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    October 26, 2022

    ESSA Sets a Foundation for Student Safety and Wellbeing

    Who doesn’t want all K-12 students to succeed? We all do, of course. Federal support funds to help student success flow to states, districts, and local schools. Today, schools rely on Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) to get funding for programs that help all K12 students achieve. Title IV-A specifically focuses on breaking down barriers for disadvantaged and high-needs students.

    Title IV-A provides states more decision-making power and provides them with greater flexibility in how to set, measure, and be accountable for how they use funds to meet these three critical goals:

    1. Providing all students with access to a well-rounded education
    2. Improving school conditions in ways that support student learning
    3. Improving the use of technology for academic achievement and digital literacy

    As part of Title IV-A, must consult with a broad array of stakeholders in developing their plans to ensure that funds address the needs of all students.

    Developing a Title IV-A Plan Using an Inclusive Consultation Process

    By law, states must engage stakeholders in designing, developing, and reviewing Title IV-A plans. While ESSA doesn’t provide a list of stakeholders that states must consult, they are likely to include:

    • Parents
    • State education officials
    • District superintendents
    • School principals, teachers, counselors, and other pupil support staff
    • Local school boards and community-based partner
    • Local and state government representative
    • Others with relevant and demonstrated expertise

    While stakeholder responsibilities vary from state to state, it’s important to work with a wide variety of stakeholders, starting as early as possible to get the appropriate input, resources, and expertise.

    Accountability is one of the primary responsibilities under ESSA

    It’s not enough for states to develop and implement ESSA plans that meet ESSA goals. The law holds schools accountable for making progress using four mandatory indicators, plus a fifth to be determined by the state. The four mandatory measurements are academic achievement, academic progress, English language proficiency, and school graduation rates. The state determines the fifth indicator.

    By far, the most common fifth indicator is absenteeism, a rising problem that results in students falling behind and dropping out. Many factors cause absenteeism, with at-risk children suffering the most damage academically from excessive absences. These sub-groups include those with unmanaged health conditions or disabilities and those suffering from the effects of bullying, overly punitive discipline policies, negative school climate, or a lack of supportive relationships at school. Using absenteeism as a performance indicator helps identify which schools have advanced and which should receive a larger share of ESSA funding.

    How Can Schools Use ESSA funds to Support Student Health and Safety?

    Let’s zero in on another key issue addressed by Title IV-A, the rise of mental, emotional, and behavioral problems affecting student learning. ESSA rules include that certain districts must use at least 20 percent of ESSA funds on efforts to improve student mental and behavioral health, school climate, or school safety. STOPit Solutions’ wide array of safety and wellness supports fit well in several categories.

    Allowable areas for funding include:

    • Improving school-based mental health support, including early identification of mental health symptoms, drug use, and/or violence.
      • How STOPit Supports: HELPme program, Teletherapy assessments and treatment, SEL and Wellness Center, NeuroResilience program
    • Training school personnel in areas including student health and prevention of suicide, violence, substance abuse, bullying, and harassment
      • How STOPit Supports: Panic Alert training, Anonymous Reporting System (ARS) training, Behavioral Threat Assessment training, and HELPme program training for staff, students, and parents.
    • Mentoring and school counseling, with a focus on children who are at risk of academic failure, dropping out, criminal or delinquent activities, or substance abuse
      • How STOPit Supports: HELPme program, Teletherapy assessments and treatment, SEL and Wellness Center, NeuroResilience program
    • Providing technology platforms for learning and crisis prevention.
      • How STOPit Supports: Anonymous Reporting System (ARS), HELPme program, Teletherapy assessments and treatment, SEL and Wellness Center, NeuroResilience program
    • Promoting a safe school climate and supportive, non-exclusionary discipline.
      • How STOPit Supports: Panic Alert, Anonymous Reporting System (ARS), Behavioral Threat Assessment, Student Online Surveillance, HELPme program, Teletherapy assessments and treatment, SEL and Wellness Center, NeuroResilience program
    • Developing relationship-building skills to recognize and prevent coercion, violence, or abuse
      • How STOPit Supports: HELPme program, Teletherapy assessments and treatment, SEL and Wellness Center, NeuroResilience program

    Learn more about available funds in your area.


    Develop an ESSA Plan Using the Right Strategies

    Title IV-A is complex due in part to its flexibility, making it difficult to create a consolidated plan. Using the right technologies is one way to address numerous ESSA priorities surrounding school safety, suicide prevention, intervening in crises, training, and other factors that affect student achievement.

    When discussing technologies for Title IV-A plans, consider the suite of safety and wellness supports from STOPit Solutions. STOPit’s mobile technology can prevent and intervene in situations faced by students, staff, and families at risk or in crisis.

    Help Me Guide to Mental Health Ebook

    Tag(s): k12 , Title IV-A , ESSA

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