COVID Relief Funding for Schools: What You Need to Know to Improve Access to Education

Presented by: Randy LaRusso, M.Ed / Ruth Ziolkowski, OTR, M.B.A. / Katie McKay-Phillips

About the Webinar

In December, Congress authorized over $54 billion in K-12 education funding to help students recover from learning loss / the COVID slide . Much of this funding is focused on populations most affected by eLearning and blended learning—especially students with disabilities, at-risk populations, language needs, and other challenges.

How will you best use this funding to help your students?

In this webinar, special education leaders, Randy LaRusso and Ruth Ziolkowski, will share:


  • How COVID Education Relief (ESSER I & II) funds can be used to support students who have fallen behind (students with IEPs, ELL needs, etc.)
  • Which accessible technologies and resources should be considered to make a difference across learning environments
  • How to advocate for your students’ needs (draft a plan and share your “wish list”)
  • How to leverage ESSER funds to do the greatest good for your students

Don’t miss this opportunity to make a difference

About the Presenter

Randy LaRusso, M.Ed

has 42 years serving students, educators and parents in the area of special education. She has extensive experience training at the local, state and national levels  and taught at center schools, typical schools and at universities. Randy has served on two national grants funded through the US DOE in developing and sharing resources for students using alternate achievement standards.  Before joining the national stage as a consultant, Randy was the founding director of the Florida ACCESS Project.

Ruth Ziolkowski, OTR, M.B.A.

is President of Don Johnston Incorporated. Ruth is an Occupational Therapist, a national education leader and speaker. She has acted as liaison between the assessment consortia and Assistive Technology professionals. Ruth is an AEM Center Advisory Committee Member and on the Board of Directors for The Assistive Technology industry Association (ATIA). She has been a strong student advocate for more than 30 years. Most importantly, Ruth cares deeply about supporting kids who learn differently.

Katie McKay-Phillips

is part of the marketing team at Don Johnston, Inc. She has been in education for 7 years, coming to DJI from ASCD as the professional development coordinator for Northern Illinois at the state affiliate of ASCD. She holds a Masters degree in marketing and a bachelor’s degree in political science focusing on constitutional law and public policy.