10 Ways to Fund Intervention Scheduling Software
Ask just about any teacher or administrator if they have enough time with their students to provide what they need and you’ll almost certainly be met with a resounding “no.” This is one of the reasons teachers and administrators spend countless hours outside of school hours and over the summer during their “vacation” working to maximize the precious time they get to spend with their students.
Here at Edficiency, we believe that time is the most important resource schools have. After all, that’s why we focus on saving teachers and administrators time scheduling their flex periods and are proud that the vast majority of teachers and administrators we work with (over 90%) believe we save them time.
But we also know that funding is among the other most important resources for schools to do what they want to do. This is why we align our pricing to the way schools are funded, pass savings off to schools wherever we can, and focus on being as affordable as possible to still provide an excellent, time-saving, product. It’s also why we wanted to create this post to help schools identify common funding streams that could be used to purchase response to intervention (RTI) scheduling software that support their work with students in whatever model they’re using to guide their work, whether it be multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), positive behavior interventions and support (PBIS), or something else entirely.
Not entirely sure what a Flex Period is? Check out our “What is a Flex Period” post here.
Why is Flex Time in Middle + High Schools Important?
Before we jump into the list of funding streams, we wanted to ground ourselves in why flex time is becoming more popular among middle and high schools, with at least 42% of our sample of over 8000 schools across the US having a flex period of some kind built into their schedule (click here to read more about this sampling data and to find out some of the most common names).
As we mentioned above, teachers rarely have enough time with their students to accomplish what they hope to, much less provide the personalized learning experiences that each student needs when they’re grouped together in fixed groups at the same time every day. And this time becomes more rigid as students enter middle and high school grades, traveling between different teachers that are experts in their subject areas. Flex Time allows teachers to strategically get more time with different groups of students (or even individual students sometimes) in ways that are just not possible in the middle and high school schedules we’ve come to know. They also allow students to have access to opportunities that would otherwise be forced to after-school hours, which we know is not always possible for students for a variety of reasons, like transportation issues and other commitments outside of school. In many cases, it also gives students choice in their day, which gives many of them something different to look forward to in school each day and helps prepare them to own their own learning, which is an important skill to take with them wherever they choose to go upon graduation.
But if you’d made it this far, you likely don’t need more information on the importance of flex time in middle and high schools, so we’ll jump right into the list.
Want more information on data- and research-based benefits of Flex Periods? Check out our post that outlines the benefits here.
10 Funding Sources for Flexible Intervention Scheduling Software
Title I (Part A)
If your school receives Title I funds from the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), they are intended to be used for financial assistance to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards. These funds can be spent on non-instructional costs that can show an impact on student achievement. Because intervention scheduling software enables schools to systematically provide interventions, in addition to other enrichment opportunities, it is eligible to be used for these funds.
Title II (Part A)
The “Title II, Part A program [of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)] is designed, among other things, to provide students from low-income families and minority students with greater access to effective educators” and includes providing mentorship, support, and evaluation of teachers. These funds become especially applicable to flexible scheduling software when schools use it to schedule students with highly effective teachers across the building (e.g. those they might not have in their regular schedule) and schools that also leverage this time to provide teachers with periodic opportunities to work together on their development, whether through professional learning communities (PLCs), mentoring meetings, or whatever other teacher coaching initiatives the school has in place.
Title III of the ESEA funds are meant “to be used to provide supplemental services that improve the English language proficiency and academic achievement of [English learners (ELs)], including through the provision of language instruction educational programs (LIEPs) and activities that increase the knowledge and skills of teachers who serve ELs. Because schools that receive these funds will almost certainly include support for their English learners during this intervention time, leveraging Title III funds for intervention scheduling software is an easy fit.
Title IV (Part A)
Title IV of the ESEA funds are intended to: “1) provide all students with access to a well-rounded education, 2) improve school conditions for student learning, and 3) improve the use of technology in order to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy of all students.” Because flexible instructional time meets all three of these criteria, intervention scheduling software is an acceptable allocation for Title IV funds.
IDEA (Part B)
The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) provides “federal funding to states for the education of children with disabilities and requires, as a condition for the receipt of such funds, the provision of a FAPE to children with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21… [and that] School districts within participating states must identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disability, to determine which children are eligible for special education and related services.” While this funding source is somewhat less conventional and often already earmarked, for schools that leverage their flexible intervention times to include services for their students with Individual Education Programs (IEPs), it can be a viable option for funding flexible intervention scheduling software.
GEAR UP Grants
Another lesser-known option is leveraging GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) funds, which sets out to provide “grants that must include both an early intervention component designed to increase college attendance and success and raise the expectations of low-income students and a scholarship component.” While Intervention Periods do not include a scholarship component, they do qualify for the intervention component, which enables software to better perform and manage the time an eligible expense.
ESSER (Part I)
And for a funding source that is particularly timely as the 2020-2021 school year comes to a close is Part I of the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds, which are part of the Coronavirus Aide, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. These funds are intended to help schools respond to needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are intentionally flexible for schools to use as they see fit, with Section 18003(d)(9) specifically outlining the purchase of “educational technology, which could include hardware, software, and connectivity, for students served by the LEA that aids in regular, substantive educational interaction between students and educators, including low-income students and students with disabilities,... [which] could also include assistive technology or adaptive equipment.”
ESSER (Part II)
In addition to the ESSER Part I funds from the CARES Act, ESSER II Funds provided by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA) Act are are eligible for the same purposes while also being allowed for use of “addressing learning loss, preparing schools for reopening, and testing, repairing, and upgrading projects to improve air quality in school buildings.” As most schools are especially interested in the role intervention periods can play in addressing learning loss caused by the pandemic, intervention scheduling software is a natural fit here.
ESSER (Part III)
The third round of funding from ESSER was approved in March, 2021, which largely has the same eligibility criteria as parts I and II, leaving it as another source for schools as they enter the 2021-2022 school year. This is currently the last of the ESSER funding as of May, 2021.
Lastly, we’ll include the most obvious choice for many schools, as it often has the most flexibility in use, is the school’s general fund, which can usually be used at the discretion of the school, as long as it meets the local state and district criteria, which usually is still flexible but must follow local procedures for approval depending on the amount required for a single item. While in most cases, the cost of Edficiency’s intervention scheduling software for a year is under the district’s requirement for district-level approval, we know this varies widely from district to district, so we always recommend knowing your district’s procedures for purchasing software and following them accordingly.
As outlined here, there are many avenues to secure funding for intervention scheduling software. While we know that they might not all come to mind right away, given the importance of providing interventions and additional learning opportunities to students, we’re glad to know that many funding streams for schools are eligible to allow middle and high schools to better and more creatively use their time to benefit their students’ outcomes.
If you’re interested in learning more about Flex Periods or how Edficiency’s intervention scheduling software can help your school, feel free to schedule a quick introductory call here to learn more.