Transparency in Stakeholder Engagement:

A Tool to Help Demonstrate How Stakeholders Informed the State ESSA Plan

Stakeholder engagement is a critical component of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)1. Under the law, states are required to engage specific stakeholders as they develop the consolidated state plan to submit to the U.S. Department of Education. But states should not only engage with their stakeholders because it’s required under the law – meaningful engagement is a best practice to ensure states create plans that will meet the needs of all children, especially those who have been traditionally underrepresented, underserved or historically marginalized.  

In 2017, CCSSO published Developing a Comprehensive State Plan pursuant to the Every Student Succeeds Act: A Tool for Structuring Your Plan to provide guidance to states on how they might write their consolidated state plan under ESSA. CCSSO updated this tool in March 2017 to reflect changes made when Congress took action under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to repeal the U.S. Department of Education’s ESSA State Plans and Accountability regulations. As a result of this action, states were no longer required to provide as much detail on the steps they took to engage stakeholders in the submitted consolidated state plan. Still, CCSSO strongly encourages states to continue to include this information in the state plan, and in supplementary materials, to ensure all stakeholders clearly understand the process states used to meet the law’s requirements and can see how their feedback was incorporated into the submitted plan. To assist states in this effort, CCSSO has developed Transparency in Stakeholder Engagement: A Tool to Help Demonstrate How Stakeholders Informed the State ESSA Plan.  

This tool builds on the strategies and best practices provided in CCSSO’s prior stakeholder engagement resources, including Let’s Get This Conversation Started, Let’s Keep This Conversation Going and Making Sense of it All: How to Incorporate Stakeholder Feedback into Your State’s ESSA Plan. 

With this new tool, states have the opportunity to revisit the Stakeholder Engagement Checklist originally published in Let’s Get This Conversation Started and ensure the submitted ESSA plan clearly articulates how stakeholders informed the development of the plan and will continue to be engaged during implementation of the plan. In addition to the checklist, we have identified promising practices for how states can detail their engagement and outreach efforts in the submitted ESSA plan as well as examples from state plans submitted in spring 2017.  


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