ESSA Stakeholder Engagement
TEA ESSA Stakeholder Engagement Overview
Stakeholder engagement has been an important part of the development of the Texas state plan for the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). ESSA returns a significant amount of decision making back to the states, requiring them to establish their strategic vision and determine how they will implement provisions in the statute. TEA is acting on this opportunity to design and implement a broad, statewide vision and develop policies responsive to the needs of students, educators, families, and communities in our state.
TEA, in collaboration with the Texas Comprehensive Center (TXCC), designed and carried out a comprehensive, multi-pronged engagement strategy beginning in January 2016 to collect stakeholder input and feedback to help shape the agency’s strategic direction, inform the development of innovative education systems, and create a unified framework across state and federal policy. This feedback contributes to the foundation of TEA’s Strategic Plan and the Texas ESSA Consolidated State Plan and will inform ESSA implementation as it begins in the 2017–18 school year.
Aligning ESSA and TEA Strategic Plan
TEA’s approach to planning for ESSA implementation was strengthened by purposefully connecting it to the agency’s strategic planning initiative, aligning TEA strategic priorities with the vision for how ESSA will affect the accountability, funding, school improvement, and grant-making systems in Texas. By collecting feedback on both the Strategic Plan and the ESSA Consolidated State Plan during this period, TEA is better positioned to align these two plans and reach its goal of developing one plan representing a unified system that spans state and federal policy.
Stakeholder Engagement Process
As a requirement of ESSA, states must conduct outreach and gather input from various local stakeholders to inform development of their state plan. The stakeholder engagement process began in January 2016 and included in-person and virtual meetings with stakeholders, and the distribution of an online public survey. TEA, in collaboration with partners, planned meetings and conducted outreach to capture input and feedback that represent the diversity of Texas schools and the communities that support them. This included sessions at statewide meetings that targeted a wide range of stakeholder and advocacy groups, more than 40 meetings with regional service centers, and local meetings at 47 school districts. TEA held events in all geographic regions of the state and sought feedback representing rural, suburban, and urban perspectives. The comprehensive effort resulted in more than 200 in-person stakeholder feedback events.
Statewide meetings:TEA held over 70 stakeholder engagement sessions at various statewide meetings with a wide range of stakeholders and education advocates. These meetings, designed to provide tactical input on ESSA considerations, provided an overview of the statute and sought stakeholder input on areas such as school improvement, assessment, accountability, Title II, Title III, Title IV, and TEA’s consolidated grant application.
Regional Commissioner-led forums: Commissioner Morath led over 35 face-to-face forums with groups of regional superintendents. Superintendents provided direct feedback to the Commissioner on the TEA Strategic Plan and provided recommendations for improving assessment and accountability in the state. These meetings were held at the Education Service Centers (ESCs), covering all regions of the state.
Strategic planning meetings and focus groups: TEA held over 70 meetings focused on presenting and seeking input on TEA strategic priorities and development of the Statewide Strategic Plan. Forty-seven of these meetings were held at local school districts. Other meetings were conducted in collaboration with state education professional associations and TEA partners. Additionally, TEA, in partnership with Teach Plus, held focus groups across the state with teachers representing a variety of demographics and educational settings. The teachers engaged in facilitated discussions on how to reach key outcome indicators such as graduation rates and student achievement data and provided input on ESSA implementation.
Online public survey:TEA also invited the public to share their views on how Texas should implement provisions of ESSA through an online survey that addressed areas such as measuring school quality, supporting all students, provisions for school improvement, supporting excellent educators, challenging academic standards and academic assessments, and accountability, support, and improvement for schools. The survey was open between October 20, 2016, and November 18, 2016, and TEA received more than 22,500 completed survey responses.
Taking into consideration the responses collected at in-person meetings and by the online survey, TEA gathered feedback from the following groups:
- K–12 teachers
- K–12 education professionals
- Higher education professionals
- Early childhood education professionals
- Advocacy groups
- Charter school professionals
- Education Service Centers
- School boards
- Governor’s office
- Local education agencies
- State agencies
- State legislators
- Parents and guardians with students currently enrolled in school
- School administrators
- Private school professionals
- Instructional support specialists
- Business leaders
- Community members