What You Need to Know About ESSA

– Hosted by Whiteboard Advisors


As 2017 unfolds, several states have already submitted their plans for ESSA and many more will soon follow. Aligning your district to these new requirements is not far behind – and now is the perfect time to begin preparing for these changes.

Our podcast series, “What You Need to Know About ESSA,” highlights key insights for planning your implementation of ESSA. And at just 5-10 minutes each, they can be listened to independently or all together – in the car or wherever best fits your schedule.

Each installment will highlight one or two essential elements of ESSA and how it affects you, in addition to key action steps to get a head start on implementation.


Episode 1: ESSA vs. NCLB – What’s Different?

In this first podcast, we explore the “old” world under NCLB and RTTT versus the new world to come under ESSA. Specifically:

  • Congress’s intent with the new law

  • Mandates versus process and outcomes accountability

  • Things that go away (e.g. AYP) and things that are new (e.g. non-academic indicator)

  • Translation of accountability from state to school districts


Episode 2: Key metrics – Equity, efficacy and evidence

Equity, efficacy, and evidence are keys to compliance—and also opportunities for innovation.

This installment will emphasize the key metrics by which implementation will be measured. Specifically:

  • The critical role of equity in the entirety of the reauthorization

  • New rules around EL and Special Education students

  • The importance of establishing a vision and then selecting evidence-based strategies

  • Evaluating evidence and measuring progress as part of continuous improvement


Episode 3: The focus on the whole child

School and district leaders will be responsible for making sure education programs serve the whole child.

This installment will emphasize the shift away from prescriptive mandates about core academics and toward higher expectations about ensuring all students are developing key skills for learning and for life. Specifically:

  • What might be meant by “whole child”

  • The state’s role in establishing an accountability indicator and the district’s role in translating that indicator into action

  • Incorporating attention to key indicators that help understand when students are off track and appropriate responses

  • Fiscal flexibility to better meet all students’ needs


Episode 4: Preparing teachers and leaders for the shift to ESSA

Teachers and school leaders will need to be prepared to look more broadly than mathematics and ELA.

This installment will emphasize the teaching shifts and teacher professional learning required to align with ESSA, and achieve a school district’s vision for education in the new era. Specifically:

  • The new definition of professional development

  • The importance of engaging and training educators

  • Building and maintaining strong supports for educators to deliver instruction and engage in supporting students beyond the classroom

  • Leveraging technology for learning—and for supporting teachers and leaders