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What is ESSA?

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is a law administered by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that requires all states to develop educational accountability measurements for all public K-12 schools nationally. ESSA replaced the previous No Child Left Behind Act and required all 50 states and the District of Columbia to create state plans to measure individual schools’ success at preparing students for college and/or careers. In the District, that means developing an accountability system for DC public and charter schools that demonstrates how well schools are performing, using academic performance and other factors.

What information is required for all state ESSA plans?

  • Public K-12 schools must document academic achievement, as measured by state standardized test scores in English and math;

  • Elementary and middle school ratings must indicate how they measure growth, both overall and for specific groups of students;

  • High schools must publish their progress toward proficiency and four-year graduation rates.

SBOE #ESSA Task Force to Reconvenes this Month

The ESSA Task Force reconvenes on Tuesday, September 11. In the coming months, the State Board and OSSE will continue their work on the development of a statewide school report card that will contain information designed for students and parents to know more about schools in the District of Columbia. The report cards will not only provide information about test scores, but will also give a broader scope of metrics. The school report card is a dynamic tool and will be updated and modified as new information becomes available. For instance, during the State Board’s work on the Statewide Accountability Plan, it was noted that the District currently lacks a way to confirm the academic growth of students in high school and a universal way to determine a school’s “climate”. School climate or environment, according to the US Department of Education, means how a school fosters safety; promotes a supportive academic, disciplinary, and physical environment; and encourages and maintains respectful, trusting, and caring relationships throughout the school community no matter the setting.

SBOE #ESSA Task Force Meeting Information

September 11, 2018: Presentation Slides
June 5, 2018: MinutesPresentation Materials | Watch the Replay
May 1, 2018: MinutesPresentation Materials | Watch the Replay
April 3, 2018: MinutesPresentation Materials | Watch the Replay
March 6, 2018: MinutesPresentation Materials | Watch the Replay
February 6, 2018: MinutesPresentation Materials | Watch the Replay

January 9, 2017: Minutes |  OSSE Report Card Content Proposal | Watch the Replay
December 5, 2017: Minutes |  Presentation MaterialsWatch the Replay
November 7, 2017: MinutesPresentation Materials | Watch the Replay | Updated Overview | Required Report Card Elements
October 3, 2017: MinutesPresentation Materials | Watch the Replay 
September 5, 2017: Minutes  | Presentation Materials | Watch the Replay
August 22, 2017: MinutesPresentation Slides | Watch the Replay

#ESSA Task Force Members Announced - August 2017

Through our open and transparent process, we received a remarkable 55 applications from parents, community leaders, and education stakeholders across the District interested in serving on the task force. Members included parents, community leaders, education agency leaders, students, teachers, school leaders, and nonprofit personnel who work in relevant fields. Over the course of two years, subcommittees will address school report cards, an access and opportunity measure, a high school growth measure, and school climate pilots. Task Force meetings will continue on a monthly basis for the duration of the members’ two-year commitment. The task force conducted its work under the leadership of Ward 4 representative Dr. Lannette Woodruff, from August 2017 through June 2018. SBOE Ward 7 representative and President Karen Williams will lead the task force starting in September 2018 through its conclusion in June 2019.

Name Affiliation
Karen Williams • President and Ward 7 Representative, State Board of Education
• Chair, ESSA Task Force
Alex Rose-Henig • Director of Academic Programs, BASIS DC
Allyson Criner Brown • Ward 7 Education Council Member and Associate Director, Teaching for Change
Anne Herr • Parent and Director of School Quality, FOCUS
Daniel Rodriguez • Student, Benjamin Banneker High School
Deborah Dantzler Williams • Head of School, Inspired Teaching PCS K-8
Donna Johnson • Director of Accountability, Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Elizabeth V. Primas • ESSA Program Manager, National Newspaper Publishers Association
Erin Kupferberg • Senior Manager, School Quality and Accountability, DC Public Charter School Board
Faith Gibson Hubbard • Chief Student Advocate, State Board of Education
Hannah Dunn • Student, Woodrow Wilson High School
Jack Jacobson • Vice President and Ward 2 Representative, State Board of Education
Jacque Patterson • Chief Community Engagement and Growth Officer, KIPP DC
Jhonna Turner • Parent Engagement Program Coordinator, Washington Lawyers' Committee
Joe Weedon • Ward 6 Representative, State Board of Education
Josh Boots • Executive Director, EmpowerK12
Juliana Herman • Deputy Chief of Policy, DC Public Schools
Laura Fuchs • WTU Board Member and Teacher, H.D. Woodson High School
Maya Martin • Executive Director, Parents Amplifying Voices in Education
Ramona Edelin • Executive Director, DC Association of Chartered Public Schools
Richard Pohlman • Executive Director, Thurgood Marshall Academy PCS
Samantha Brown • Special Education and Reading Teacher, Calvin Coolidge High School
Shana Young or designee • Chief of Staff, Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Sheila Strain Clark • Parent and Chief of Programs, Sasha Bruce Youthwork
Stacy Smith • General Manager, Hyatt Place Washington, DC
Suzanne Wells • Founder, Capitol Hill Public Schools Parent Organization
Tumeka Coleman • Teacher, Walker-Jones Education Campus
Yolanda Corbett • Co-Chair, Parent Advocate Leaders Group


SBOE Announces #ESSA Task Force Application - July 2017 

To ensure a balance of perspectives, the State Board chose Task Force members who represent a broad constituency and will contribute meaningfully to education policy recommendations related to the 2017 DC ESSA Plan. Task Force members include parents, community leaders, education agency leaders, students, teachers, school leaders, and nonprofit personnel who work in relevant fields. The selection committee strived to ensure membership was proportionately representative to the backgrounds of the students here in the District.

