Maryland State Board of Education Takes Next Step on State ESSA Plan
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Maryland State Board of Education Takes Next Step on State ESSA Plan

School Accountability and Improvement Proposal Delivered to Governor, General Assembly

BALTIMORE –The Maryland State Board of Education yesterday approved the State’s plan for the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the federal law requiring state action on school improvement.

The ambitious plan sets into place targets for schools and systems and outlines assistance programs for schools that are not meeting the grade. Maryland developed its plan after unprecedented outreach to citizens across the State.

The Governor, General Assembly, and the general public will weigh in on the plan over the next month. The State Board in August is set to review feedback and take its final vote. Maryland will submit its plan to the US Department of Education by September 18.

Yesterday’s approval came after 16 months of research and outreach by the Maryland State Department of Education. That effort compiled input from scores of educators, parents, and other stakeholders. MSDE held five regional listening sessions, solicited ideas through surveys, and met regularly in external groups since the process began in February 2016.

The result is a comprehensive plan to help navigate Maryland’s highly regarded public education system to a new level of student and school success.

• Accountability

Maryland’s ESSA plan aligns accountability measures to school improvement efforts in order to provide equitable opportunities for all students. By simplifying the current accountability system and its related school and local school system improvement programs, both educators and parents will gain a better understanding of how schools are doing.

Systems for elementary, middle, and high schools all focus on academic achievement, English language proficiency, and school quality/student success. While elementary and middle schools also focus on academic progress, high schools will be held accountable for the graduation rate.

Schools and school systems will be placed into one of five categories with a star ranking. Based on performance on the accountability measures, schools may be identified for supports to help them improve beginning in the 2018-19 school years. School success will be measured as follows:

Elementary School and Middle School Levels:

Academic Achievement – 20 percent on proficiency on English/Language Arts (ELA) and
mathematics

Academic Progress – 25 percent on growth for ELA and mathematics
10 percent on credit for completion of a well-rounded curriculum

English language Proficiency – 10 percent in achieving English language proficiency

School Quality/Student Success – 15 percent on chronic absenteeism
10 percent on a climate survey
10 percent on opportunities and access to a well-rounded curriculum

High School Level:

Academic Achievement – 20 percent on proficiency composite for English/Language Arts
(ELA) and mathematics

Graduation Rate – 15 percent for adjusted cohort graduation rate composite

English language Proficiency – 10 percent in achieving English language proficiency

Readiness for Postsecondary Success – 10 percent on track for graduation in 9th grade
10 percent on credit for completion of a well-rounded curriculum

School Quality/Student Success – 15 percent on chronic absenteeism
10 percent on a climate survey
10 percent on opportunities and access to a well-rounded curriculum

Student Group Size:

Maryland has established the minimum number of students for purposes of accountability as 10. The minimum will protect individual students from possible identification, consistent with the Family Education Rights to Privacy Act (FERPA).

• Support for Educators

Maryland’s ESSA plan also is designed to make certain that well-prepared teachers are available for all students. To do so, the plan seeks to improve the skills of educators, expand certification options, provide additional support to all educators, and set in place programs to ensure equitable access to effective educators.

Strengthening the Skills of Educators – Through establishing regional teacher learning centers, developing an online hybrid teacher education program, strengthening new teacher induction programs, and other ideas.

Expanding Certification Options – Through allowing National Board Certification as a route to Maryland certification for out-of-state teachers; adding an adjunct certificate to expand the pool of candidates in certain areas; revising the renewal requirements for the conditional certificate, and other ideas.

Improving Professional Development – Through expanding leadership capacity through the implementation of professional learning communities, online courses, and regional workshops; improving data literacy; creating a state-wide collaborative project for curricular support materials that will provide local systems the opportunity to share information, and other ideas.

Ensuring Equitable Access to Effective Educators – Through developing regional centers to support seamless teacher preparation and professional development, and by working with local systems to launch new incentives to help staff struggling schools with outstanding teachers.

• Support for Students

The State will use federal funding to increase the capacity of local systems and schools to provide students with access to a well-rounded curriculum.

Maryland’s ESSA plan will support local systems in providing programs that improve access and opportunity, strengthen access to STEM core concepts and programs, provide more college preparatory support, and boost fine arts options.

• More Information

Maryland’s complete ESSA plan will be available soon at MarylandPublicSchools.org.


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