Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Federal Funds (Title IV) Waiver – approved

On December 1, 2020, Frank T. Brogan, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education, released a letter offering flexibility regarding Title IV funds due to COVID- 19. Please see Commissioner’s Memo COM-21-056 for more information.DESE received approval on January 14, 2021, to implement these waivers.

Addendum to the Approved Arkansas ESSA plan – released for public comment on November 23, 2020

During the Vision for Excellence in Education and Arkansas Accountability System (ESSA Steering Committee) meeting held on November 18, 2020, the committee passed a motion to release the Arkansas Addendum to the ESEA Consolidated State Plan due to the COVID-19 National Emergency under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act for public comment. The draft addendum can be viewed at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1JSO5tOZ-U7dXBVlJfv1RyUxM2DosfRN0gDZbX-XQEX4/edit? usp=sharing The addendum is for the 2020-2021 school year only. Please see Commissioner’s Memo COM-21-049 for more information.
Submit public comment to ade.essacomments@arkansas.gov

Federal Funds Waiver – approved April 21, 2020

On April 6, 2020, the Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) submitted a letter to Frank Brogan, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, requesting a waiver for federal fund carry-over restrictions, period of availability of funds, Title IV requirements, and the definition of professional development.  The waiver was approved on April 21, 2020, by Frank Brogan (approval letter).  Submit public comment to ade.essacomments@arkansas.gov

Understanding the Federal Waivers – posted April 16, 2020

The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has developed a document to explain the impact of the federal waivers.  DESE will update the document as more information becomes available.  The document is available at https://docs.google.com/document/d/1N0fOukqQiuXGui7kmUUUFHysBJ02LCGL757LHKGwGSQ/edit?usp=sharing

Assessment, Accountability and Reporting Waiver - approved March 27, 2020

On March 23, 2020, The Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) submitted a letter to Frank Brogan, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, requesting a waiver from assessment, accountability and reporting 2020. The waiver was approved on March 27, 2020 by Frank Brogan (approval letter). Submit public comment to ade.essacomments@arkansas.gov

2019 School Report Cards - Posted

The final 2019 School Report Cards are posted on My School Info.  The public may access school, district, and state data on the report cards. To learn more about the report cards go to https://dese.ade.arkansas.gov/Offices/public-school-accountability/school-performance/report-card

2019 ESSA School Index Reports – Posted October 9, 2019

ESSA School Index reports are available to the public under the Report Card tab on My School Info.

Please watch this short video to learn how to access your school’s ESSA School Index report.

Approved Arkansas State Plan, Amended March 11, 2019

Please read the amended, approved plan: Arkansas State Plan (Amended and Approved).


Arkansas’ ESSA Plan Amendment Request Submitted to Secretary DeVos - Approved March 11, 2019

On January 8, 2019, the Arkansas Department of Education submitted a letter to Secretary DeVos requesting an amendment to Arkansas’ ESSA plan regarding long-term goals.  This is a request to revise reporting only, no request to change accountability.  The letter and the redline amendment request are available at Arkansas Letter to Secretary DeVos and Arkansas ESSA Plan with Amendment Request. The amendment was approved on March 11, 2019: Amendment Approval Letter from Frank T. Brogan, Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education.

Approved Arkansas State Plan, January 16, 2018


Please read the final plan and submission letter: Arkansas State Plan (Original).

Our plan has been recognized as one of only seven in the nation to receive a strong rating in three major categories for its new accountability system. Learn more at http://bit.ly/2moTdoc.


Informational Documents

Guide to ESSA Plan and a flyer about the differences between No Child Left Behind and ESSA are now available. Please read and share informational documents related to the Every Students Succeeds Act.

Topics include Vision for Excellence in Education, Arkansas Academic Standards, School Quality and Student Success, State Assessment System, and What is ESSA?

Archive of the Arkansas State Plan Process

Arkansas’ federal education accountability plan reflects more than a year and a half of ongoing collaboration, input and feedback provided by educators, parents and students around the state. The plan was submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on September 15, 2017. To learn more, visit the Stay Informed Archive page. The ADE Facebook Live Series: Understanding ESSA can be found on the archive page.

What is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)?

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, and reauthorized the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s education law that provides opportunity for all students.  Read the Every Student Succeeds Act at http://bit.ly/1TFr29X 

As part of the Vision for Excellence in Education, Arkansas is defining the  Arkansas Accountability System. Arkansas is committed to transparent communication with all stakeholdersESSA SummaryPlease see the log of meetings and presentations at http://bit.ly/2aKz0ma

What is my role as a stakeholder?

  1. Stay Informed. We invite you to to visit this webpage often for new information. Stakeholders may click here to sign up for the Stay Informed newsletter to receive the most current information about the ESSA process.
  2. Get Involved. Sign up to be an Ambassador and share the latest ESSA news with your colleagues, community members, friends and family. If you are interested in learning more about being an ambassasor, please complete the requested information and Ms. Tina Smith will be in contact with you. Thanks.  View the list of Ambassador Hosted Community Listening Forums.
  3. Advocate for Students. Committees will be asked to review the Arkansas Accountability System with the lens of student’s subgroups-English Language Learner/Title III, SPED, Economically Disadvantaged, Race/Ethnicity, Foster Children, Military Dependents, Homeless, Equity for All Students. To access the application to be a student advocate, please go to http://bit.ly/2b9yUlC.  
  4. Tune In. Watch the Steering Committee Meetings. The meetings were open to the public, live streamed, and recorded.
  5.     Access the Steering Committee agenda
  6.     Learn more about the ESSA Steering Committee members
  7.     View Steering Committee agenda, minutes and videos
  8. Submit Public Comment. Submit comments, questions, concerns and celebrations regarding ESSA.

Additional Resources

For more information, please contact:

Arkansas Department of Education
Division of Elementary and Secondary Education
Four Capitol Mall
Little Rock, AR 72201
Phone: 501-682-4475