Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse Home Page

Since Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration has worked aggressively to safely reopen schools, help students recover academically, and support their mental health and well-being. President Biden knew that a once-in-a generation pandemic would have a once-in-a-generation impact on our nation’s students. This year’s National Assessment of Educational Progress results show the impact on our students and should be a rallying cry to local, State, and national leaders to redouble their efforts to support learning recovery. The results also show how critical the Administration’s work was and continues to be to get and keep students back in classrooms and to get American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars into communities to accelerate academic recovery and provide mental health and other supports to students.

ARP provided an unprecedented investment in America’s preschool through 12th-grade (PreK-12) schools to help them safely reopen and remain open for in-person learning and to provide the academic, mental health, and social and emotional support that students, educators, and schools need to recover from the pandemic.

ARP included $122 billion for PreK-12 schools in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ARP ESSER) funds, as well as an additional $8 billion to States and school districts to meet the needs of certain student populations, including over $3 billion for students with disabilities and $800 million for children and youth experiencing homelessness.

Across the country, we already see the significant impact ARP has on schools and communities. Since its passage, States, school districts, and schools have used these funds to safely reopen and sustain in-person instruction, support academic learning, and address student mental health needs. To help deploy funds strategically, States and school districts have been engaging with their communities — including parents, families, community groups, and educators — to develop the best plan for their schools.

The U.S. Department of Education remains committed to academic recovery efforts. To learn more about the promising practices helping students across the country, keep scrolling!

Safe and Open Schools

African American professor teaching her students while wearing protective face mask due to coronavirus pandemic

Safe and Healthy Environments

Learn about school, early childhood program, and campus approaches to implementing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as other strategies for sustaining safe in-person operations with ARP funds. The recovery resources include all grades and ages. Teachers, early childhood providers, faculty, staff, schools, districts, early childhood programs, institutions of higher education, other educational institutions, and States can use these lessons learned, best practices, and Federal and State guidelines to plan and implement health and safety strategies with their local and State governments and community partners.

Student Supports

Elementary age boys and girls sitting at child-size desks and learning arithmetic from encouraging instructor standing at a chalkboard.

Providing Supports to Students, Young Children, and Families

Learn how communities and schools use ARP funds to support the social, emotional, mental health, academic, developmental, and basic needs of all learners. This includes providing access to food and other basic needs, with a specific focus on the most vulnerable learners and ensuring that resources provided by schools and campuses will be able to connect with and meet the needs of those disconnected from learning and those whose communities have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

Educator Supports

African-American male teacher leading discussion group of adults and teens

Teacher, Early Childhood Provider, Faculty, and Staff Well-Being, Professional Development, and Supports

Learn how to better address the well-being and professional needs of teachers, early childhood providers, faculty, and staff, including strategies to address their social, emotional, health, and other needs, with ARP funds. Teachers, early childhood education providers, faculty, staff, schools, districts, institutions of higher education, other places of educational instruction, and States may use these lessons learned, best practices, and Federal resources to create plans of action.

Our Mission

To develop, maintain, and continually enhance a Safer Schools and Campuses Best Practices Clearinghouse, per Executive Order (E.O.) 14000 issued by President Biden, that provides collections of lessons from the field in support of students, young children, families, teachers, early childhood providers, faculty, and staff, as schools, early childhood programs, and campuses continue to recover from the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This collection of lessons learned and best practices provides resources to identify and support the needs of all students, and particularly historically disadvantaged students, to ensure that all have access to a high-quality education.

Pupils studying At desks in classroom looking at camera smiling

Implementation Stories

Institute of Education Sciences, What Works Clearinghouse - Providing Reading Interventions for Students in Grades 4-9

This practice guide by the What Works Clearinghouse offers evidence-based strategies and recommendations for delivering reading interventions for students in grades 4-9.

This resource includes a stand-alone introduction and summary of the practice guide along with the full practice guide. The four recommendations are supported by the highest levels of evidence.

Young girl writing on the board at elementary school math class

Innovative Spotlight

Institute of Education Sciences, What Works Clearinghouse - Assisting Students Struggling with Mathematics: Intervention in the Elementary Grades

This guide shares evidence-based practices to help teachers individualize instruction and/or mathematics intervention programs to meet students’ needs.

The six recommendations in this practice guide are all supported by the highest level of evidence.

Teacher and pupils using flower shapes in montessori school

Federal, State & Local Resources

Institute of Education Sciences, What Works Clearinghouse - Preparing Young Children for School

This practice guide, developed in conjunction with an expert panel, distills contemporary early childhood and preschool education research into seven easily comprehensible and practical recommendations. The guidance will help to prepare young children to benefit from the learning opportunities they will encounter in school.

The seven recommendations in this resource are supported by the highest levels of evidence.

Spotlight: Career-Connected Education: A Call to Action from the Secretaries of Education, Commerce and Labor

Hosted by the U.S. Department of Education (ED), this video shares ED’s call to action to strengthen career-connected learning programs in schools, including through career and technical education, dual enrollment programs, internships, and apprenticeships.

Spotlight: Marietta High School: Evening School Hours

This video highlights an innovative program at a Georgia high school that supports students who work or are caretakers during the school day by providing space, teacher support, and instruction after traditional school hours, helping students at risk of dropping out earn credits and graduate high school. Additionally, the program connects students with needed supports within the school and community, including mental health services and job opportunities.

Spotlight: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In this video, the CDC reminds us of the importance of vaccinations for children and youth. For the best protection, CDC recommends COVID-19 vaccines for everyone 6 months and older and boosters for everyone 5 years and older, if eligible. Learn six facts about COVID-19 vaccination for children.