No Child Left Behind - Flexibility Application Components

This document is adapted from materials supplied by the U.S. Department of Education.

A state's application for flexibility from the provisions of No Child Left Behind must include the following components.:

The Task:

A high-quality request will

  1. If a State Education Agency (SEA) has already met a principle, provide a description of how it has done so, including evidence as required; and
  2. If an SEA has not yet met a principle, describe how it will meet the principle on the required timelines, including any progress to date. In each such case, an SEA’s plan must include, at a minimum, the following elements for each principle that the SEA has not yet met:
  • Key milestones and activities: Significant milestones to be achieved in order to meet a given principle, and essential activities to be accomplished in order to reach the key milestones.
  • Detailed timeline: A specific schedule setting forth the dates on which key activities will begin and be completed and milestones will be achieved so that the SEA can meet the principle by the required date.
  • Party or parties responsible: Identification of the SEA staff (e.g., position, title, or office) and, as appropriate, others who will be responsible for ensuring that each key activity is accomplished.
  • Evidence: Where required, documentation to support the plan and demonstrate the SEA’s progress in implementing the plan. This ESEA Flexibility Request indicates the specific evidence that the SEA must either include in its request or provide at a future reporting date.
  • Resources: Resources necessary to complete the key activities, including staff time and additional funding.
  • Significant obstacles: Any major obstacles that may hinder completion of key milestones and activities (e.g., State laws that need to be changed) and a plan to overcome them.

Each request must include:

  • A table of contents and a list of attachments, using the forms on pages 1 and 2.
  • The cover sheet (p. 3), waivers requested (p. 4-5), and assurances (p. 5-6).
  • A description of how the SEA has met the consultation requirements: An SEA must meaningfully engage and solicit input from diverse stakeholders and communities in the development of its request.
  • A description of how the SEA meaningfully engaged and solicited input on its request from teachers and their representatives.
  • A description of how the SEA meaningfully engaged and solicited input on its request from other diverse communities, such as students, parents, community-based organizations, civil rights organizations, organizations representing students with disabilities and English Learners, business organizations, and Indian tribes.
  • An overview of the SEA’s request for ESEA flexibility
    • This overview is a synopsis of the SEA’s vision of a comprehensive and coherent system to improve student achievement and the quality of instruction and will orient the peer reviewers to the SEA’s request. The overview should be about 500 words.
  • Evidence and plans to meet the principles

Principle 1:

College- and career-ready expectations for all students

  • 1A: Adopt college- and career-ready standards
    • The State has adopted college- and career-ready standards in at least reading/language arts and mathematics that are common to a significant number of States, consistent with part (1) of the definition of college- and career-ready standards.
  • 1B: Transition to college- and career-ready standards
    • Provide the SEA’s plan to transition to and implement no later than the 2013–2014 school year college- and career-ready standards statewide in at least reading/language arts and mathematics for all students and schools
  • 1C: Develop and administer annual, statewide, aligned, high-quality assessments that measure student growth
    • The SEA is participating in one of the two State consortia that received a grant under the Race to the Top Assessment competition

Principle 2:

State-developed differentiated recognition, accountability, and support

  • 2A: Develop and implement a state-based system of differentiated recognition, accountability, and support
    • Provide a description of the SEA’s differentiated recognition, accountability, and support system…, the SEA’s plan for implementation of the differentiated recognition, accountability, and support system no later than the 2012–2013 school year
  • 2B: Set ambitious but achievable annual measurable objectives
    • Select the method the SEA will use to set new ambitious but achievable annual measurable objectives (AMOs) in at least reading/language arts and mathematics for the State and all LEAs, schools, and subgroups…
  • 2C: Reward schools
    • Describe the SEA’s methodology for identifying highest-performing and high-progress schools as reward schools. Describe how the SEA will publicly recognize and, if possible, reward highest-performing and high-progress schools.
  • 2D: Priority schools
    • Describe the SEA’s methodology for identifying a number of lowest-performing schools equal to at least five percent of the State’s Title I schools as priority schools.
  • 2E: Focus Schools
    • Describe the SEA’s methodology for identifying a number of low-performing schools equal to at least 10 percent of the State’s Title I schools as “focus schools.”
  • 2F: Provide incentives and supports for other Title I schools
    • Describe how the SEA’s differentiated recognition, accountability, and support system will provide incentives and supports to ensure continuous improvement in other Title I schools that…are not making progress in improving student achievement …
  • 2G: Build SEA, Local Education Agency (LEA), and school capacity to improve student learning
    • Describe the SEA’s process for building SEA, LEA, and school capacity to improve student learning in all schools and, in particular, in low-performing schools and schools with the largest achievement gaps

Principle 3:

Supporting effective instruction and leadership

  • 3A: Develop and adopt guidelines for local teacher and principal evaluation and support systems
    • Select the option that pertains to the SEA
  • 3B: Ensure LEAs implement teacher and principal evaluation and support systems
    • Provide the SEA’s process for ensuring that each LEA develops, adopts, pilots, and implements…high-quality teacher and principal evaluation and support systems consistent with the SEA’s adopted guidelines

Updated 12/01/2011