ESSA Implementation: What’s Next?

A student plays with an airplane at New Market Preschool

Since we submitted our ESSA Consolidated Plan in September 2017, we’ve been hard at work preparing to implement the plan. We are proud of the plan, a collaborative effort from parents and families, teachers, superintendents, tribes, education organizations, OSPI staff, and members of the legislature. More than 250 members of the education community worked for over two years to develop the plan, receiving feedback from hundreds more Washingtonians.

As we move from our drafting period into implementation, we want to make sure we keep the four overarching goals of ESSA in mind. First, we are emphasizing equity. Every student deserves the opportunity to finish school ready for post-secondary aspirations, career, and life. Second, we are facilitating an environment of continuous improvement in schools. Our goal is to provide data as a guide to school districts, and allow them to make evidence-informed decisions about what will be most impactful to students in their schools.

Third, we want to provide a complete support system, with access to effective educators and school leadership to all of our students. Attracting and retaining high-quality teachers and principals is one of the key efforts in our plan. Finally, we want to encourage innovation and leadership in the service of students in each and every school, regardless of identification. We want to help break down funding silos, so state and federal programs can be blended and braided to effectively serve students.

Moving forward with implementation, the next step will be to use our statewide ESSA Index to identify the schools that need improvement. We will release this information to the public during the week of March 12, 2018, and our Office of System and School Improvement (OSSI) will work with schools and districts as they plan supports for struggling students moving forward. Some schools will find that they are facing opportunity gaps in only a few areas, while others will look to affect change on a larger scale. Our goal is for the ESSA Index to point schools in the right direction, and for schools to then use insights from the Index as well as their own data to dig deeper and develop programs that will make a true difference for their students.

We are excited about the possibilities this plan presents for our students and teachers. To find out more, please visit our ESSA webpage.