School-to-Parent Notification Tools Achieve ESSA Compliance & Parent Engagement

     

As the United States seeks to enforce more competitive academic standards while continuing to increase populations who speak English as a Second Language, the way educators and communities interact to support students is rapidly changing. As of December 2015, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has come to a close, and the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA)—the most recent reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—will take its place during the 2017-2018 school year.

While transition is nothing new in this space, this particular transition is causing uncertainty as educational professionals face complete redefinition of their standards and outcomes, and redefined roles of federal, state and local education agencies. Across the country, educators and leaders are awaiting forthcoming guidance on federal and state guidelines to reevaluate their current strategies in anticipation of the transition ahead. Despite this uncertainty, parent communication in their native language will certainly remain a central part of the new legislation.

For many states and districts, the shifting laws have spurred greater awareness of legal standards and federal compliance issues, and along with that, questions about how to achieve internal accountability. Many districts will choose proactive accountability processes — especially those that have received compliance findings and resulting corrective action requirements. Those interested in reducing cost and risk while empowering staff with tools to engage parents may choose to invest in subscription with a compliance partner like TransACT®.  

Implementing a compliance plan

With more than two decades of experience, TransACT® creates industry-leading tools for K-12 school districts to manage federal compliance, state accountability, and parent communications.

Specifically, TransACT® Parent Notices provides standard and customizable communications in all languages, as well as guidance on usage to all staff in a state or district to reduce cost and enable ESSA, Civil Rights Act and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act compliance.

TransACT provides states, districts, and individual schools with an online subscription library of 21+ languages and 300+ communications, all updated to reflect shifting federal guidance, in addition to any customized communication or language need.

What to expect

When you partner with TransACT to setup a parent notices subscription in your state, district, or school you can expect the following to help you get the optimal benefit from your subscription.  Here’s what a district can expect:

  • Welcome meeting. The dedicated team at TransACT® sets up a welcome meeting to introduce the TransACT® account manager. Then, the account manager introduces the TransACT tool and resource team, reviews the timelines for implementation, and aligns with the state, district, or school on current practices and unique needs.
  • Advanced user training. TransACT® provides training sessions for the school/district account leader to familiarize them with best practices, login instructions, and guidance on accessing administrative features.
  • Improved accessibility. TransACT® trainers provide best practices to roll-out the subscription to all staff along including annual training, resources, and guidance on posting links to the subscription for broad adoption by all impacted staff.
  • Regular check-ins. After the welcome call, advanced training, basic user training, and user set-up, the account manager reaches out every 90 days for a general check-in, to update any new personnel, and to conduct webinars or Q&As as needed.

Keys to successful implementation

While the process varies slightly from state to state or district to district, there are three key elements that make for a successful district-wide implementation. TransACT works with your term to ensure ongoing alignment on:

  • Training: On-going district-wide training and awareness
  • Awareness: Collaboration and creation of a customized "awareness and implementation" plan to make sure all users know that they have access and how to use the subscription
  • Ongoing engagement: TransACT will work with your team to provide updates on federal guidance, product usage tips, and information on product enhancement and collection updates

That said, success is more than just a one-time implementation. District leaders work over time to plan the best ways to communicate this resource to their entire network, taking into account any staff turnover, relevant points of the school year, and general ongoing awareness. Effective forms of communication could include emails to the district or to stakeholders, fliers, login updates, and presence at professional development events.

Engagement. While a TransACT Parent Notice subscription has very high usage in the first several years, the most effective way to ensure a positive outcome over an extended period is for all levels of the district to be engaged and committed to the ongoing use of a parent notification system. If a state or district purchases a collection for a particular strategy, it is not uncommon that districts or schools within the larger entity remain unaware of that resource.

Working with your TransACT® account manager to release the subscription and provide resources to schools and districts is an important part of ensuring students and parents are receiving top-quality communication. Quarterly check-in calls with account managers give state or district leaders a forum to discuss engagement and resources for communicating with their staff.

Communication.  When there’s support from state or district leadership, that commitment trickles down to district level administrators and faculty as well. TransACT® comes with unlimited licenses and robust support, so awareness at every level of an educational agency can be the most powerful aspect of implementation and long term beneficial usage. For example, some districts have provided logins at beginning-of-the-year conferences or in resources packets, and have required usage training at teacher certification meetings. This enables teachers and every-day users to see how easy it is to logon and access their frequent school-to-home notifications.

Funding. TransACT can assist buyers with data and breakdown of costs to support Title and other funding requirements. Our team of former federal program directors and administrators have extensive budgeting experience should you need further support.

TransAct provides comprehensive partnership to school districts nationwide to assist them in navigating the uncertainty of ESSA. TransACT takes pride in its opportunity and responsibility to share best practices, offer technological solutions, and support school districts in their goals toward educational excellence.

Learn more about the communication and compliance resources available at TransACT®.

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About The Author

Dr. David Holbrook is a nationally recognized leader in federal programs administration and monitoring with expertise in Title I,Title III,Native American Education, and Federal Programs. Dr. Holbrook has also worked as a consultant with Title III of the US Department of Education and now serves as Executive Director of Federal Programs for TransACT.