With ESSA implementation afoot, districts are preparing to expend considerable effort creating ESSA mandated report cards highlighting the performance, progress, and goals of their individual schools. However, the heavy lifting required to fulfill this state requirement comes with a silver lining. These report cards help districts unearth a wealth of information regarding the health of their schools. Read on to learn how districts can leverage their ESSA findings to improve their schools in three critical ways.
1. Start a Dialogue
ESSA brings student achievement to the forefront by highlighting the schools’ ability to provide quality education to students. If you were discouraged by how schools in your district have performed, let the findings from your data spur you to uncover the root causes behind those issues. Interview students to get their perspective on their school experiences, listen to the concerns of your faculty, and evaluate the ways in which at-risk students may or may not be receiving the help they require. Districts should encourage ongoing dialogue with schools and help them address their concerns using best practices to improve achievement.
2. Principal Involvement
Did your per-pupil attributions raise more than a few eyebrows? That’s a good thing- depending on what you do next. Thoroughly revisit your allocation and attribution plans to ensure all of your schools are equipped to meet the distinct challenges of your students. The best way to start is by getting your principals involved! Principals who are given autonomy to allocate resources within the district’s strategic plan provide unique insights that can positively impact the school. Work with your principals, community leaders, and district administration to develop strategies that not only address your shortcomings, but engender mutual understanding and ownership.
3. Copy What’s Working
Your ESSA work up undoubtedly revealed not only the schools that may be at risk, but the schools that are meeting and even exceeding your state and district goals. What are these schools doing right? Look for replicable processes and procedures and work to create district-wide benchmarks to incentivize other schools to follow suit.
You spent so much time creating your ESSA report card to meet your state’s requirements; it doesn’t have to end there. With a little extra effort, you can significantly improve the opportunities and experiences of your students district-wide.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Allovue works with districts and state departments of education across the country to allocate, budget, and manage spending. Allovue's software suite integrates seamlessly with existing accounting systems to make sure every dollar works for every student. Allovue also provides additional services such as chart of accounts and funding formula revisions.