Posted: March, 18, 2016 - 9:39am
Every Student Succeeds
On December 10, 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (“ESSA”) was signed by the President. The ESSA is the most recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), the best known reiteration of which was the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). While the ESSA maintains a number of the hallmarks of NCLB, the law also includes a number of significant changes, many of which are centered on reducing the role of the Federal Government in public education and shifting more power to the states. Below is a summary of some of the more significant changes in the ESSA. In addition, the National School Board Association prepared a summary of the law, which you can find here. The White House published a report on the reauthorized law in December, which is available here. The Department of Education has issued two Dear Colleague Letters (December 18, 2016; January 28, 2016) regarding transition from NCLB to the ESSA.
•Transition & Implementation: While the ESSA went into effect on December 10, 2015, transition will occur over the next several years. Upcoming key implementation dates include:
-New state plans pursuant to ESSA will take effect beginning with the 2017-2018 school year. Existing state plans will be in effect through August 1, 2016.
-Existing waivers to states (including Illinois) granted through ESEA flexibility terminate on August 1, 2016. After the waivers end, states must continue supporting their lowest-performing schools (i.e., “priority schools”) and schools with big achievement gaps (i.e., “focus schools”) until states’ new ESSA plans take effect.
•Testing: Annual, statewide assessments in reading and math in grades three through eight and once in high school, as well as science assessments at least once during grades three to five, grades six to nine, and grades 10 to 12, are still required under the ESSA. States have flexibility to develop and implement innovative assessments so long as they meet certain technical standards. State assessment systems will continue to be peer-reviewed.
•Accountability: One of the biggest changes under the ESSA is that the “adequate yearly progress” federal accountability system has been replaced. Instead, states must develop their own system, which must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for the 2017-2018 school year. The state plans must include long-term goals and measures of interim progress for all students and separately for each subgroup of students. Generally, the goals must address improved academic achievement based on proficiency on tests, English language learner proficiency, and graduation rates. The ESSA identifies “indicators” for elementary, middle schools and high schools that must be part of states’ accountability systems. It will be up to states to decide how much “weight” to assign to the indicators for accountability. In addition, annual reporting of data for all students and disaggregated by subgroups will continue to be required under the ESSA.
•School Improvement & Interventions: The ESSA also replaces the NCLB one-size-fits-all sanctions and interventions aimed at school improvement. In its place, states must develop a system for identifying and providing support and interventions for schools in need of improvement. States must identify and intervene in low performing schools, including those that are in the bottom 5% of performers with high school graduation rates below 67%, and where subgroups of students are struggling. Schools identified for improvement must develop a school improvement plan in collaboration with community stakeholders, and the plan is to be approved, monitored, and reviewed by the school, school district, and state department of education.
•Academic Standards: Under the ESSA, states retain the power to choose their own academic standards. The U.S. Department of Education cannot mandate or incentivize states to adopt any specific set of standards, including the Common Core.
•Subgroups: The ESSA increases accountability for all students and makes changes for certain subgroups. Under the ESSA, accountability for English language learners is moved from a separate system in Title III (English language acquisition section) to Title I (accountability section for all students). The reason for this is to ensure that students who are learning English are a priority. The ESSA also sets forth options for how English language learners’ test scores are included as part of a state’s accountability system. In addition, the ESSA establishes a state-level participation cap that only 1% of students overall can be given alternate assessments.
•Highly Qualified Teachers: The NCLB highly qualified teacher requirements have been eliminated. In addition, in the ESSA, there are not mandated teacher evaluation requirements. That is, teacher evaluations are no longer tied to student test scores, which marks a big change from NCLB wavier requirements. This overview is intended only to highlight some of the key changes in the ESSA. There is much work to be done by states, especially as the 2016-2017 school year will be a big transition year.
