First Book Supports Districts Using ARP ESSER Funds to Drive Equity

First Book as a Partner in Equity

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 provided an infusion of support that schools and programs desperately need to make strides toward sustained educational equity. First Book is working with districts nationwide to help maximize ARP ESSER funding for learning recovery and enrichment, educator support, and building more equitable environments to amplify the impact of this investment in low-income communities.

For the past 30 years, First Book has focused on breaking down barriers to quality education by providing its Network of more than 500,000 registered teachers, librarians, after school program leaders, and others serving children in need with millions of free and affordable new, high-quality books, educational resources, and basic needs items. Our system-changing model addresses the whole child, supporting their education, basic needs, and wellness – all of which are essential to educational equity.

5 Ways to Drive Equity Through First Book

  1. Enhance learning recovery efforts with new books and art/school supplies for classrooms.
  2. Create home libraries to promote social and emotional wellness.
  3. Ensure sustained impact by connecting every Title I educator with First Book (it’s free) so they have access to funded opportunities, special events, and free teacher support resources.
  4. Demonstrate tangible commitment to equity through large-scale book and resource distributions.
  5. Leverage First Book’s research and insights capabilities to inform your ongoing equity strategy

Partners for Early Learning Toolkit

AASA Early Childhood Learning Kit CoverChildren from historically under-served communities who lack access to quality early childhood education come to school years behind their peers, creating enormous disparities from the start. To promote educational equity from a child’s earliest years, First Book collaborated with the AASA: The School Superintendents Association and other field-leading partners to launch a first-of-its-kind, jointly produced Early Childhood and Learning Toolkit, outlining actionable strategies for superintendents and school districts to support the best early childhood education practices in their communities.

Launched collaboratively at the AASA National Conference on Education, the toolkit was developed by the AASA’s Early Learning Cohort with support from First Book, the National Head Start Association, the Buffet Early Childhood Institute, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, and other partners. It features research-based insights contributed by leading experts on seven distinct strategies, including promoting equity from the start, engaging families and communities early, and providing ongoing professional development for early educators.

Daniel A. Domenech, AASA Executive Director, said, “Educators must take steps to ensure bold strategies in early childhood education that will impact practices in the classroom, the community and all school levels. This toolkit was created to serve as the ‘go-to’ resource for district leaders to enact meaningful change to support and prepare their schools for success in early childhood education.”

In addition to our ongoing work to support educators in classrooms and programs, First Book is working with school superintendents and other district and education leaders on strategies and resources to advance equitable education for all children.


The Voice of the Educator
New First Book survey reveals educator priorities for ARP Funding

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act has designated $123 billion to support K-12 schools and billions more for childcare and educational programs, to improve equity for children and families in need.

As we head into a new school year, First Book surveyed its network of educators to identify their priorities for ARP funding to support learning and address community needs. With the most significant investment in our education system designated for improving equity, First Book’s recent report from Research & Insights highlights areas where educators serving Title I schools, and under-resourced programs need the most support. Read the full report.

Webinar: Understanding the ARP Study
Presented by Research & Insights

Click play in the frame to the left or watch our recent webinar on YouTube as it breaks down data and findings from our 2021 American Rescue Plan Funding survey. Learn about the top priority for educators and how it could impact low-income communities. The webinar covers our major takeaways and answers questions from participants as we continue to navigate the pandemic and support our Network.

Stories Made Possible By You

First Book provides educators with brand-new, high-quality books, educational resources, and other essentials needed to help kids learn. Thanks to the support of passionate education advocates, we currently reach millions of children every year and serve more than one out of every four classrooms and programs in need.

Watch the video to the left to learn more.