ESSA State Plans due April 3: amidst many requirements, SEAs and LEAs must provide effective ESSA compliant communications for parents, families, and communities



As deadlines approach for submission of State Plans under ESSA, the activities necessary to develop those plans are increasing. State Education Agencies (SEAs) are leaning into the details of their plans in preparation for submission to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for review and using recently issued guidance for support.

On November 29, 2016 USED issued three documents:

  1. A Dear Colleague Letter on ESSA State Plans,
  2. A State Template for ESSA Consolidated State Plans, and
  3. An Assurances Template

Plans 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:

  1. Long-Term Goals
  2. Consultation and Performance Management
  3. Academic Assessments
  4. Accountability, Support, and Improvement for Schools
  5. Supporting Excellent Educators
  6. 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’s ESSA Parent Notice Compliance Collection provides an essential tool that SEAs can include in their ESSA State Plans to ensure that their LEA’s communications with parents, families, and communities meet ESSA regulations with ease, and have the greatest potential to promote the desired engagement. 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 includes over 100 notices and forms, written following plain language guidelines, and translated into 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.


Creating a compliant parent communication strategy in multiple languages

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us at 425.977.2100, Option 3 or email at

Dr. David Holbrook

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, Federal Compliance and State Relationships with TransAct.