Every Student Succeeds Act

West Warwick's Guide to ESSA

President Obama Signs the Every Student Succeeds Act

Purpose of Newsletter

The purpose of this newsletter is to keep all parties informed with the changes and how ESSA will impact our students, teachers, schools, and communities. Since the new law requires the development of a needs assessments to design interventions for schools that will involve community members and parents, the first step in the process is to understand the changes and provisions under the law. In this newsletter we will focus on Family & Community Engagement. Stay tuned for more information regarding a community needs assessment. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please let me know.

Full Implementation is expected for the 2017-2018 School Year


The most important thing to know is that the major requirements of districts and schools to engage parents and families are the same in the new law, including: The School District must offer programs and activities to involve parents and family members, and seek meaningful consultation with parents.

• Develop with parents a written parent and family engagement policy
• Build schools’ capacity to engage families
• Evaluate its family engagement policy and practices, with meaningful input

from families
• Involve families in the activities of Title I schools
• Reserve at least 1% of its Title I funds to support parent and family

engagement activities; involve parents in deciding how to use these funds.

Title I schools must:

  • Develop with parents a written policy, agreed on by parents, that describes

    how the school will carry out its required family engagement activities

  • Hold an annual meeting for families to explain the program and the rights of

    parents to be involved and offer other meetings, at flexible times

  • Involve parents in the planning, review and improvement of the Title I


  • Develop a school-parent compact that outlines how parents, students, and

    school staff will share the responsibility for improving student achievement, and that describes how parents and teachers will communicate.

    3. The school district and Title schools must build capacity for involvement:

  • Offer assistance to parents in understanding the education system and the

    state standards, and how to support their children’s achievement

  • Provide materials and training to help parents work with their children

  • Educate teachers and other school staff, including school leaders, in how to

    engage families effectively

  • Coordinate with other federal and state programs, including preschool


  • Give parents information in a format and language they can understand

  • Provide reasonable support that parents may request.

What's New?

  • Statewide Family Engagement Centers replace Parental Information Resource Centers (PIRCs) in the new legislation, with $10 million allocated; until PIRCs were defunded in 2011 they regularly received in the area of $40 million, but received no funds between 2012 and 2015.

  • Of the 1% of Title I funds mandated to fund family engagement, the school district now must send 90% of funds directly to the school; previously it was 95%

  • In many places the law uses the term “parent and family engagement” rather than parental involvement.

  • In the district policy, the district must establish its expectations and objectives for meaningful parent and family engagement.

  • Schools may establish a parent advisory board to represent families in developing and evaluating the school policy.

  • The district must carry out at least one of the following strategies to engage families effectively: professional development for school staff (and may include parents); home-based programs; information dissemination; collaboration with community organizations; and other related activities.

Differences between NCBL and ESSA

This law provides greater flexibility to states and districts to meet the needs of all students and acknowledging the essential role of family engagement to student achievement and meaningful school improvement efforts. The Every Student Succeeds Act contains family engagement provisions, including a Statewide Family Engagement Centers program that would provide states and districts with the capacity to support effective implementation and enhancement of family engagement policies and initiatives.

The law offers implementation of a community school model. Community Support for School Success program, authorizes at least 10 grants, if not more, annually for the Full-Service Community Schools program. Each new Full-Service Community School grant will provide a minimum of $75,000 each year (up to five years, with a possible two year extension) to help FSCS programs strengthen their network of social services that help students succeed in school.

A FSCS program must coordinate at least three of the existing pipeline services, listed below, when receiving a grant, as well as provide at least two additional pipeline services at two or more public elementary or secondary schools: Funding is set aside for grants to FSCS entities in rural areas Evaluations of the effectiveness of these grants will be monitored through the Director of the Institute of Education Sciences High-quality early childhood education programs High-quality school and out-of school time programs and strategies Support for a child’s transition to elementary school, from elementary school to middle school, from middle school to high school, and from high school into and through post-secondary education and into the workforce Family and community engagement and supports including engaging or supporting families at school or at home Activities that support workforce readiness including job training, internship opportunities and career counseling Social, health, nutrition and mental health services and supports Juvenile crime prevention and rehabilitation programs

ESSA explicitly encourages low-income districts to use Title I funds for integrated student supports and enhanced community partnerships.

The law also provides funding to support restorative practices, ongoing training on classroom management, school-based mental health services and trauma-informed care.


QUICK REVIEW OF THE EVERY STUDENT SUCCEEDS ACT (ESSA): WHAT’S IN IT FOR PARENTS? (n.d.). Retrieved February 05, 2016, from http://nafsce.org/

Policy News. (n.d.). Retrieved January 25, 2016, from http://www.communityschools.org/policy_advocacy/news.aspx

National PTA Supports Bipartisan Every Student Succeeds Act. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2016, from https://www.pta.org/newsevents/newsdetail.cfm?ItemNumber=4676

DSC Members from 3 States Testify at Dept. of Ed Public Meeting in Los Angeles on Priorities for New Every Student Succeeds Act. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2016, from http://www.dignityinschools.org/blog/dsc-members-3-states-testify-dept-ed-public-meeting-los-angeles-priorities-new-every-student-su

Links to NEA’s one-page on Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Families and Communities.

Articles and Blogs about ESSA