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April 17, 2018

Moving Forward with the Every Student Succeeds Act: 6 Tips to Support Implementation

Based upon the influx of news about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), implementation at the state level is moving ahead. States across the nation are busy designing their state reports cards, implementing new accountability systems, planning for school-level needs assessments, and distributing their Title IV funds. 

There is great evidence showing that states have taken ESSA’s focus on the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model to heart. For example, 36 states and the District of Columbia have included chronic absenteeism within their state accountability systems. In addition, five states included a measure of access to physical education (KY, MD, GA, MI, LA) and three included a measure of physical fitness (CT, VT, ND). States are continuing to engage the community and work toward systems of support that address a wide variety of student needs.

There are many ways ESSA can be leveraged to address chronic absenteeism and support student health and wellness, and these opportunities continue to exist as states move into the implementation phase.

How can you advocate for the integration of health and wellness into education policy and practice? Here are our 6 tips:

  1. See how your state is doing on ESSA implementation.
  2. Brush up on the basics of ESSA and learn how ESSA can support student health and wellness with our ESSA FAQ.
  3. Read Using Needs Assessments to Connect Learning + Health: Opportunities in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).
  4. Find out how to design a school improvement plan that addresses the needs of the whole child.
  5. Join your local Wellness Committee and help the Committee advocate for health and wellness during ESSA-required needs assessments.
  6. Sign your school up for the Healthy Schools Program, which provides school and site level assessment data for use in needs assessments and professional development planning.

Keep up on the progress states are making in integrating health and wellness during ESSA implementation by signing up to receive monthly ESSA updates from Healthier Generation and the Healthy Schools Campaign.

Nancy Katz

Senior Director, Content and Partnerships and National Advisor, Nutrition

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