Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)


Florida’s ESSA State Plan (PDF)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law in December 2015, amending the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and replacing No Child Left Behind provisions. With a strong, proven accountability system, Florida is already ahead of most of the nation as it relates to the requirements laid out in ESSA. Student performance has consistently improved since Florida introduced rigorous accountability measures, and the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) is confident that this plan meets the intent of ESSA using current policies and practices.

States were required to submit a state plan describing their approach to ESSA compliance by September 18, 2017. Florida was given an extension to October 13, 2017, due to Hurricane Irma, and submitted the state plan on September 20, 2017.

The department held a first round of public input summer 2016 via online survey, and outreach continued throughout the school year to educator associations and stakeholder groups. The commissioner also convened a superintendents’ workgroup to provide input on major decision points. Then, a draft of the state plan was posted for public comment June 30-July 31, 2017. There were 450 respondents (1,295 comments) to the accompanying online survey. The comments were reviewed and the state plan was revised (see below). The state plan was submitted to the Governor for review, as required by ESSA.

The nine sections of the state plan and a summary of its contents are as follows:

  1. Title I, Part A: Assessment and Accountability
    • Continue current practice of assessment and accountability in most areas.
    • Use state, district, and school report cards as part of accountability system to provide information to the public about subgroup performance.
    • Increase the reporting period of former English language learners (ELLs) from two years to four years.
    • Recently arrived ELLs will be tested in 1st year, with learning gains counted in 2nd year and achievement counted in 3rd year.
    • Establish long-term goals for ELLs on the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 English Language Proficiency assessment.
  2. Title I, Part C: Migrant Students
    • Continue current practice of supporting local school district programs for eligible students.
    • Align program objectives to strategic plan; describe tiered support.
  3. Title I, Part D: Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk Students
    • Continue current practice of collaboration with DJJ and local programs on transition plans and coordination of academic services.
    • Implementation of a student performance measure accountability system as required in section 1003.52, Florida Statutes.
    • Align program objectives to strategic plan; describe tiered support.
  4. Title II, Part A: Supporting Effective Instruction
    • Continue current practice of educator preparation, certification, development, recognition, and retention.
  5. Title III, Part A: English Language Learners
    • Continue current practice of identification and support of English Language Learners, and state monitoring and technical assistance of district programs.
    • Align program objectives to strategic plan; describe tiered support.
  6. Title IV, Part A: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants
    • This is a new grant program for school districts to develop around activities to support well-rounded educational opportunities, safe and healthy students, and activities to support effective use of technology.
    • Districts will submit a completed application to receive the designated funding determined by formula in the same proportion as their prior year Title I, Part A allocations.
  7. Title IV, Part B: 21st Century Community Learning Centers
    • Continue current practice of competitive subgrants to local entities for these after-school programs.
  8. Title V, Part B, Subpart 2: Rural and Low-Income School Program
    • Continue current practice of supporting eligible local school district programs.
    • Align program objectives to strategic plan; describe tiered support.
  9. Title VII, Subpart B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
    • Continue current practice of local school district programs for identification, access to services, and removal of barriers for children and youth experiencing homelessness.
    • Dispute resolution requirements expanded to include eligibility, enrollment, and school selection; update local educational agency (LEA) Dispute Resolution Process.
    • LEAs must adopt policies and practices to ensure that designated liaisons participate in related state professional development activities; clarify duties.
    • Policy checklist to be provided by FDOE Homeless Education Program to designated LEA Homeless Liaisons; update LEA Homeless Students Policy.
    • LEAs must ensure that unaccompanied homeless high school youth are receiving counseling to prepare them for postsecondary education.
    • Describe tiered support.

Summary of changes made as a result of July 2017 public comment:

  • Reevaluated the need for separate waiver requests at this time, describing within the state plan the current accountability system and rationale for why it is best for Florida’s students to continue on this path.
  • Will use state, district, and school report cards as part of accountability system to provide information to the public about subgroup performance.
  • Increased the reporting period for former ELLs from two years to four years.
  • Established long-term goals for ELLs on the ACCESS for ELLs 2.0 English Language Proficiency assessment.
  • Clarified and added more specificity to the Title IV, Part A section on allowable use of funds for new Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants.

ESSA Resources