The Council of Great City Schools 2017 District Operations Performance Measurement and Benchmarking Report from Fiscal Year 2015-16 is now live! Download here

U.S. Department of Education releases guidance around the new 'Block Grant'

By Dr. David Holbrook | November 21, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) released guidance for the new ‘Block Grant’ for Well-Rounded Education in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The ‘Block Grant’ is found in Title IV, Part A of the ESSA and provides funding for a variety of programs.

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3 Steps to Optimizing Compliance with TransACT® Parent Notifications

By Dr. David Holbrook | November 15, 2016

When it comes to creating a state or school district communication strategy, it is equally as important to balance federal compliance with the ability to authentically reach out to parents of diverse home languages about their students. While many districts struggle to keep pace with legal requirements and the ability to sit down and provide clear school-to-home communications in plain language, TransACT® provides relief by providing states and districts with district-wide solutions that encompass unique strategies, specialized systems, and helpful customization depending on what the district needs most.

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

By Dr. David Holbrook | October 26, 2016

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.

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Strategies for Achieving Efficient and Effective Parent Communications

By Dr. David Holbrook | October 21, 2016

Running a school district is not without challenges. In addition to the standard dynamics of running a large organization, administrators have the responsibility of communicating across diverse languages to promote student engagement and retention, all while remaining compliant with civil rights and federal education laws.

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WIDA panel on English Learner (EL) programs & ESSA: opportunity, challenges & concerns

By Alyssa Thornley | October 20, 2016

On Thursday, October 13th 2016, TransACT’s Director of Federal Programs, Dr. David Holbrook, joined a WIDA panel discussing the opportunities and challenges of ESSA implementation. The panel was moderated by Jesse Markow, Chief Strategy Officer at WIDA, and included Dr. Gary Cook, Research Scientist at WIDA, and Kenneth Bond, WIDA Executive Committee Member and ESL/Bilingual Program Coordinator at the New Jersey Department of Education. 

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ESSA: Oct. 1 deadline for McKinney-Vento related parent notices. TransACT adds new documents and adopts “plain language” notices to enhance parent engagement.

By Dr. David Holbrook | October 18, 2016

The 2016-2017 school year is a transition year between the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which goes into full effect in 2017-2018. The first implementation deadline was October 1, 2016, and it related to communication regarding students and families experiencing homelessness. To prepare districts for the new laws, TransACT has created new documents, and made a significant change to their existing collection. 

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Highly Qualified Status Notifications under the transition to ESSA: No longer enforced for teachers; still required for paraprofessionals

By Dr. David Holbrook | October 18, 2016

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) indicated that they will not enforce most of the requirements related to highly qualified staff in a recently released guidance document. While verification and notifications of highly qualified staff will not be enforced, verification of some staff members is still required in certain cases. 

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Landmark legislation passed, agreements made, and guidance issued for American Indian and Alaska Native Tribal Groups

By Dr. David Holbrook | October 18, 2016

An important theme in the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the inclusion of parents and community members in the development of state standards and accountability. As the government and states shift focus towards inclusivity and local control, September and October included important landmarks in education for Native American groups in the U.S.

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Sign up for the national webinar on ESSA, Title III, hosted by NCSTIIID

By Dr. David Holbrook | October 6, 2016

The National Council of State Title III Directors (NCSTIIID) is hosting its fall webinar on October 18, 2016. The focus of the webinar will be English learner (EL) issues connected with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and specifically the recently released non-regulatory guidance on English learners and Title III from the U.S. Department of Education (USED). 

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4 Ways to Support Student Success Initiatives by Bridging the Gap between School and Home

By Dr. David Holbrook | September 29, 2016

The gold standard of a successful educational environment is one in which parents and teachers work towards aligned goals, the students have the latest technology at their fingertips both at school and at home, and communication between parties is welcomed and encouraged.

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