PROCESS and PROTEST: Promising Practices
4. COLLABORATION: Maximize Your Resources
Work with outside partners to strengthen your engagement efforts. This can add resources, staff, intellectual capital, and new perspectives.
Massachusetts Enlisted Help: Coming into its ESSA consolidated plan development process, the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) already had a rich history of enlisting outside organizations to help on a variety of matters, including programming in districts and program evaluation. Specifically with regard to ESSA, DESE worked with:
- Mass, Inc. on outreach, including early morning “policy breakfasts” with stakeholders across the state; panel discussions and suggestions for how to better use existing data; and recommendations for how to advance equity and excellence under ESSA;
- The Rennie Center on an effort to “crowdsource” new accountability measures via convenings and poster presentations. The Rennie Center organized the meetings, and DESE attended, absorbed input, and provided immediate feedback to attendees.
- Sociedad Latina and a mix of groups, both national, like Education First, and community-based, on obtaining stakeholder feedback on the draft state ESSA plan.
Washington DC Extended Capacity: Washington DC’s “DC Staffing Data Collaborative” program is an initiative of the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), in partnership with LEA leaders. The Staffing Data Collaborative is intended to generate talent management data and insights to drive strategic staffing decisions at the LEA and state levels. This process includes a cross-LEA collaboration with a third-party expert research organization for the collection and review of staffing data including teacher evaluations, retention rates, and the results of teacher surveys. The Collaborative offers state and LEA-level recommendations regarding the recruitment, preparation, development, evaluation, and retention of high-performing staff.
Michigan Targeted Funding: The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) worked with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Steelcase Foundation to support stakeholder engagement activities and improve its consultation with underserved and historically underrepresented communities. MDE has also already convened regional meetings in partnership with several community foundations. Discussions continue as to how to most effectively leverage this kind of outside support, but Michigan’s plan does mark a noteworthy effort to use private funds to improve equity through outreach. Going forward, MDE plans to use these kinds of resources to support regional community outreach such as forums on ESSA transition and implementation planning efforts and to develop technical assistance materials.
Room for Growth For All States:
Address power and privilege:Honest acknowledgement of equity and resource gaps can spur deeper and richer engagement with stakeholders. External partnerships can help SEAs and LEAs to meet their expanded responsibilities under ESSA.
- A Handbook for Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement: A Tool for SEAs
(Partners for Each and Every Child | July 2016)
- A Guide for Leaders Who Want to Use New Funding Flexibility in ESSA
(Chiefs for Change | April 2016)
- Stakeholder Engagement in ESSA: “People Support What They Help Create”
(Institute for Educational Leadership and the Coalition for Community Schools | 2016)
Additional examples of promising practices from states with recently submitted state plans (September and October, 2017) are forthcoming.