Nebraska’s ESSA Plan Approved by U.S. Department of Education

June 6, 2018 - 2:38pm

Nebraska has just received approval from the U.S. Department of Education for its Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). This new educational plan is designed to focus federal resources to better support struggling schools, to close achievement gaps between students and to recruit and develop highly-effective educators.

This plan follows the state’s Accountability for a Quality Education System, Today and Tomorrow (AQuESTT) accountability program, which helps to determine the schools most in need of improvement. Diane Stuehmer, Administrator of the Office of Student and School Support and Services with the Nebraska Department of Education, spoke about the types of improvements for these schools.

"The plan will be focusing on again working with those teachers, working with our educational service unit, to again work with the schools and helping them to identify best practices and strategies that will help all students be given the opportunity to learn." Stuehmer said.

The Nebraska Department of Education will be using a rating system to decide which schools need the most assistance and improvements both comprehensively and in specific areas. AQuESTT helps the state track a variety of indicators such as academic achievement and progress, graduation rates and progress of English Learners to rate schools based on quality and student success.

The ESSA plan will also help to provide more opportunities for schools throughout the state to utilize specific funds for new improvement programs.

"Under ESSA, it's been opened up. Pretty much any educator in the school can get professional development with the Title IIA dollars... That is big for schools, because they have a wider variety of ways they can spend those dollars now" Stuehmer said.

The Nebraska Department of Education will now begin its search for the schools most in need of improvements thanks to the recent approval of the ESSA program by the U.S. Department of Education.

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