ESSA Toolkit

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires your engagement as an education stakeholder as states develop legislation to meet the law’s requirements. Since many legislators have limited background in education, it is important that you as a school leader ensure your voice is heard. The ESSA Toolkit for Principals empowers you to advocate on behalf of your school and students and provides you with the necessary tools. The toolkit will help you:

  • Understand what the ESSA title requirements are and inform your recommendations. The toolkit includes fact sheets to help you get up to speed.
  • Make a connection with your legislator to break the ice. Do your research about them.
  • Plan your key talking points and what your “ask” is, to help you stay on track during your meeting. Use the communication kit to help you craft your message.
  • Share photos via social media from your meeting and highlight your discussion. Remember to “tag” the legislator. The toolkit has sample social media posts and how to use the different platforms.

The 2017 NASSP Advocacy Conference

Would you like to speak with federal government officials about what is important to you and your school? Then join us April 24-26 for the 2017 NASSP Advocacy Conference. The conference brings together state coordinators, presidents-elect, state executive directors, state lobbyists, and members of the Federal Grassroots Network (FGN) to advocate on behalf of the nation’s school principals. Speaking in a unified voice delivers a powerful message that great school leaders are vital to the success of each student.

The conference program consists of:

  • Panel discussions with representatives from other national education associations, congressional staff members, and officials from the U.S. Department of Education (ED) or the White House
  • A briefing on the latest news in Congress and NASSP’s legislative agenda
  • A day on Capitol Hill attending meetings with principals’ respective members of Congress and their staff

You will also have ample opportunity to network with principals and education policy experts from across the country.

There is no registration fee to attend, but based on your leadership role in your state you may be required to pay your own travel and hotel expenses. Please contact Zachary Scott for more information.


Inside the Beltway

What’s happening in Washington?

Members of Congress left Capitol Hill following passage of the new continuing resolution that funds the government through April 28, 2017. They don’t plan to return until the swearing in of the 115th Congress on January 3.

In the meantime, the Obama administration released a new capstone report regarding the administration’s Rethink Discipline initiative. The Continuing Need to Rethink Discipline report collected data and made suggestions about suspensions, expulsions, and corporal punishment.

Why Should Principals Care? 

The new report highlights many of the problems that arise with more traditional forms of student punishment, like suspensions. If school leaders want students to improve, they need to foster an environment of growth and positivity that keeps students in school, not a system that punishes them and forces them out. Also, the report highlights the importance of ending the use of corporal punishment in schools, a practice repeatedly linked to harmful short- and long-term outcomes for students. Earlier this year, NASSP signed the open letter to all local and state education agencies and policymakers asking for an end to the practice as well.

School leaders should always be searching for innovative ways to discipline students that encourage a feeling of safety and comfort in schools. For more information on alternative disciplinary tactics and data, please visit ED’s website. You can also find more information and resources from the NASSP Position Statement on School Discipline.


In the Press

Ambitious Leadership: How Principals Lead Schools to College and Career Readiness, New Leaders

This report examines the key role principals play in developing students to be college and career ready. It more closely examines what principals need to know to lead to higher performance standards for students, and what factors enable or hinder principals from helping students reach these standards. A companion policy brief finds that the best ways to help principals improve student performance are to revise school leadership standards, strengthen and invest in high-quality principal preparation and support, and provide principals with balanced autonomy.

How ESSA Can Improve Schools by Supporting Principals, The RAND Corporation

The RAND Corporation has released an expanded report that aims to help states realize the different ways ESSA can support principals. The report closely examines how states can use data and research-based practices to show the importance of contributing funds to promote effective school leadership. The report includes input from a number of education organizations. This includes information from an NASSP Advocacy staff-contributed report by the Council of Chief State School Officers aimed at guiding states on elevating school leadership in ESSA state plans.

Examining Civic Education Policies Throughout the Nation, Education Commission of the States

Title IV of ESSA provides new opportunities for schools and states to help students gain a “well-rounded education.” Title IV dollars could be spent promoting civics education. The Education Commission of the States provides comparisons between states regarding their civic education requirements. If you would like to see what the requirements are in your individual state, visit this link.

Increased Spending Can Lead to Improvements in Student Achievement, The New York Times

For principals, lack of education funding is a constant obstacle. For years, some have argued against increasing education funding believing that increased funding had no true correlation to student success. However, the School Finance Reform and the Distribution of Student Achievement study seems to have found a correlation between funding and academic achievement. Published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, this found that over comparable time frames, states that send additional money to their lowest-income schools districts see more academic improvement in those districts than states that do not.

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