**New Leaders. (2017). Prioritizing leadership: Opportunities in ESSA for chief state school officers. Retrieved from https://newleaders.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/PrioritizingLeadership.pdf
Citing the tremendous connection between school leaders and student learning, the authors of this paper argue for the distribution of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) funds to support professional development for principals. Despite research findings that attribute 25 percent of a school’s influence on student learning to the principal, very little of Title II funds are spent on school leader professional development. The authors recommend that states (1) target up to 8 percent of their Title II funds towards school leader professional development, (2) rethink their approaches to school improvement, (3) devise new leadership strategies, and (4) apply for competitive federal grants to fund innovation. They further argue that ESSA is an acknowledgment that state leaders should forge their own paths to build new systems for school leader development. To that end, the authors encourage state chiefs to take a central role in visioning and legislating for a new era of leadership.
Chiefs for Change. (2016). Implementing change: Rethinking school improvement strategies and funding under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Retrieved from http://chiefsforchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/School-Improvement-Strategies-Under-ESSA.pdf
This guidance document provides information about ESSA funds to state education agencies (SEAs). The piece begins with a brief overview of ESSA, explains how the law requires states to identify schools in need of improvement, and summarizes the lessons learned from the School Improvement Grants that were part of No Child Left Behind. The piece highlights five strategies for improvement that SEAs should consider when they are deciding how to use their Title I set-aside funds: 1) having a primary focus on high quality instruction that is supported by data, 2) facilitating collaboration to share best practices, 3) supporting strong human capital decisions, 4) increasing students’ time in school through programs or other scheduling models, and 5) encouraging empowerment and autonomy at the site level. The authors expand upon other key requirements of the law with examples and considerations for implementation.
**This document is considered a priority reading.