Virginia | Understanding ESSA



April 30, 2015

VA: Superintendent Says Tests This Year Are Focused on Student Recovery, Not Accountability

April 27, 2021

Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane says that the state’s focus for spring testing this school year is to collect data on students’ academic needs in order to address pandemic disruption as schools reopen. Lane made the comments in a video shared by the...

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VA: Educators, Officials Anticipate Consequences of Enrollment Drops

March 8, 2021

Continuing a trend seen across much of the nation, Virginia’s public school system is grappling with a sharp decline in enrollment numbers, particularly for students entering kindergarten. As many parents chose to delay the start of their child’s kindergarten year to avoid an all-remote setting,...

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VA: State Announces 21st Century Competitive Grants to Support Community Learning

January 29, 2021

Virginia Superintendent James Lane last week announced the application process for up to thirty 3-year grants to support “community-based programs that provide tutoring, enrichment and counseling during non-school hours” in an effort to bolster existing and new programs that could help address pandemic-related learning loss....

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Virginia Seeking Public Comment On Proposed ESSA State Plan

September 14, 2020

The Virginia Department of Education is accepting feedback on three proposed changes to it’s ESSA state plan, all of which were introduced prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes would clarify requirements for students who take advanced math courses prior to the...

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Virginia’s School Ratings Waived for Second Year

August 4, 2020

Following the cancellation of state testing for the 2019-20 school year due to the spread of COVID-19, Virginia will waive its accreditation ratings for schools for the second year in a row. Data from the Virginia Standards of Learning tests, annually required by ESSA, typically...

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Virginia DOE annual report now provides per-pupil funding for each public school

July 22, 2020

For the first time since the Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law in 2015, Virginia’s annual School Quality Profiles report will include per-pupil spending data for each of its public schools, beginning with the 2018-19 school year. “Adding the school-level information to the...

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VDOE Makes PPE Data Public

July 22, 2020

In a press release last week, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane announced the addition of per-pupil spending data for each of the state’s public schools to the annual School Quality Profiles, Virginia’s version of a State Report Card. State school report cards and...

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Virginia Implements New Professional Development Program to Retain Novice Teachers

June 30, 2020

To mitigate teacher shortages, the Virginia Department of Education and the James Madison University College of Education have announced a new partnership called the Virginia New Teacher Support Program, which aims to retain novice teachers in the state. Under this program, first and second-year teachers...

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Virginia Department of Education Considers Assessments in Guidance for 2020-21 School Year

June 10, 2020

Barring a federal waiver of standardized testing requirements as outlined by the Every Student Succeeds Act in the next school year, Virginia officials are preparing plans to ensure that assessments can be given in the spring of 2021. The state’s Standards of Learning (SOL) tests...

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Virginia Receives CARES Act Funding

May 4, 2020

In Virginia, Superintendent of Public Instruction James Lane recently announced that public schools in the Old Dominion will soon be able to access $238.6 million in federal funding under the recently passed CARES Act. “Ninety percent of the funding, totaling more than $214.7 million, will pass...

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DOE Approves Virginia’s Application for Flexibility in Federal Education Funds

April 7, 2020

The U.S. Department of Education granted preliminary approval to “Virginia’s request for waivers from provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act and the General Education Provisions Act that govern how and when federal education funds must be spent by states and local school districts.” Without...

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Virginia Cancels Federally Mandated Standards of Learning Testing with DOE Approval

March 30, 2020

The U.S. Department of Education granted permission to the Commonwealth of Virginia “to cancel federally mandated Standards of Learning tests for the 2019-2020 school year.” Under the Every Student Succeeds Act, states are required “to administer annual assessments in reading and mathematics from third grade...

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Virginia Department of Education Awards 21st Century Grants

August 26, 2019

On August 26, VDOE announced that it is “awarding 28 grants to fund new 21st Century Community Learning Centers in 19 school divisions,” reports ABC 13 News. “The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program is authorized under Title IV, Part B, of the federal Elementary...

