The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaces No Child Left Behind as the "education law of the land." ESSA offers opportunities to use the community school strategy to improve outcomes, and new ways to braid funds to support community school work.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaces No Child Left Behind as the "education law of the land." ESSA offers opportunities to use the community school strategy to improve outcomes, and new ways to braid funds to support community school work. In addition to a greater focus on whole-child development and supports, ESSA puts a priority on identifying and removing nonacademic barriers to student success, and Illinois' recently-approved ESSA state plan includes expectations for improvement of things like chronic absenteeism rates and school climate and culture, as well as academic measures. When well-implemented, the community school strategy can be an effective school improvement approach, and can help districts, schools and communities meet the goals set out in the state's ESSA plan.
We encourage you all to think about your community school work as a school improvement strategy under ESSA (this report, Community Schools: An Evidence-based, Equitable Approach to School Improvement can help), and to explore ways that new flexibility under ESSA can help fund your work.
As part of an ongoing process to expand and sustain our work, the Federation for Community Schools has joined Children’s Home + Aid, effective June 9th. This transition comes after more than a year of work on the part of the Federation’s board and Children’s Home + Aid’s leadership, and brings together two organizations that are passionate about promoting and sustaining community schools.
What does this mean for you?
Our mission hasn’t changed and you will continue to receive the support you have come to expect from us. Much of our core work will remain the same. You can count on us to continue to:
- Promote community schools throughout Illinois
- Provide professional development support
- Advocate on behalf of community schools and the students and families they serve
- Continue to build a network throughout the state by being part of the Children’s Home + Aid network of agencies across Illinois, including in counties in which we currently do not have connections.
- Connect our advocacy efforts to a comprehensive vision of success for children and youth.
- Enable us to continue to grow our work – like building a data case for community schools through connections with efforts like the Data Collaborative and creating regional networks of practitioners across the state as part of a larger organization.
- Maintain existing supports for members -- including the annual Community Schools Forum, professional development opportunities, and our advocacy efforts -- in addition to providing opportunities to expand our work.
- Create new opportunities for membership engagement and leadership.
For more information, please click here. If you have additional questions, please contact Melissa Mitchell at melissa@Ilcommunityschools.org or 312-424-6814.
About Children's Home + Aid --
Children's Home + Aid is a leading child and family service agency in Illinois. We link children to a network of opportunity and care, to extended family, teachers, mentors, and the resources of the neighborhood and community. For more than 130 years, we have gone wherever children and families need us, and where that work has been proven to be most effective: at home, in the classroom, in the neighborhood, in the course of daily life. We have offices located across Illinois and serves more than 40,000 children and families each year in over 60 counties.
Save the Date!
The 12th annual Community Schools Forum will be held on November 10th. Registration opens soon!
In December 2015, President Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) into law. ESSA replaces No Child Left Behind, and provides states, districts and schools with increased flexibility over how to use funding, how to demonstrate student progress and achievement and how to improve school performance and narrow the opportunity gap, among other changes. ESSA also offers several opportunities for increased support for community school work. To see a summary and analysis of ESSA from the Illinois State Board of Education, click here.
States are now putting together their plans for putting ESSA into action. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is seeking input from stakeholders about how best to use the opportunities offered by ESSA, including priorities for accountability metrics, the state's assessment framework and identifying nonacademic measures of student success and school quality. It is important that ISBE hear from a wide range of stakeholders in student success so as to best inform the state's ESSA plan. Please visit ISBE's ESSA web site to learn more about listening tours where you can share your ideas with ISBE, get updates on the state's plan and submit your ideas.
You can see the recommendations that the Federation for Community Schools submitted during the first round of listening tours here. We will continue to provide information about the upcoming listening tours and the opportunities to provide input into the draft ESSA plan, including additional key messages and recommendations.
Looking for something from last year...?