By: Hayin Kim, Partners for Each and Every Child
Stakeholders – students, families, educators, community leaders and partners — represent the core beliefs and needs of the communities and students they serve, and must play a greater role in ensuring educational equity and excellence. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) offers local leaders an opportunity to work with stakeholders to shape their state’s educational equity policy agenda. Stakeholders – students, families, educators, community leaders and partners — represent the core beliefs and needs of the communities and students they serve, and must play a greater role in ensuring educational equity and excellence. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) offers local leaders an opportunity to work with stakeholders to shape their state’s educational equity policy agenda.
ESSA requires each state, district, and school to consult with stakeholders on issues ranging from how best to disburse federal funds, to how to support schools that serve struggling or high-need students. The specific consultation requirements vary across programs, but the focus on engagement is consistent — states and districts have ample opportunity to commit to engagement with all stakeholders in an ongoing and meaningful way.
To support these efforts, Partners for Each and Every Child (Partners for) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) developed Meaningful Local Engagement Under ESSA — a guide for local education agencies (LEAs) and school leaders as they engage with stakeholders on ESSA and other policy and decision-making opportunities.
What Do We Mean By ‘Stakeholder Engagement’?
Stakeholders refers to the diverse array of community members who are involved and invested in districts, schools, programs, and outcomes for students.
Engagement is the process of communicating to, learning from, and partnering with stakeholders that acknowledges the unique needs and strengths of the stakeholders involved. We believe that stakeholder engagement requires collaboration and should be meaningful: it should be inclusive, clear, effective, and ongoing in order to support educational equity and excellence, especially for our most vulnerable students and schools.
What is in the Handbook?
Part 1: LEA & School Planning: Why Local Engagement?
Part 1 connects engagement around local planning to the new state system under ESSA, aligning engagement with local decision-making.
Part 2: Making Engagement More Effective
Recognizing the differing information, participation, and engagement needs and assets of various stakeholder groups, Part 2 offers a compiled set of engagement resources, tailored to meet the needs of specific constituent groups, including:
– Students and Youth
– Parent, Families, and Guardians
– Educators (Teachers and Leaders)
– Rural Communities
– Tribal Leadership and Native Communities
– Leveraging Community Partnerships
Part 3: Tools for Building an Engagement Strategy
Part 3 includes four resources to begin understanding and strategizing around engagement at the local level.
Part 4: Reference Material
Thank you to California Community Schools Network members who helped review the handbook.
For more on how state engagement efforts under ESSA have been meaningful thus far, and how we can continue to share the responsibility for educational equity and excellence, see our review of ESSA state plans submitted in April/May 2017 – Process and Protest.