Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

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What is ESSA and the Consolidated Plan?

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) replaced No Child Left Behind (NCLB) on December 10, 2015. It is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). ESSA will be fully operational in school year 2017-18.

The ESSA Consolidated Plan draft is the planning document that outlines how Washington will implement the law. The plan outlines six core concepts in Washington’s plan to help every student succeed, and provides details on what we will do to ensure student and educator success.

  1. Long Term Goals and Measurement of Interim Progress looks at three key areas for students: academic achievement, graduation rate, and English language proficiency, and identifies the goals and steps necessary to achieve those goals.
  2. Consultation and Coordination describes how OSPI and other stakeholders, including the public, worked together to develop the Plan.
  3. Challenging Academic Standards and Academic Assessments illustrates the state education standards in mathematics, English language arts, and other disciplines. It shows the assessment systems used in Washington state and explains how our students will be career and college-ready through application of the standards and assessment processes.
  4. Accountability, Support, and Improvement for Schools defines key thresholds for schools – in academic achievement, graduation rates, English language proficiency, school quality, and other measures. It outlines the support that will be provided to schools when necessary.
  5. Supporting Excellent Educators defines what it takes to be an excellent educator and describes the professional development and other supports offered to educators in Washington state.
  6. Supporting All Students describes how all students in our state will have access to a fair, equitable, and high-quality education. It addresses the academic and non-academic needs of subgroups of students, and how the state will collect and use data to ensure a well-rounded and supportive education for all students.

To learn more about these six components, you can read the full text of the plan. We have also produced several summary documents that are available on our resources page.

Read a full list of the recommendations approved by State Superintendent Dorn that make up the Consolidated Plan.

How will ESSA change what we do already?

Washington’s schools are changing under the new law. The US Department of Education has provided an ESSA Transition FAQ, and below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Districts & Federal Programs Directors: Learn more about ESSA and it's effect on various programs on our District Resources page.

Adequate Yearly Progress
AYP is no longer required by ESSA, and OSPI will not calculate AYP for the 2016-17 school year based on 2015-16 assessments.

Notice is not required for Supplemental Educational Services (SES), Public School Choice (PSC) and AYP.

Schools and districts will continue to implement existing improvement plans, with some exceptions. They do not need to update them for 2016-17. Please see the transition plan for more details.

For districts that did not meet AYP in 2015-16, OSPI has information on how they will provide support during the transition year.

Federal law requires states to assess students, and requirements remain the same under ESSA.

Testing for state and federal accountability will continue as follows:

  • English & Math: Grades 3-8 & 11
  • Science: Grades 5, 8, & once in high school.

Our tests are aligned to the Washington State K-12 Learning Standards.

Ending Highly Qualified Teachers & Moving to Effective Educators
Districts no longer need to document “highly qualified teacher” (HQT) status for teachers hired after Dec. 10, 2015.

OSPI’s expectations for districts receiving Title II, Part A grant funds for 2015-16 can be found on our Title II, Part A page.

Title I Staffing Requirements for 2017-18—same as the 2016-17 School Year
ESSA requires all Title I teachers and paraeducators meet state certification and licensure requirements.


All teachers charged to Title I, Part A funds meet applicable state certification and licensure requirements. The requirements must be met before the teacher can be charged to the grant. A teacher charged to Title I, Part A may be out-of-field or out-of-endorsement (i.e., teaching assignment does not match endorsement) for the 2017–18 school year, as long as the school board approved the placement (per WAC 181-82-110 or WAC 392-172A-002090). School board approval must be in place prior to the date the teacher is charged to Title I, Part A funds.


ESSA removed the term "highly qualified" for paraeducators, just as it did for teachers. Instead, OSPI is tasked with developing our own minimum state standards. Information about current standards, guidelines, and support can be found on the paraeducators webpage.

Washington does not currently have certification and licensure requirements for paraeducators in state statute. Though the Washington Legislature authorized a Paraeducator Work Group to create recommendations for standards, it has not adopted them. Due to this, OSPI will maintain the paraeducator qualifications required under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) until such time that the Paraeducator Standards are adopted and funded by the Legislature. Information about the standards, guidelines, and support can be found on the paraeducators webpage.

How can I learn more about ESSA?

Visit our resources page which offers information on ESSA that can be used by district personnel, teachers, parents, and students. Our goal is to make the state’s transition process as open as possible, and to incorporate the views and advice of as many people as we can.

In November, OSPI went on a review tour to teach the public about ESSA and our draft Consolidated Plan. The tour is over, but our webinar presentation is still available in video and presentation format. For alternate formats, contact us.

One-page handouts

One-page handouts to help communicate ESSA

How do I make my voice heard?

We hope you will share your thoughts on our ESSA draft Consolidated Plan by taking our public comment survey. The public comment period will end February 15, 2017.

Who was involved in creating the Consolidated Plan?

OSPI created the ESSA draft Consolidated Plan alongside state leaders, district and school representatives, and professional organization representatives. Learn more about the workgroups who helped shape ESSA.



Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, the Washington ESSA Consolidated Plan developed by the by Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


The ESSA draft Consolidated Plan Comment Period will close on February 15, 2017. Read the press release for more information.

Get involved with the ESSA Consolidated Plan!

  1. Learn more about the Consolidated Plan in our summary document. Translated resources available on the following language pages:

  2. Learn more about ESSA on our resources page, or read the full plan.

  3. Watch the webinar. The review tour is over, but you can still watch the webinar or read through the presentation.

  4. Provide public comment on the ESSA Consolidated Plan. The public comment period will end February 15, 2017. Comment forms are also available in العَرَبِيَّة, 한국어, русский, Af-Soomaali, Español, Wikang Tagalog, Українська, Tiếng Việt

  5. Spread the word! Share by email, on Facebook and Twitter, or any other way you communicate.

  6. Sign up for updates! Join our mailing list.


   Updated 1/27/2017

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