The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund was established in response to the immense challenges facing students, educators, staff, schools, and districts in preparing for and responding to COVID-19. The funds are for a wide array of activities to address diverse needs arising from or exacerbated by the pandemic, or to emerge stronger post-pandemic. This includes responding to students’ social, emotional, mental health, and academic needs. Because of the unprecedented, one-time funding available to districts, the South Dakota Department of Education (the department) encourages school districts to invest the funding strategically. Investments should provide sustained benefits to students and positively impact the district long-term.