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Struggling Schools in Virginia, Equity, and ESSA

October 24, 2018

Virginia’s Department of Education has released a report identifying the state’s lowest-performing schools, Justin Mattingly reports for the Richmond Times Dispatch. Nineteen schools in Richmond were identified “as needing support” under ESSA. “This is the first year the state Education Department has identified schools that...

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All About ESSA as Old Dominion Begins School Year

September 2, 2018

Justin Mattingly reports for the Richmond Times-Dispatch that Virginia is in the midst of implementing its ESSA plan, which among other measures includes a new accreditation system. As the state puts its plan into practice, Mattingly provides timely answers “to common questions about ESSA, Virginia’s plan and what it...

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Faith Leader Not so Hot on Old Dominion’s ESSA Plan

March 5, 2018

Rev. Tony Suarez opines in The Virginian-Pilot that, “unfortunately for Virginians, an independent and bipartisan peer review of our state [ESSA] plan (published at uncovered some serious concerns about our schools’ transparency and accountability.”

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MN, NY, VA and WV Also Receive Fed. Feedback

December 20, 2017

Politico’s Morning Education reports that Minnesota, New York, Virginia and West Virginia also received federal feedback this week.

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VA’s New ESSA Plan Gives Credits to Students Who Show Growth

September 18, 2017

Student academic growth “will carry greater weight in evaluating Virginia schools” under the Commonwealth’s new ESSA plan, which has been submitted for federal approval. Virginia Department of Education officials “say a big change is that Virginia’s plan uses a metric that includes not just test...

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VA Dept. of Ed Proposes New Accountability System

August 8, 2017

The Virginia Dept. of Education is proposing a new accountability system. Under the new plan, “schools will be identified as requiring either ‘comprehensive support and improvement’ — when school-wide test scores fall short of benchmarks — or ‘targeted support and improvement’ — when a subgroup...

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Groups Express their Concern about VA’s ESSA Plan

July 26, 2017

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and the Legal Aid Justice Center wrote a letter to the state Dept. of Education expressing concern about its ESSA plan. The groups argue, “There have been few meaningful opportunities for public input since the draft’s release.” The...

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VA Dept. of Ed Releases Website that Puts Report Card Data into Context Useful for Parents

March 10, 2017

In response to the state report card provision under ESSA, the Virginia Dept. of Education released a website that “captures report card data” and “puts it into context that is meaningful and useful for parents, students and the general public.” Virginia State Superintendent Steven R. Staples stated that the “School...

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VA Dept. of Ed Announces Plans to Submit Final ESSA Plan in September

January 30, 2017

The Virginia Dept. of Education announced the state will submit its final ESSA plan in September. State Superintendent Steven Staples stated the pushback came from “uncertainty over how President Donald Trump might affect the law.” Staples does not want to submit the plan until “some...

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VA Likely to Postpone ESSA Plan Implementation

December 12, 2016

As reported by the Roanoke Times, Virginia will “likely take advantage” of the new regulations that allow states to postpone ESSA plan implementation. According to State Superintendent Steven Staples, “We may not have to rush to get that plan in now.”

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VA Launches Statewide ESSA Implementation Team and Digital Toolkit

July 19, 2016

Virginia Education Association has created a statewide ESSA implementation team and produced an online ESSA Digital Toolkit with resources to help constituents understand the law, creating your own ESSA team, recruiting members and presenting to local school boards.

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U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Releases State ESSA Primers

May 16, 2016

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s primers include individual state by state accountability system fact sheets, which detail each state’s current accountability system, what could change under ESSA, and what to be asking state leaders. See details about your state here.

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VA Releases Memo on Changes to Teacher Qualifications under ESSA

April 1, 2016

Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction with the state Department of Education released a memo to VA division superintendents outlining some key differences that are know at this time between teacher qualifications under NCLB and ESSA. Read more here.

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