Thursday, December 22, 2016

ESSA and New York State


Now that you know a little more about ESSA, you may be wondering what this means for New York.  All of the states have been tasked with creating a state accountability plan that needs to be submitted to USDE on either April 3 or September 18, 2017.   States must address the following areas:
·            Standards and assessments
·            Student and School Achievement Indicators
·            School Identification
·            School Improvement Plans

Because of the late date, most funding for this 2016-2017 school year will be administered following the NCLB guidelines.  There are many steps involved with submitting the state plan, that include making sure all stakeholders- the public, the governor as well as the Board of Regents- have sufficient time to comment on the draft plan, make necessary changes and resubmit.  

Tentative Timeline:
·            December- NYSED will present High Concept Ideas to Board of Regents
·            Jan- February- Public engagement through field surveys and regional meetings
·            May 8-9- NYSED presents draft plan to Board of Regents
·            May 10- June 9- Public comment on the Draft Plan, including open regional meetings (March 20-April 7)
·            July- NYSED presents plan with changes to Board of Regents
·            July- submit plan to Governor
·            September- Final approval by Board of Regents
·            September 18- Submit State Plan to USDE


In order to maximize stakeholder feedback, NYSED has created a think tank that includes representation from over 100 different groups across the state. These groups represent teachers, parents, counselors, districts and so many others that are having an impact in student lives.

The New York State Education Think tank
·            Ensures stakeholder input
·            Helps review the new requirements and opportunities
·            Provides recommendations. 

Topics that are being addressed include
·            Characteristics of a Highly Effective School
·            Guiding Principles
·            High Concept Ideas
·            State Accountability Plan

The Think Tank meets every month (on our snow day in December- yikes!), as both a large group and divided into six subgroups.  These subgroups are:
·            Accountability Measurements and Methodology
·            Challenging Academic Standards and Academic Assessments
·            Supporting Excellent Educators
·            Supporting English learners (EL)
·            Support and Improvements for Schools
·            Supporting All Students

I have been assigned to the Support and Improvements for Schools and we have been spending a lot of time looking at what will, in the future, make a school a “priority” or “focus” and what their action plans may look like. 

Within the large group, we have been assessing 36 High Concept Ideas and if they should remain, be removed or be modified.

It is all so interesting and I am learning so much through this whole process!  If you have any questions or comments, please let me know!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Introduction of ESSA

My name is Penny Sweeney and I am currently an elementary librarian in the Liverpool Central School District (LCSD).  I am also President-Elect of the New York State Librarians Association/Section of School Librarians (NYLA/SSL).  Through my work with NYLA/SSL, I was fortunate enough to be invited to participate in the New York State ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) Think Tank.  I am excited to use this knowledge to help LCSD stakeholders understand and navigate this new law. I will be using this blog to share information about what ESSA is, what the purpose of the Think Tank is, areas the Think Tank is working on and how stakeholders can contribute to the process.

Let's begin with an overview of what ESSA is.


ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act) is the reauthorization of ESEA (Elementary and Secondary Education Act). ESEA was enacted in 1965 by President Johnson and was originally a civil rights law designed to increase equity in education. The law focused on closing socio-economic gaps. No Child Left Behind became the new Education law in 2002, and focused on identifying gaps in student education. Eventually it became clear the NCLB was not meeting the needs of US students, so in 2010, lawmakers began to craft a new education law.  The resulting law is ESSA, passed in December 2015.  The state of New York receives  $1.6 billion from this law.  Funding within ESSA addresses many different areas such as:

  • School-wide programs
  • Targeted assistance schools
  • State assessment grants
  • Coverage for specific students (migratory, at-risk, English Language Learners, immigrants, Native Americans, and homeless)
  • Professional training and development of pre-service teacher, teachers, principals and other school leaders
  • Programs such as 21st Century Schools, Charter Schools, Magnet Schools, Family Engagement, Education Innovation and Research, Promise Neighborhoods, School Safety, and Academic Enrichment

Key pieces of the new law include:

  • Accountability plans, goals and systems
  • Low-performing schools- identify and address interventions
  • Testing requirements
  • Standards
  • English Language Learners
  • Programs (Block grants, pre-school)
  • Weighted student funding
  • Teacher and school leader development

 The law takes effect in the 2017-2018 school year, and 2016-2017 is being spent preparing and understanding the changes. This new law is meant to be more flexible for both schools and states in how to best address the needs of students, with less influence from the federal government. It is important that there is consensus in interpreting the law, and so the federal government has released 3 Notices of Proposed Rulemaking Guidances, asking for feedback from the public (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Guidance).  These guidelines include
  • Accountability, State Plans and Data Reporting.  
  • Title I, Parts A and B.
  • Supplement, Not Supplant 

 New York has responded to these here:  New York State Ed's response to these rulemaking guidelines.

This gives a brief overview of what ESSA is, and where the nation currently is with it.  My next entry will be sharing how New York State has created a Think Tank of stakeholders to address the issues, concerns and development of the state plan in regards to ESSA.

Sources of information: