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Information for Parents

Advancing Equity

Fundamentally, ESSA is about creating a set of interlocking strategies to promote educational equity by providing support to districts and schools as they work to ensure that every student succeeds. New York State is committed to ensuring that all students succeed and thrive in school no matter who they are, where they live, where they go to school, or where they come from.

What is ESSA? Why does it matter? What do parents need to know?

Information for parents is available below:

Parent Dashboard

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is developing a Parent Dashboard to increase transparency and make information about school performance and other school-level data easier for parents and the public to access.

NYSED is gathering feedback from parents and stakeholders to guide the work of developing the Parent Dashboard. Parents, please complete this five-minute survey and tell us how we can make the Parent Dashboard as useful as possible.

ESSA Fact Sheets

These fact sheets for parents summarize and explain the final ESSA plan. The fact sheets are available in 15 languages.

ESSA Informational Video

This brief, parent-friendly video about ESSA implementation includes information on ESSA requirements and important changes.

School Accountability Designations

Under ESSA, schools receive one of three designations: In Good Standing, Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) school, or Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). Districts are designated as either In Good Standing or Target Districts. Both CSI and TSI schools are eligible for additional support. When low-performing schools fail to improve, they can be placed into Receivership, and if a school in Receivership does not make Demonstrable Improvement, the school may be assigned an Independent Receiver. Click on these links for information on school standings, receivership, and demonstrable improvement.

Approved New York State ESSA Plan

View New York State's ESSA plan, as well as a summary of the plan.

School Climate / Educating the Whole Child

A positive school climate promotes school safety, student self-esteem, emotional well-being, mental health, and lower incidences of substance abuse, student absenteeism, and suspensions. The New York State Education Department (NYSED) continues to promote initiatives to foster student engagement and thereby increase student achievement, safety, and wellness. Efforts will be expanded to provide capacity-building guidance; strategies; best-practice resources; and professional development for school administrators, instructional staff, and non-instructional staff in the following areas to advance these initiatives.

  • Dignity for All Students Act
  • Social Emotional Learning
  • Mental Health Education
  • Trauma Sensitive Schools
  • Restorative Practices and Reducing Exclusionary Discipline
  • School Climate Survey Pilot

Supporting Students with Disabilities

The New York State ESSA plan incorporates the principles of multitiered systems of support (MTSS) as a framework for both academic and behavioral instruction. MTSS is grounded in the belief that all students can learn and all school professionals are responsive to the academic and behavioral needs of all students. MTSS focuses on evidence-based practices, relies on student progress data to inform instructional decisions and ensures that each student, based on their unique needs, receives the level and type of support necessary to be successful.

Through its State Systemic Improvement Plan, NYSED is piloting the implementation of MTSS in 14 New York State schools. This pilot is designed to increase the capacity of school districts to implement, scale-up, and sustain evidence-based practices to improve outcomes for students with disabilities. The SSIP focuses on providing tiered intervention based upon students’ unique needs, using a lens that is responsive to each student’s social identity, culture and language.

The New York State ESSA plan also supports effective transition practices throughout a student’s educational experience and fosters coordinated transitions from early childhood education to postsecondary education. This emphasis on coordinated transitions directly aligns with the Department’s initiatives in transition planning for students with disabilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This alignment also promotes the development of schoolwide inclusive systems of transitions, based on a student’s individual needs, experiences, interests, and aspirations.

NYSED’s Special Education Quality Assurance Office (SEQA) is charged with monitoring school district implementation of federal and State laws and policy for students with disabilities. If a parent has a specific question or concern regarding their school district’s policies and practices, they are encouraged to contact the SEQA Regional Office located in their region of the State and speak to the SEQA Regional Associate assigned to their school district.

English Language Learners / Multilingual Learners (ELLs / MLLs)

Parents and families play a fundamental role in determining which program best addresses the social, cultural, and academic needs of their children. NYSED’s Office of Bilingual Education and World Languages strives to provide students whose home languages are other than English access to equity and excellence in education. Resources for parents of ELLs and MLLs include a parent guide, a parent orientation video, and a parent hotline. You will also find information about how children are identified as MLLs/ELLs, the kinds of programs available for MLLs/ELLs, when students can exit MLL/ELL programs and services, and how you can obtain additional information, materials, and resources from local schools.

Equitable Services for Nonpublic Schools

This guidance on equitable services for nonpublic schools is intended to assist LEAs and other entities receiving federal financial assistance to fulfill their consultation obligations under ESSA to provide equitable services to eligible private school students, teachers, and other educational personnel, and, under some programs, to parents.

Information about substantial equivalency of instruction is available here.

Financial Transparency

Building-level financial transparency under ESSA will help those interested in education learn more about the equity and effectiveness of our federal, state, and local educational resources. It is critical that we maximize every dollar to provide the best opportunities and improve outcomes for our students. Fiscal transparency reports will outline how much each school is spending per student and the source of the funds. These fiscal transparency reports will be issued for the first time in early 2020 for the 2018-19 school year. At the district level, they will inform conversations with districts about whether equitable resources are being provided to identified schools. At the state level, these reports can help inform future Board of Regents State Aid requests. Additional information will be available soon.

Complaint Procedures

The complaint procedures offer parents and other stakeholders a process to file complaints and allow for the timely resolution of such complaints. 

Contact Us

Contact the Office of Accountability at the New York State Education Department