Uinta County School District #1

May 2018-Weekly Newsletter, Vol. 22

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ESSA: An Opportunity for American Education


In December 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to offer the possibility of a new direction for school reform in the United States.

In a thinly disguised rebuke of former secretary of education Arne Duncan, one of the major changes under the law is a reduction of the influence any secretary of education may have on policy. The secretary is expressly prohibited from:

  • influencing the adoption of any particular standards;
  • impacting the nature of assessments;
  • prescribing any aspect of the accountability system;
  • advocating for specific school supports or improvement strategies; and
  • prescribing any aspect of educator evaluation systems of measures of effectiveness.

All of these areas are to be left to each state to resolve.


  • Under ESSA, states are required to provide assurance that they have adopted academic content standards in reading, mathematics, and science.
  • Annual testing in reading and mathematics continues to be required for all students in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school.
  • Schools must continue to report student achievement by subgroup and to issue an annual state report card that includes student achievement on the state’s tests and its high school graduation rates, as well as explanations of the state’s accountability system, the number and names of schools that require comprehensive support, the number and percentage of English learners achieving English-language proficiency, discipline data, and the number and percentage of teachers with provisional credentials and teachers teaching subjects for which they are not certified.
  • Schools must use at least three academic indicators, such as student proficiency on state tests, student growth on state tests, and English language proficiency. At the high school level, schools must also include graduation rates.
  • Once every three years, states are to identify schools for comprehensive district support. These schools must include at least the lowest 5 percent of Title I schools, high schools with graduation rates of less than 67 percent, and schools with one or more low-performing subgroups among the lowest 5 percent of all Title I schools. If the district is unable to help underperforming schools meet the state’s improvement criteria within four years, states are required to implement “more rigorous actions.”
  • NCLB’s mandate that classrooms be staffed with “highly qualified teachers” has been replaced by a provision that all teachers working in programs supported by Title I-A funds must meet their state’s certification and licensure requirements and that poor and minority students in schools receiving the funds are not taught by ineffective teachers at higher rates than other children.


  • They may create standards in other subject areas as well.
  • States can, however, opt to administer shorter interim assessments throughout the year that result in a single score rather than one comprehensive test.
  • They can also opt to substitute the SAT or ACT for their high school state achievement test. States continue to be required to administer a science test once in grades 3 through 5, once in grades 6 through 8, and once in high school.
  • The requirements for 100 percent proficiency and adequate yearly progress have been eliminated. States are free to set their own long-term student achievement goals with measurements of interim progress. A single test will no longer determine if a school is failing.
  • States can also include other factors such as student engagement, faculty engagement, school climate/safety, access to and completion of advanced coursework, post-secondary readiness, or whatever else the state feels is significant. No longer will schools be labeled as failing if they miss a single target for a single group of students. States can take a more holistic look to determine whether schools are succeeding or failing.
  • The controversial RTTT stipulation that teacher evaluation include evidence of student growth on a standardized achievement test will cease to exist, although states may elect to make it part of their teacher-evaluation process.

“States must give the majority of the weight of their accountability

systems to academic indicators, but they are now free to determine what

consequences, if any, should result from poor performance.”

-2016 Solution Tree Press, Compiled by, Dr. Rick DuFour


1st-Marinda Pedroza

2nd-Bart Lyman, Stacie Sheets

3rd-Sherry Harris

4th-Stephanie Debenham, Brittney Curry, Monica Benfield, Shadd Johnstone

5th-Annette Swayze


UCSD#1 Administration

Ryan Thomas, Superintendent Ext.1020

Cheri Dunford, Supt., Board Exec. Assistant Ext. 1021

Dr. Joseph Ingalls, Assistant Superintendent K-5 Ext. 1026

Doug Rigby, Assistant Superintendent 6-12 Ext. 1025

Alicia Johnson, Instructional Services Admin. Asst. Ext. 1024

Kristine Hayduk, Human Resources Ext. 1023

Matt Williams, SPED Director Ext. 1040

Shannon Arellanes, SPED Admin. Asst. Ext. 1041

Bubba O'Neill, Activities Director Ext. 1060

Dauna Bruce, Activities Admin. Asst. Ext. 1061

John Williams, Business Director, Ext. 1030

Jaraun Dennis, Facilities Director, Ext. 1075