DATE: June 23, 2017
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT:

Virginia Board of Education Seeks Public Comment on the Consolidated State Plan under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015


In December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) was signed into law. ESSA amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), and replaces the previous amendment, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). ESSA provides increased flexibility to states in developing and implementing, within federal guidelines, long term goals and interim measures of progress to identify schools for support and improvement.

Section 4(b) of ESSA granted the U.S. Department of Education (USED) the authority to provide for an orderly transition to, and implementation of, authorized programs under the new statute. Programmatic and fiscal components for federal programs operating under ESSA take effect on July 1, 2017; however, the accountability provisions were delayed until July 1, 2018. In March, 2017, USED released a revised Consolidated State Plan template, which addresses all federal programs under ESSA:

Virginia’s proposed Consolidated State Plan (PDF), which includes all of the federal program areas above, was accepted by the Board of Education for first review at the Board’s June 22, 2017 meeting. The proposed plan reflects the Board’s discussions and deliberations regarding the selection of indicators and the importance of incorporating the federal system as a subset of overall accountability in Virginia. In particular, the Board of Education Committee on School and Division Accountability heard presentations on the ESSA plan during the November 2016, April 2017, and May 2017, meetings.

The proposed Consolidated State Plan was also informed by stakeholder feedback provided by multiple groups and individuals. Approximately forty-five ESSA meetings across the state were hosted and/or attended by Department staff over the past year. Topical roundtable discussions were held on specific aspects of plan requirements, including: accountability provisions; provisions for English Learners; engaging families and communities; leadership preparation and professional development; teacher preparation, mentoring, and professional development; recruitment and retention of effective teachers and leaders; school improvement; and equitable services for private school students. During the fall of 2016, the Department conducted a survey seeking public feedback on the development of the plan; over 15,000 responses were received. Public comment has been continuously accepted through a dedicated ESSA email address (ESSA@doe.virginia.gov).

The Board continues to seek public comment on the proposed Plan, including during the public comment portion of board meetings. In addition, the Board will hold a series of public hearings in June, July and August to gather feedback from families, educators, and community members. Written comment may be submitted using the ESSA email address above or the mail address below:

Virginia Department of Education
ATTN: Lynn Sodat
P.O. Box 2120
Richmond, VA  23218-2120

The Consolidated State Plan must be submitted no later than September 18, 2017. Following submission, ESSA provides for a 120 day review by USED. A peer review process will be conducted to review Title I, Title III, and Title VII, with the remaining sections of the Consolidated State Plan to be reviewed by USED staff.  Pending USED approval of Virginia’s Consolidated State Plan, federal accountability determinations will be implemented for the 2018-2019 school year based on 2017-2018 assessment results.

Questions about the Consolidated State Plan should be directed to ESSA@doe.virginia.gov.

SRS/ls