As deadlines approach for submission of State Plans under ESSA, the activities necessary to develop those plans are increasing. State Education Agencies (SEAs) are fleshing out the details of their plans in preparation for submission to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for review.
On November 29, 2016 USED issued three documents:
- A Dear Colleague Letter on ESSA State Plans,
- A State Template for ESSA Consolidated State Plans, and
- An Assurances Template that must be completed and submitted to USED by April 3, 2017.
In addition, this month (January 6, 2017) USED published the ESSA Consolidated State Plan Guidance, which is intended to help guide SEAs in the development of ESSA State Plans and also help the Peer Reviewers who will be reviewing ESSA State Plans. All four of these documents are available on USED’s ESSA page.
Both the Guidance and the State Plan Template are broken up into six sections:
- Long-Term Goals
- Consultation and Performance Management
- Academic Assessments
- Accountability, Support, and Improvement for Schools
- Supporting Excellent Educators
- Supporting All Students
The vast majority of these sections focus on SEA requirements. Section 6, however, addresses Supporting All Students and includes guidance and information on activities “to support strategies to support LEAs [Local Education Agencies, i.e. school districts] to engage parents, families, and communities” (State Template - Section 6.1, Question E, page 23). This section of the guidance and template includes mention of the allowable use ESSA funds for these types of engagement activities. This includes providing parental notices “to the extent practicable, written in a language that parents can understand.”
TransACT has been a compliance partner for SEAs and LEAs for over 20 years, providing tools that help SEAs and LEAs meet federal parent and family communication requirements. TransACT’s ESSA Compliance Collection provides one essential tool that SEAs can include in their ESSA State Plans to ensure that their LEA’s ESSA communications with parents, families, and communities have the greatest potential to promote the desired engagement. TransACT’s ESSA Compliance Collection includes over 100 notices and forms, written following plain language guidelines, and translated into 10+ priority languages.
Now is the time for SEAs to have a plan in place to ensure that their LEAs have the resources necessary to provide effective ESSA communications for parents, families, and communities. Including TransACT’s ESSA Compliance Collection as part of an ESSA State Plan does just that.
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