Yours in Education,
Source: (HLERK.com, 2/16)
Posted: September, 7, 2017 - 3:07pm
U.S. Department of Education approves Illinois ESSA Plan
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - The Illinois Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Plan has been approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
Illinois State Board of Education officials say the state’s ESSA Plan incorporates feedback gathered from thousands of online comments and 100 in-person forums and meetings. Under the Illinois ESSA Plan, multiple indicators of school quality and student growth will be collected and examined, and will be used to help schools perform better under a plan that specifically meets their unique needs.
Additionally, the Illinois ESSA Plan…
Posted: August, 9, 2017 - 11:44am
Welcome Back and While You Were Away
Let me be the first to say welcome back, we are honored and happy to serve you and our communities!
I would like to welcome the incoming Freshman Class of 2021! We also welcome our upperclassman and anyone new to Community High School District 117; we truly look forward to ensuring that every student is offered the opportunity to grow and learn in a positive, safe, and engaging environment. Our dedicated and talented staff strives to realize our mission of Igniting the Passion and Discovery of Every Student. We are very proud of our unwavering commitment to student growth…
Posted: August, 7, 2017 - 4:55pm
State Funding for Schools
I want to provide residents of Community High School District 117 information regarding state funding for schools in Illinois for the 2017-18 school year as you may be familiar with this issue through the news media and other sources.
Due to the inequality associated with the current Illinois school funding formula and its significant adverse consequences particularly to school districts with the greatest economic need, the legislature has developed a new funding formula designed with evidence based criteria to equitably support state funding for schools. To date, the legislators…
Posted: May, 31, 2017 - 11:36am
EVERY STUDENT SUCEEDS ACT (ESSA)
ISBE submitted the ESSA State Plan for Illinois to the U.S. Department of Education (ED) on April 1, 2017. On April 10, 2017, ED identified a section of the plan that it considered incomplete. This section included measurements of interim progress for academic attainment, graduation rate, and English Learner proficiency. In the plan submitted on April 1, 2017, ISBE stated that it intends to develop measurements of interim progress based on three-year baseline data and that this data is currently unavailable due to not having three years of data from which to determine a baseline…
Posted: April, 24, 2017 - 10:43am
State Budget Impasse
There is an effort statewide by many in a variety of public and private sectors including educators currently encouraging our state legislators to formulate and pass a responsible and responsive state budget. Below, are some of the consequences and concerns shared by many as a result of the current budget impasse.
All areas of society, including Illinois public school students, have suffered the consequences of Illinois’ financial problems over the past couple decades. For nearly the past two years, Illinois has operated with just a partial budget for education and “stopgap”or band-aid…
Posted: January, 5, 2017 - 11:51am
Community High School District 117 asks the voters at the April 4th Election
The Board of Education passed a resolution (December 8, 2016) that places a question on the ballot of the April 4th, 2017 election. The question asks voters of the District whether all Board Members should be elected At-Large. District residents will have the opportunity to cast their vote regarding this question at the Tuesday; April 4th, 2017 consolidated election.
The reason for the question stems from the current difficulty in sustaining representation from the unincorporated areas of the District. Since at least 1965, it has been required that the unincorporated…
Posted: November, 28, 2016 - 1:59pm
Positive Power of Our Schools
The holiday season should be a positive, sentimental and enduring time filled with family gatherings and friendship. Unfortunately, too often, this idyllic time is not enjoyed by our students or families but rather represents a time of struggle both financially and emotionally. Compounded with the unprecedented negative rhetoric of recent political campaigns and the ongoing pockets of civil unrest, in our country, our students may be even more vulnerable.
That is why it is critically important to reaffirm the strength and positive power of our schools. Community High…
Posted: September, 30, 2016 - 12:00am
Far Too Common!
On September 29th, the national evening news reported once again on a tragic school shooting at Townville Elementary School in South Carolina. The threats of violence in schools and society are becoming far too common and sadly, in my opinion, creating a new “normal”. While Community High School District 117 encounters threatening situations occasionally, it never becomes easier for parents, students, staff or our greater community to accept. These threats of violence are senseless and require immeasurable resources on the part of our schools and communities. We take these…