Massachusetts Transition to ESSA

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) is using the 2016 calendar year to plan for its transition to the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act, and to begin preparing a consolidated state plan that it anticipates submitting to the U.S. Department of Education in March 2017. With a few exceptions, ESSA will first take effect at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.

For Massachusetts schools and districts, the most notable changes under the law will relate to the design of the state’s school and district accountability and assistance system.

 Stakeholder Outreach

ESE began its transition to ESSA by focusing on changes to its current school and district accountability and assistance system. The work has been organized into four phases:

  1. Listening (Spring 2016): Asking a broad range of stakeholders for their thoughts about the purpose and design of the state’s accountability and assistance system
  2. Modeling (Summer/Fall 2016): Developing specific proposals based on the feedback we heard in the listening phase
  3. Listening (Fall 2016): Sharing our draft proposals with stakeholders to gain further feedback.
  4. Revising (Winter 2016-17): Refine and improve proposed modifications based on additional feedback from stakeholders

Modifications to the accountability and assistance system will be implemented at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year.

Community Forums on ESSA

In November and December 2016, ESE will be hosting a series of public community forums on ESSA. To participate in a forum, please register online at

If you unable to attend one of our public forums, please give us your thoughts via our online ESSA survey.

Opportunities to Provide Feedback on Accountability & Assistance System Design

In spring 2016, ESE launched an online feedback form to gather high-level feedback from a variety of stakeholders about Massachusetts' school and district accountability and assistance system. ESE heard from approximately 2,200 groups and individuals on issues such as priorities for the system, specific accountability measures used, and the types of supports and assistance that schools and district should receive.

In fall 2016, ESE will develop specific proposals based on the input collected during the initial listening phase and will share draft proposals with stakeholders for additional feedback.

Individuals or organizations interested in providing additional feedback may email letters to at any time.

Opportunities to Provide Feedback on Other Aspects of ESSA

In fall 2016 ESE will notify stakeholders about different ways to provide input and feedback on Massachusetts’ overall consolidated state plan under ESSA. To have your organization added to the list of stakeholders to be notified, please email

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