In keeping with the SBOE’s commitment to transparency, all applications for the Task Force were open to public review:

  • SBOE opened application period on July 10, 2017 
  • Application period concluded at 12 noon on July 24, 2017
  • SBOE Educational Excellence and Equity Committee reviewed all applications over a two-week period
  • Selected members announced on August 7, 2017 

SBOE Approves Creation of ESSA Task Force - May 2017

At our May Public Meeting, the SBOE approved the creation of a new #ESSA Task Force which will advise the State Board for a two-year period . The SBOE is committed to continuing to involve broad community input in the decision making related to the Every Student Succeeds Act.

  • State Board will conduct community roundtables and focus groups to gather input on the remaining ESSA accountability plan measures, pilot studies, and school report cards from essential District education stakeholders.
  • Next step is development of a comprehensive school report card. 
  • Goal is to approve a report card that ensures that parents no longer have to search for essential information across multiple websites
  • SBOE will also work with the Mayor and Council to ensure that these report cards are accessible (508 compliant) and translated into all of the languages required by the Language Access Act

SBOE Approves Final #ESSA Accountability Plan - March 22, 2017

On March 22, 2017, the DC State Board of Education (SBOE) voted to approve the final state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The state plan, drafted by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) with significant impact from the State Board of Education, gives the District more flexibility in advancing educational excellence and provides assistance to schools so that each student has the opportunity for success.

  • SBOE's work was instrumental in achieving this reduction in assessment focus.
  • As a direct result of the State Board’s advocacy, plan more heavily weights student growth over proficiency
  • Plan also provides a foundation to ensure schools are safe and welcoming and that schools provide students with a well-rounded education by committing to pilot a common school climate survey and additional measures for inclusion
  • SBOE will continue to work with OSSE to implement the plan and develop additional metrics related to a well-rounded education, high school growth, and school climate

OSSE Releases Final Draft of State Plan - March 17, 2017

On March 17, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education released the final version of the complete draft state plan. The full version can be read here. On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, the State Board will hold a special public meeting at 5:30 pm in the Old Council Chambers at 441 4th Street NW. The State Board will vote on the approval of the final draft state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The State Board Makes 10 Recommendations for Final Accountability Plan

Read the recommendations here.

  • Recommendations reflect the consensus of the SBOE that weight of test scores should be reduced and additional non-testing measures that encourage a well-rounded education be added
  • Recommend establishment of task forces on School Climate/Well-Rounded Education and High School Growth Measures for inclusion in the accountability plan by April 2018 
  • SBOE agrees with OSSE that accountability system be reviewed regularly to ensure that the system is providing the information our residents need, by joint process between OSSE and SBOE 

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Community-Based Meetings - February 2017

Throughout the month of February, the State Board of Education and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) co-hosted 9 community meetings in all eight wards of the District to provide information about ESSA and to solicit feedback on OSSE's initial draft of Washington, DC’s state education plan, to be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education by April 3, 2017. Thank you to the more than 300 community members, parents, students, and advocates who attended these meetings!  This feedback has been key in helping Board members ensure that this plan is right for our schools!

SBOE Public Meeting Information on ESSA - 2016 / 2017


March SBOE Public Meeting | Testimony from three ESSA experts | Watch their discussion on best ESSA practices here
June SBOE Public Meeting | Testimony related to school quality and student success | Watch the discussion here
July SBOE Public Meeting | Testimony related to the potential impact of ESSA on vulnerable students | Watch the discussion here.
September SBOE Public Meeting | Testimony related to state leadership and implementation challenges | Watch the discussion here.
October SBOE Public Meeting | Testimony related to a Parent Summit that includes ESSA related sessions | Watch the discussion here.
November SBOE Public Meeting | Invited ALL interested members of the public to testify about the initial accountability strawman provided by OSSE and the SBOE response to that strawman | Watch the discussion here
December SBOE Public Meeting | Three ESSA policy experts, a charter school Vice President of Policy, and a Ward 5 charter school parent provided testimony to the Board | Watch the discussion here


January SBOE Public Meeting | Office of the State Superintendent (OSSE) provided an overview of the major components of the consolidated statewide plan required by ESSA | Watch the discussion here
February SBOE Public Meeting | SBOE heard from two panels of policy experts regarding their views on the draft ESSA accountability plan | Watch the discussion here.
March SBOE Public Meeting | Invited ALL interested members of the public to testify about the final accountability plan. Nearly 40 residents testified. | Watch the discussion here
March Special Public Meeting | Voted to approve the final state plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) | Watch all of the State Board members provide comments on their vote here
May SBOE Public Meeting | Voted to approve the creation of a new ESSA Task Force Advisory Task Force. This task force will consist of three SBOE representatives and a variety of participants including DC Public/Public Charter school students and teachers, two parent representatives, business representatives, national education experts, and a representative from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) | Watch the vote here

We Want to Hear From YOU!

Please share your thoughts on ESSA with us online by emailing !