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Investment in Schools and School Support Under ESSA

This winter OSSE is excited to launch the new DC School Report Card, which includes the School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) Framework scores and rating, and the Investment in Schools grant – an $11 million investment to dramatically support the city’s lowest performing schools. Learn more about:

School Support under ESSA

Information on Prior School Improvement Programs

School Support Designations

OSSE worked with hundreds of stakeholders to design and refine DC’s State Plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In line with federal requirements, in our plan DC committed to designate schools into support and improvement status categories based on their performance. In December 2018, OSSE will identify schools in the following categories:

Designation Definition Timeline
Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools, type 1 (CS1) Title I schools that score in the bottom 5 percent of the total number of points on the STAR Framework as compared to their peers.1 Schools first identified in December 2018 and once every three school years thereafter.
Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools, type 2 (CS2) High schools in which both four-year and five-year adjusted cohort graduation rates (ACGR) fall below 67 percent. Schools first identified in December 2018 and once every three school years thereafter.
Targeted Support and Improvement Schools, type 1 (TS1)2 Schools receiving this designation have at least one student group that is performing at or below the level of the lowest performing schools in DC, which are the schools designated for Comprehensive Support 1. Schools first identified by December 2018 and annually thereafter.

School Support Requirements

Per federal law, LEAs with schools identified in school support and improvement categories are responsible for a number of requirements.

Designation Activity
Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CS) schools
  • Conduct a school-level Needs Assessment with input from stakeholders (OSSE Template)
  • Complete a Resource Equity Analysis at the LEA level to analyze resource distribution at all schools, if applicable (OSSE Template)
  • Develop a School Improvement Plan with input from stakeholders3 (OSSE Template)
  • Have the plan approved by the LEA and OSSE (and PCSB if a charter)
  • Participate in periodic monitoring of the plan by OSSE (and PCSB if a charter)
  • Participate in state-level intervention if plan is not successful after three years, or with an extension, after four years
Targeted Support and Improvement (TS) schools
  • Develop a school-level targeted support and improvement plan with principals, other school leaders, teachers, parents
  • Have the plan approved by the LEA (and PCSB if a charter)
  • Participate in monitoring of the plan by the LEA (and PCSB if a charter)
  • Participate in LEA-level intervention or escalate to designation of CS if plan is not successful

ESEA 111(d) requires that for each CS school, LEAs must complete a Needs Assessment and a School Improvement Plan. LEAs with at least one CS school and more than one school overall in the LEA must also complete a Resource Equity Analysis. OSSE has developed templates to meet these three requirements.4 CS1 schools and their LEAs are required to utilize these templates. LEAs with CS2 schools may submit an alternative template to OSSE review for and approval by Feb. 28, 2019.

Schools identified as TS should expect additional guidance on requirements to be provided by their LEA.

Investment in Schools Grant

OSSE will invest $11 million over the next three years to support the lowest performing schools in DC in their improvement efforts. Contingent on federal funding from Title I, Part A and LEAs submitting applications aligned to requirements, OSSE will support all CS1 schools and their LEAs to work with their communities to urgently improve educational outcomes for students.

LEAs with CS1 school(s) identified will be eligible to apply for the first year of Investment in Schools funds in December 2018 when designations are announced, with applications due by Feb. 28, 2019 in the Enterprise Grants Management System (EGMS). As part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Investment in Schools LEA Application, LEAs will outline their plans to complete and submit by no later than May 31, 2019, the three components described in more detail above and below: the Needs Assessment, Resource Equity Analysis, if applicable, and the School Improvement Plan. LEAs must submit completed Needs Assessments, School Improvement Plans, and a Resource Equity Analysis, if applicable, by the May 2019 deadline to be eligible for FY20 funds.

Required Templates – Needs Assessment, Resource Equity Analysis, School Improvement Plan

For each CS school, LEAs are required to complete and submit a Needs Assessment and School Improvement Plan. The Resource Equity Analysis is designed for an LEA to analyze how resources are allocated to CS school(s) as compared to the other schools in the LEA. Therefore, if an LEA with a CS school is a single-site LEA, this requirement is not applicable.

To provide guidance while also leaving room for flexibility, OSSE is naming three critical levers – People, Instruction, and Structures – that each School Improvement Plan must address and that funding is available to support. School Improvement Plans must include evidence-based strategies and interventions for each area. Each plan must also describe the overall vision and goals for the school, how the LEA will determine whether the school is making progress, and how stakeholders will be involved in an ongoing manner.  

ESEA 111(d) requires for each CS school, LEAs complete a Needs Assessment, Resource Equity Analysis (if applicable), and School Improvement Plan. CS1 schools and their LEAs are required to utilize OSSE’s templates. LEAs with CS2 schools may submit an alternative template to OSSE review for and approval by Feb. 28, 2019. More detail and the OSSE required template for each requirement due May 31, 2019, is provided below:

Template Description Timeline
Needs Assessment For each school, engage and gather perspectives from key stakeholders; review data and other qualitative evidence over time; and analyze root causes and areas for change. LEA leads process for each CS school and submits completed Needs Assessment using the required template to OSSE by May 31, 2019 (required even if opting not to apply for funding).
Resource Equity Analysis Document expenditures for every school in the LEA as well as centralized LEA spending. Includes breakout of federal and local funding sources and grant funding. LEAs with at least one CS school and more than one school overall in the LEA must submit a completed Resource Equity Analysis using the required template to OSSE by May 31, 2019 (required even if opting not to apply for funding).

School Improvement Plan

School Improvement Plan Rubric

Based on the findings of the school-based Needs Assessment and Resource Equity Analysis, LEAs will identify goals and specific evidence-based strategies in three critical areas: People, Instruction, and Structures. School plans must also specify routines for ongoing stakeholder engagement and improvement. Each CS school must complete and submit its School Improvement Plan for approval by the LEA. Once approved by the LEA, LEAs must submit a School Improvement Plan for each CS school using the required template to OSSE by May 31, 2019 for review and approval (required even if opting not to apply for funding).

 


1Under ESSA, CS1 is the only designation that specifies Title I schools (as opposed to all schools). At minimum, the lowest performing 5 percent of Title I schools will be identified but OSSE may also identify non-Title I schools with comparable low performance.
2In the future, OSSE will also identify Targeted Support and Improvement Schools, type 2 (TS2) and Comprehensive Support and Improvement, type 3 (CS3). TS2 is any school with a subgroup of students identified as “consistently underperforming” (i.e., with framework score at or below the fifth percentile used to designate CS1 schools) for two out of three years. CS3 is any school identified as TS2 that does not improve sufficiently to meet exit criteria after three years.
3Conducting the Needs Assessment and developing the School Improvement Plan should include engagement with the LEA, principals, other school leaders including Title I administrator, teachers, paraprofessionals, parents, and members of the community. As appropriate, this should also include specialized instructional support personnel, technical assistance providers, school staff, and other individuals determined by the school; for secondary schools this should also include students.
4To reduce burden and avoid duplicative efforts, the required templates for CS schools provided by OSSE will also meet a school’s requirements for a schoolwide plan under Title I, Part A.