What is the ESSER “Tell Your Story — Money Matters” campaign?

Several education associations and organizations are partnering to assist school districts and BOCES in a communication campaign related to the one-time federal stimulus dollars, commonly known as ESSER funds. The “Tell Your Story” campaign is designed to help districts/BOCES explain:

  • How your school district or BOCES is making a difference for your students by using the one-time federal stimulus funds,

  • How public education matters in your communities,

  • How the one-time federal funds will help your community recover from the pandemic

  • How you will be transparent with the outcomes of this one-time federal funding

The organizations supporting this campaign include: CASB, CASE, CBA, CEA, AFT, CSFP, Great Education Colorado, Colorado PTA, and Colorado Rural Schools Alliance.

Why is this campaign Important?

It is more important than ever to be proactive in our storytelling.

  • Why locally controlled public schools are so important 

  • Why local decisions and investments in education make a difference 

  • How our schools are a place where every child can learn, grow, thrive, and belong

When community members do not have relevant, first-hand knowledge, they will rely on the news, social media, gossip, and other methods to fill in the knowledge gap.

Rebuilding trust after the most complex time in education history is a top priority for the education community. Rebuilding bridges with internal and external communities is possible. It does, however, require courageous leadership and a strategic approach that views communications as a never-ending campaign, this is an iterative process. If you don’t tell your story, others will. This campaign is meant to provide the education community with the tools and resources to be successful in preparing your story and sharing it with the public.

Where can I find my district’s information?

Every district can find its ESSER Tell Your Story document on the Colorado School Finance Project website.

View all ESSER Tell Your Story documents
View ESSER Communication Strategies

How will your district meet the ESSER III community engagement requirement?

States and school districts are required to engage in meaningful stakeholder engagement, including engagement with students; families; Tribes (if applicable); civil rights organizations; superintendents and charter school leaders (if applicable); teachers, principals, and school staff; and stakeholders representing underserved student groups. 

The “Tell Your Story” campaign can assist you in these efforts.

It’s time to tell your story of how your district is making a difference by utilizing the one-time federal stimulus funds to meet students’ needs and how public education matters in your local community. Sharing how resources are spent and engaging with stakeholders throughout this process will help explain how schools are providing essential services that benefit our entire community. 

It is more important than ever to be proactive in your storytelling about why locally controlled public schools are so important — and why money matters when it comes to making our schools a place where all children can learn, grow, thrive, and belong. 

What can you do to engage others?

Local Boards of Education and
School Administration

  • Use the Tell Your Story document to track key funding and demographic stats for your district

  • Share information with your stakeholders at Board meetings, when in individual meetings, and on social media

  • Use the Tell Your Story document to engage your DAC and other Board committees

  • Post the Tell Your Story document on the website and on social media


  • Encourage your local professional associations to share the Tell Your Story document with their members 

  • Encourage teachers to weigh in on priorities

  • Use the Tell Your Story document to engage your friends and neighbors

  • Present the Tell Your Story document at community meetings you regularly attend.

Students, Parents, Civic Leaders, and Civil Rights Organizations

  • Use the Tell Your Story document to engage others (such as in PTA or parent teacher organization meetings and newsletters)

  • Add updates to meeting agendas to discuss how one-time federal stimulus dollars are serving the community 

State Policymakers & Stakeholders

  • Meet with public school boards and leaders to understand how one-time federal resources are being utilized to serve your constituents

  • Use the Tell Your Story document to share with constituents to explain how students and community members are being served