How To Use Covid Stimulus Funding For Your School

Updated: May 5

Does your School or District still have CARES Act funding available?


Are you trying to figure out how you can spend it? Or are you planning ahead for new funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP)? We at Kikori have ideas for you!!

Photo by Micheile Henderson on Unsplash


The lives of Kikori co-founders Kendra Bostick and Bryn Lottig were transformed by their participation in experiential education. In 2018, they came together to bring their experience in social work and adventure learning to schools. Kikori partners with leading experts in the field of experiential education to bring social emotional learning resources to educators.


At the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, Kikori pivoted to address physical distancing requirements and focussed on making it easier to find virtual and distanced activities. 2020 forced our community to practice what we preach and learn by doing. Frankly, we think it’s about time the money showed up to support what our students really need! Together with our content experts, we are creating and sharing best practices for virtual, hybrid, and in-person community building. We advocate for democratizing access to quality education, and much of our content is available for free. We also offer powerful premium tools for schools to organize and customize their activities into playlists as curriculum. Read on to find out more about the COVID-19 Economic Relief available to schools and how Kikori supports the designated uses of funding.

COVID-19 Economic Relief for K-12 Education


In 2020, the CARES Act and CRRSA Act allocated over $110 billion to the Education Stabilization Fund. In March 2021, the American Rescue Plan (ARP) expanded on this to provide $122 billion more to support education through the ARP Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ARP ESSER).


According to an article by FutureEd (updated 4/23/21),

“The bulk of the money allotted to stabilize K-12 schools in the stimulus package and CRRSA will go directly to school districts based on the proportion of funding they receive through Title I of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act.


Like the first round of Covid relief aid in the CARES Act, the December measure and the stimulus package allows for a broad range of uses for dollars to stabilize schools. Districts can essentially use it for any activity allowed under other federal laws for education, including those for students with disabilities and those who are homeless."


The article continues that there are 12 areas where K-12 Schools can use their dollars. Bringing Kikori into your school would support the following three areas:

  1. Addressing learning loss especially among disadvantaged students, including those living in poverty, learning English, experiencing homelessness, dealing with disabilities or living in foster care

  2. Providing services to support student mental health

  3. Supporting after-school and summer learning programs


Kikori provides resources to weave social emotional learning seamlessly into your classroom


In April 2021, The Department of Education published a roadmap for reopening that stresses the importance of meeting the social, emotional and mental health needs of students in reopening schools. With students who have dealt with trauma and interrupted learning returning to the classroom, creating a learning environment to help students overcome these effects is crucial. This guide cites that “research also shows that social, emotional, identity, cognitive, and academic development are all interconnected” and suggests key evidence-based practices such as creating a framework to meet SEL needs, building trusted relationships between students, families, and educators, and adopting a school-wide approach that addresses student and staff’s emotional needs.


  • Provide time for regular check-ins with students and families.

  • Students need to feel acknowledged and welcomed on the individual level to be truly valuable members of the classroom. Finding time to reach out and connect with all participants or students makes everyone more comfortable to share out, speak their truth, and participate. Kikori has many resources such as Check-In and Reflection activities, to make your students feel valued at the individual and group level!

  • Implement restorative circles or “mindful moments” that provide students with space to self-regulate emotions.

  • Mindfulness can be practiced in a vast variety of ways, ranging from meditation to exercise to even just taking short breaks, and Kikori has many relaxing and reflective activities to help you cultivate a mindful classroom.

  • Establish morning or closing meetings, or other rituals within each school day.

  • Kikori provides a wealth of activities to incorporate into morning meetings and circle times to build a positive classroom community. Check out our blog articles, Monday Morning Openers, and Kikori Weekly Planner ~ Community Building Activities, to learn more about using the Openers and Closers you’ll find on the Kikori App.

  • Provide opportunities for student voice to be represented in classroom or school decision-making.

  • At the essence of the experiential learning model underpinning every Kikori Activity is the centering of student participants in the making of meaning. By their nature, the activities encourage educators to step back from being the singular authority and empower co-learning. Activities in the Kikori App are also aligned with 21st Century Skills including Leadership & Responsibility and SEL Standards for Responsible Decision-making.

  • Establish safe, positive, and stable environments using social contract and Full Value contract activities.

  • Establishing ‘Full Value’ social contracts among participants is standard practice in experiential education for creating a safe learning environment. Kikori partners with expert facilitators who have contributed over 40 social contract activities to the app, and the list is growing!

  • Establishing building-level wellness teams to address the SEL needs of both students and staff.

  • With Kikori’s institutional memberships, users can create their own network for sharing activities and playlists with all staff members. While all of our activities are available for free, the power of curriculum comes with premium access to playlists. The Kikori Team collaborates with expert facilitators to create sample playlists on trending topics. With an institutional membership, a school social worker or wellness team can access these, customize them, or build their own collections of activities to share out to an entire organization.

  • Being a part of the Kikori Community connects schools to our network of experiential education leaders, many of whom offer virtual workshops and professional development. Teachers can explore activities by many different creators and follow the ones best suited to them.

Interested in bringing Kikori to your school? Contact bryn@kikoriapp.com to find out more about our institutional memberships and benefits!


Read more:

ED COVID-19 HANDBOOK: Roadmap to Reopening Safely and Meeting All Students’ Needs


Department of Education Announces American Rescue Plan Funds


ARP ESSER Fact Sheet


What Congressional Covid Funding Means for K-12 Schools

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