Secretary DeVos Approves Idaho, Mississippi and Rhode Island’s ESSA State Plan

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US Department of Education

March 29, 2018
Contact: Press Office
(202) 401-1576 or

Secretary DeVos Approves Idaho, Mississippi and Rhode Island’s ESSA State Plans

WASHINGTONU.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced the approval of Idaho, Mississippi and Rhode Island’s consolidated state plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

"The state plans met ESSA’s requirements, and I am pleased to approve them," said Secretary DeVos. "I look forward to seeing how these states dive deeper into the flexibility afforded by ESSA to innovate on behalf of their students.”

Allowing states more flexibility in how they deliver education to students is at the core of ESSA. Each state crafted a plan that it feels will best offer educational opportunities to meet the needs of the state and its students.

The following are some of the unique elements from Idaho’s approved plan as highlighted by the state:

    • Idaho’s accountability system includes three new indicators to evaluate performance and provide a more comprehensive report on schools:

    - Growth as determined by the percentage of students on track to become proficient within three years in grades K-8

    - A new student engagement survey in grades K-8

    - A college and career readiness indicator reflecting students in high school earning college credit and industry recognized certifications and participating in apprenticeship programs

    • The new system will provide Idahoans a more complete dashboard of information about school performance and will complement the state’s move toward a mastery-based education system

    “I appreciate all who contributed to crafting a new accountability system focused on supporting improved learning for Idaho students,” said superintendent of public instruction Sherri Ybarra. “This plan will celebrate success, direct resources to uplift our lowest performing schools and will provide educators additional tools including measuring growth and a preview of student engagement to help improve outcomes for students.”

    The following are some of the unique elements from Mississippi’s approved plan as highlighted by the state:

    • Mississippi’s A-F accountability system provides parents and communities with transparent information on how their schools and districts are performing. The accountability system includes measures of college readiness and encourages accelerated coursework, such as Advanced Placement and dual credit/enrollment
    • The state developed a continuum of services to assist underperforming schools and districts through a revised comprehensive support model for school improvement. Services range from less rigorous support of coaching and leadership development to more rigorous support through an Achievement School District
    • Mississippi’s innovative early learning collaborative - community partnerships among public, private and/or Head Start programs - will provide a solid foundation to prepare students for school

    “All of our long-term goals are aligned to our state’s bold strategic plan to advance student achievement, and those goals apply to each subgroup of students. We have set high expectations for all students, and we have aggressive annual performance targets divided by subgroup that we will be monitoring annually,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education in Mississippi. “We take seriously our commitment to improving student outcomes for all students, which is why we are implementing an array of initiatives from enhancing educator preparation programs and teacher leadership to school turnaround efforts and an Achievement School District.”

    The following are some of the unique elements from Rhode Island’s approved plan as highlighted by the state:

    • Prioritizes challenging learning opportunities like the Advanced Course Network, investment in dual and concurrent enrollment, creation of a statewide Seal of Biliteracy, expansion of work-based learning opportunities, and an initiative to put computer science courses in every school in the state -- by 2025, Rhode Island intends to have 100 percent of graduates earn added credentials
    • Provides personalized learning opportunities like Pathway Endorsements, through which students can choose pathways that are aligned to their strengths and interests. Rhode Island will also award a Commissioner’s Seal for students have exceeded the expectations and requirements of the traditional high school diploma
    • Recruits teachers from across the state to serve as “Learning Champions” to allow teacher voice in statewide instructional decision-making. Other efforts include the convening of a statewide Leadership Advisory Council and the LeadRI Partnership, a public-private collaboration to provide leadership development opportunities to school and district leaders

    “The Rhode Island ESSA State Plan was created through extensive public engagement,” said commissioner Ken Wagner. “With support and feedback from our partners in the field, we set forth ambitious goals for student achievement; for shared, inclusive leadership; and for continuous improvement in our schools. This plan establishes the guardrails of student equity, while empowering schools and districts to innovate and lead so that every student graduates prepared for success.”