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Resources for ESSA

Tools and Insights to Help You Plan Effectively

By Heath Morrison, McGraw-Hill Education Business Unit President, K-12

With the 2017–2018 school year approaching, it’s time to start gearing up for ESSA implementation. With ESSA, as with all legislation, there are many moving parts to consider. We’re also still waiting on key information regarding plans and assessment. Many states have yet to submit their plans for approval, and those plans that have been submitted are under review by the U.S. Department of Education. But we do know enough about the major changes accompanying ESSA to predict how our schools might shift in function, objective, and outcomes under the new law. Of course, no matter what we know and what we’re still waiting to learn, change is always difficult. It often carries uncertainty and discomfort. However, as educators, we know that without discomfort, we can’t expect to see any growth in our students, our schools, and ourselves.

In order to empower you to confidently embrace any changes and continue your growth through the discomfort, we’ve been outlining exactly what you need to know in the months leading up to ESSA implementation. We examined the law’s implications through the lens of the state, combing through what you can expect your state to address in their plan. We then focused our attention inward, towards individual teaching and learning environments, by discussing five key components of ESSA that you will need to prepare for as a district.

At this point in the preparation process, it’s time to gather resources. Below are a few tools that I depend on, and that I believe could play an important role in your district’s ESSA preparation and implementation:

Future Ready Schools ® (FRS) Interactive Planning Dashboard

Future Ready Schools is a planning and resource hub for personalized, digital learning that helps district leaders effectively plan and implement research-based digital learning strategies. Their Digital Dashboard is a comprehensive tool designed to guide districts through a thorough, informed planning process before they actually purchase education technology for their classrooms. With ESSA’s emphasis on personalized learning, Future Ready Schools’ Dashboard could serve as the perfect tool to drive your district to optimal curricular decisions. The Dashboard is well-suited for the new legislation: the U.S. Department of Education named it the only non USDOE suggested readiness assessment for ESSA’s Title IV funding. Learn more about the Dashboard by clicking on its 5-step process:

The 5 Steps of the Interactive Digital Dashboard

“Understanding ESSA” Interactive Map

Sponsored by The Collaborative for Student Success, “Understanding ESSA” offers an interactive map, where users can click on a state to learn about its ESSA implementation status and any commentary the state might have issued. It’s an excellent way to keep pace with your state’s plans and ESSA news. “Understanding ESSA” also offers current federal news on ESSA — stories are divided by those coming from Congress and those stemming from the Department of Education — a timeline of important dates, and a variety of other easy-to-navigate resources.

Additional Resources:

Heath Morrison serves as Business Unit President, K-12, for McGraw-Hill Education. Previously, Heath served as Senior Vice President of Government Affairs for McGraw-Hill Education, and as an educator. In 2012, Heath was named AASA’s National Superintendent of the Year for his work in the Washoe County School District in Reno, Nevada. He was also named Nevada Superintendent of the Year in 2011. Heath most recently served as superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Heath began his career as a social studies teacher in Virginia and Maryland and quickly moved into administration, becoming principal of both a middle and high school as well as a community superintendent in Montgomery County, Maryland. He holds a Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Planning and a Masters of Educational Administration from the University of Maryland. Heath graduated with a bachelor’s degree in government from the College of William and Mary.


Mesecar, Doug. “Voice from the Industry: ESSA and Its Impact on Personalized Learning.” EdNet Insight. MDR, 31 Mar. 2017. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.

“The Every Student Succeeds Act: Impacts of the New Law.” NASP Online. National Association of School Psychologists, n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2017.



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