This time last year, I wrote a series of blogs about the ESSA consultation process. I hope that the information and consultation tips I provided were helpful and made your experience consulting with the public school district productive for you and, ultimately, for your students. I also hope the recommendations in those blogs serve as good reminders as you head into your consultation meetings this spring.
By now you probably know that under ESSA, the stated goal for the consultation process isreaching agreement. Hopefully, many of you have experienced a positive change in the consultation process, and—as a result—more collaboration, better listening to your concerns, more focus on the needs of your students. Unfortunately, I know from visiting and talking with many of you that this is not always the case and that reaching an agreement remains a goal that is difficult to attain.
I think it is useful to first review how the U.S. Department of Education (ED) defines “the goal of reaching an agreement” in its guidance regarding the consultation process. The following elements of the consultation process are contained in answer to this question posed by ED:
What does “the goal of reaching agreement” between an LEA and appropriate private school officials entail?
- The process for reaching agreement is grounded in timely and meaningful consultation.
- Key issues relevant to the equitable participation of private school students and teachers are discussed during consultation.
- The process provides ample time and a genuine opportunity for all parties to express they views, to have their views seriously considered, and to discuss viable options for ensuring equitable participation.
- The LEA will not have made any decisions that impact the equitable participation of private school students prior to consultation and will not have created a blanket rule that precludes private school students and teachers from receiving certain services authorized under the applicable programs.
- The timeline for the consultation process is discussed in the beginning of the process.
- The LEA provides adequate notice of the consultation meetings to ensure meaningful consultation and the likelihood of this involved will be well prepared with the necessary information and data for decision-making.
- The consultation begins well before the implementation of services.
- The consultation process establishes positive and productive working relationships, makes planning effective, and continues throughout implementation of the equitable services.
- Consultation ensures that the services provided meet the needs of eligible students and teachers
Has this been your experience? How can you be the change-maker to move the consultation process into a positive direction?
Reaching an agreement, the required topics for consultation, safeguards to ensure agreement is reached, and techniques for effectiveness will be included in my upcoming webinar on May 15. I hope you’ll join the webinar for more information on making consultation effective in meeting the needs of your students.