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Early Learning and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)



The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law late in 2015, gives state education agencies (SEAs) the opportunity to bring early learning to the forefront of their education strategies.

The State of Early Learning in ESSA: Plans and Opportunities for Implementation, a policy brief from CEELO and CCSSO reviewing state plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education as of October 1, 2017. The review focuses on three key priorities for early learning in ESSA: 1)Setting clear goals and policy priorities for early learning; 2) Integrating early learning into school improvement; and, 3) Supporting early childhood educator development. The brief brief provides guidance for best practices that can be used or adapted as SEA’s evaluate the effectiveness of their plans as states move deeper into implementation, and includes a chart showing how each state addresses seven areas within their ESSA plans.

Birth to Grade 3 Indicator Framework: Opportunities to Integrate Early Childhood in ESSA CCSSO CEELO Toolkit – This newly developed resource summarizes the evidence supporting an early learning approach to school improvement, explains how early learning could fit within the framework of state ESSA plans, and reviews a list of potential indicators of access, academics, and engagement in early childhood education and considerations for states to integrate those indicators into their plans.

ISBE P-2 Indicator Working Group Report – Drawing from the B-3 Toolkit, CCSSO and CEELO developed seven discussion guides to support The Illinois ESSA Preschool to grade 2 (P-2) Indicator Working Group. The P-2 working group was charged with recommending to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) an indicator or indicators to place weight on the P-2 years in Illinois’ accountability formula in the state’s Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan. The discussion guides provide research, state examples and technical considerations for considering the following indicators in the state’s accountability system. These guides may be useful to other states, and can be adapted with state specific information. For further information or technical assistance contact Lori Connors-Tadros at ltadros@nieer.org.

Early Childhood Coordination Requirements in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): A Toolkit for State and Local Educational Agencies, Head Start Programs, and the Early Childhood Field – The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Head Start Association (NHSA) have released a comprehensive toolkit to help school districts in meeting new federal requirements that they formally partner with Head Start and other early childhood education providers to facilitate the transition of children from early childhood settings to kindergarten.

NEW! Elementary and Secondary Schools Act (ESSA) and Early Learning: Plans and Opportunities for Implementation shares what we are learning about how states and local communities are ensuring early learning is a priority in the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). CEELO’s Lori Connors-Tadros, Nasha Patel, LADepartment of Education , Margareth D. Legaspi, Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), and Karen McKnight, NC Head Start State Collaboration Office. (July 2018 Presentation, QRIS National Meeting)

View additional ESSA resources below: