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Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): What It Means for DC Public Schools

Every year, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education releases the DC School Report Card. A key feature of the DC School Report Card is the School Transparency and Reporting (STAR) Framework Rating of overall school performance, which is a requirement under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Within this framework, schools are rated from 1 to 5 STARs, with 5 being the highest.

OSSE designed the School Report Card to provide families with a range of information, including school points of pride, academic performance, attendance, and each school’s STAR Rating. The STAR Framework contains multiple areas of school performance, including PARCC results and growth, re-enrollment, attendance, and graduation rates, when applicable. These points are totaled for the school overall and for each group of students, including students’ race/ethnicity group, students with disabilities, English Learners, and students who are At-Risk, resulting in the school’s score (up to 100 points) and rating from 1 to 5 STARs.

In order to ensure DCPS stakeholders are informed about the STAR Framework and individual school-level ratings, each school community communicates with students, staff, and families about school-level data, school-level goals, accomplishments, and focus areas for growth. Engagement around school improvement will be ongoing throughout the school year and include Local School Advisory Teams (LSATs) and other key stakeholder groups.

Across all 8 wards, 67 DCPS schools received a three STAR Rating or higher for School Year 2018-2019. This is a result of strong school cultures where every student feels loved, challenged, and prepared, and a focus on supporting students furthest from opportunity. DCPS continues to improve outcomes for all students and 34 DCPS schools across all 8 wards received a higher STAR Rating compared to last year. As we celebrate the district’s progress, DCPS also recognizes that the results reflect the persistent opportunity gaps that impact DCPS schools and communities. DCPS is committed to providing a great school in every neighborhood at every grade level, and will continue to work with school communities to set every DCPS student up for post-secondary success.

In DCPS’ five-year strategic plan, A Capital Commitment, DCPS committed to increasing the number of excellent schools throughout the district. The district is focused on core improvement strategies, including developing educators, supporting high-quality instruction, and building engaging curriculum. Community members can access a snapshot of every school’s Comprehensive School Plan, which gives school-specific information on key focus areas of growth and improvement.

One (1) STAR Schools performing at the bottom 5 percent of the state accountability system and those with a graduation rate under 67 percent are designated as Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) schools. Schools classified as needing improvement and support are required to develop and implement an effective plan to improve student outcomes in partnership with stakeholders (including principals and other school leaders, teachers, and parents). In school year 2018-19, DCPS collaborated with school communities to complete a Needs Assessment, Resource Equity Analysis, and a three-year School Improvement Plan for each of these schools.

DCPS recognizes that some schools need to accelerate progress, and the district is prioritizing supports, resources, and innovative approaches to learning to ensure that all schools are on the pathway to excellence.

For more information, please visit the following resources:

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