Implementing ESSA

See the 2017-2018 ESSA e-learning module here

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA):

What Goes Into Effect in 2017-2018?

The 2017-2018 school year serves as another year of transition to the new ESSA law. Some components of ESSA take effect this coming school year while much of the data reporting, school improvement and accountability requirements are not in place until 2018-2019.

This overview serves as a planning resource for districts and charter schools. A separate transition year document outlines the 2017-2018 plans related to data reporting, accountability and school improvement.

What Goes Away in 2017-2018?

  • Highly qualified educator requirements are eliminated. See below for updated license-related information.
  • Multiple Measurements Rating (MMR), Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in its entirety, and Annual Measurable Achievement Objective (AMAO) data will not be released in 2017 and will no longer be located on the Minnesota Report Card. Historical data will be archived in the data center. World’s Best Workforce (WBWF) Data Profiles will be released at the same time as assessment results. More information.
  • Priority and Focus schools are not required to send parent notification letters.
  • Districts are not required to send parent notification letters regarding AMAO status for Title III.
  • A hold-harmless provision, based on the amount of Title II funds a Local Education Agency (LEA) received in FY 2001 under the former Eisenhower Professional Development and Class-Size Reduction programs, has been eliminated. More information on Part A.

What Stays the Same in 2017-2018?

  • The Minnesota Common Course Catalogue (MCCC) is a mandatory data collection of LEA course classifications to the state of Minnesota. The data collection for MCCC is required by federal legislation (HR 2272 America Competes Act of 2007 SEC. 6401) and state legislation (Minnesota Statute, Section 120B.35). Contact MCCC.
  • Annual testing remains for reading and math in grades 3-8 and once in high school, and science in grades 5, 8 and once in high school. Annual English language development testing remains for English Learners in grades K-12. Contact Statewide Testing.
  • Qualifications for instructional Title I paraprofessionals have not changed. The qualifications include two years of study at an institute of higher education (60 semester credits), an associate’s degree, or demonstrated knowledge through testing (typically accomplished by obtaining a minimum of 460 on the ParaPro test). More information. Contact Kat Anthony-Wigle.
  • LEAs should create and regularly update local plans for ensuring low-income students, students of color and American Indian students have equitable access to effective, experienced, in-field and diverse teachers as part of the World’s Best Workforce requirements. Contact WBWF.

English Learner Education and Title III Program

  • Parent notifications required under ESSA must be made accessible to parents in a language they understand. More information on ESEA.
  • LEAs generating a Title III allocation of less than $10,000 may form a consortium to access Title III dollars. More information on Title III.

Contact the English Learner Division.

Title I and Title II Programs

  • Priority and Focus schools must set aside 20 percent of their Title I funds for activities to support the school’s improvement plan.
  • The Title I Schoolwide Program model can be implemented if at least 40 percent of a school’s enrollment is eligible for free or reduced price lunch. The Minnesota Department of Education plans to implement a waiver to the 40 percent threshold beginning in the 2018-2019 school year. More information on Part A.
  • LEAs may transfer up to 100 percent of the funds it receives under certain authorized ESEA programs (currently Title II only) into Title I, Part A.
  • Federal regulations regarding carryover of funds under ESEA remains the same in each of the programs authorized under ESEA. More information on Part A.

Contact ESEA.

Foster Care

LEAs must collaborate with county/tribal social service agencies to develop transportation plans for foster care students. The written plans must include how transportation for foster care students will be provided and funded. Foster care students must be immediately enrolled if they change schools as a result of foster care placement.  Foster care students “awaiting placement” are no longer included in the definition of homeless and are not eligible for McKinney-Vento services. Foster Care students are to remain in their school of origin if it is in their best interest to do so. MDE has established a foster care point-of-contact. LEAs must, if provided a foster care point-of-contact by the county agency, assign a foster care point-of-contact. More information on Foster Care.

Contact ESEA.

What is New in 2017-2018?

  • School districts that receive at least a $40,000 Indian Education formula grant under Title VI are to ensure tribal consultation requirements under section 8538 of ESSA are met. The Minnesota Department of Education works with the Tribal Nations Education Committee as the primary consultative body around all issues related to Indian Education. The department also engages in consultation with the eleven tribal nations individually regarding significant issues such as ESSA and around other issues and concerns about federal law and American Indian student success. Contact the Indian Education Division.
  • Title IV, Part A: Academic Support and Enrichment Grants will be available in the 2017-2018 school year as a competitive grant program. Districts will receive more information as details become available. Contact Doug Paulson.
  • Programs authorized under ESEA require LEAs to select relevant, evidence-based interventions for implementation in all programs. LEAs must select interventions supported by strong evidence or moderate evidence in a similar setting and/or population to the ones being served. The What Works Clearinghouse uses rigorous standards to review evidence of effectiveness on a wide range of interventions and also summarizes the settings and populations in the studies.


  • All teachers will need to be appropriately licensed or the appropriate Board of Teaching special permission for their teaching assignment.
  • English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers who provide instruction or teach credit-bearing coursework to English learners in core content areas must hold both an ESL license or permission as well as the appropriate core content license or permission. As a transition to the new requirements, ESL teachers who provided content instruction to English learners under the previous highly qualified provision may continue to do so in the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years.

Contact Kat Anthony-Wigle.

English Learner Education and Title III Program

  • Revised, statewide English Learner (EL) identification and program exit procedures and criteria are in effect. All LEAs must use the standardized, statewide EL criteria. More information on English Learners.
  • English learners that arrived in the U.S. within the previous 12 months (also referred to as recently-arrived English learners) should take all assessments, including the science, math and reading MCA as well as ACCESS for ELLs, in the 2017-2018 school year.
  • In addition to professional development and effective language education instructional programs, LEAs must direct a portion of their Title III allocation to appropriate family, school and community engagement activities.
  • Annual parent notification regarding English Learner identification and language instruction is now required by all LEAs receiving funds under Title I. MDE will provide templates for this and other parent notifications required by ESSA. More information on ESEA.

Contact the English Learner Division.

Title I and Title II Programs

  • Districts with Title I allocations of $500,000 or more must set aside at least 1 percent of their allocation to carry out family, school and community engagement activities. Not less than 90 percent of this set-aside must be distributed to Title I schools with the highest need.
  • The equitable share calculation for the nonpublic Title I program must be taken off the top of the LEA Title I allocation. MDE will post a preliminary nonpublic equitable share amount to be communicated with the nonpublic school during the required nonpublic consultation. Additionally, the department has appointed an Ombudsman to monitor and enforce the requirements of programs authorized under ESEA.
  • There is a significant change in the calculation formula for Title II under ESSA. 20 percent of each LEA’s allocation will be calculated based on the U.S. Census Bureau estimate of children age 5 through 17 living within district boundaries; 80 percent of each LEA allocation will be calculated based on the U.S. Census Bureau estimate of children age 5 through 17 living in poverty within district boundaries.
  • Rural Education Achievement Program (REAP): The Small, Rural School Achievement Program (SRSA) eligible districts must complete an annual federal grant application. The Rural, Low-Income Schools Program (RLIS) eligible districts must complete the state grant application (SERVS Financial). Dual-eligible districts must choose one grant under which to apply and receive funds each year. More information on REAP.

Contact ESEA.