CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is outlining several steps to further engage stakeholders to develop its state plan as part of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
ESSA was signed into law in December 2015, replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. The federal legislation represents a shift from broad federal oversight to greater flexibility of primary and secondary education at the state and local levels. ESSA requires all states to develop plans that address standards, assessments, accountability and support for struggling schools.
States can choose to submit their plans to the U.S. Department of Education in either April or September 2017. To allow ample time to engage with stakeholders, incorporate recent legislative action and engage with West Virginia’s new governor, the WVDE has chosen to submit its plan in September.
“It is imperative our ESSA state plan is reflective of input from all stakeholder groups,” said West Virginia Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Steven Paine. “We are working closely with our governor, educators, legislators, business leaders and community members to collect input on our state’s education system.”
Several public engagement opportunities are planned in the coming months. WVDE will host a series of public webinars and various stakeholder meetings will be held in June and July to provide information regarding the development of the plan. A draft version of the plan will be available online in July and the public will be invited to review and comment. Interested stakeholders may also sign up to be contacted about the state plan and provide input by visiting: http://wvde.state.wv.us/forms/essa/.
In addition to the planned engagement opportunities, West Virginia’s plan will be reflective of stakeholder engagement that has already taken place. Regional meetings were held across the state with school districts to share the requirements of ESSA and explain the decision points available to the state. Two advisory groups were convened to address the changes with English Learners and Foster Care students. ESSA stakeholder meetings were held with educators in January to discuss the development of the state plan.
Previous public input received surrounding standards, through the Academic Spotlight process, and statewide assessments will also shape West Virginia’s state plan.
“Based on conversations about the direction of our education system, I am very optimistic about our state plan because there is great alignment among our diverse stakeholder groups,” Paine said. “I am very confident we will have a quality plan ready to submit in September.”