview

Help Kids Recover ESSER Home Page

National Summer Learning Association ARP FAQs

Photos below: Students at statewide Read to Succeed summer camps participate in the Governor’s School for the Arts & Humanities’ Spark! outreach programming connecting drama and literacy.