Annual cycles of identification are required under two major federal laws: the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Identifications under each law use specific data and criteria to identify schools and districts that are having difficulty meeting the needs of all students. For example, a school identified under ESSA may have a persistent achievement gap, or a district identified under IDEA may show a pattern of identifying students for special education in ways that are racially disproportionate. These types of issues can be difficult to detect without looking at specific data.
Identifications bring issues to light and allow the DPI to reach out and make sure schools and districts have the tools, resources, and supports they need to move forward and continuously improve.
Through the Secure Access File Exchange (SAFE) system, districts receive the following reports with federal identification data each year:
- ESSA Accountability Report (school identifications) (preliminary in Dec, final in Feb/Mar)
- LEA Determinations (IDEA) (preliminary in Dec, final in Feb/Mar)
- District Summary—ESSA and IDEA (preliminary in Dec, final in Feb/Mar)
- Racial Equity in Special Education (IDEA disproportionality) (final in Feb/Mar)
ESSA identification data and a partially redacted version of LEA determination data are made public in March/April. Disproportionality information is sensitive and is not made public.
Sample reports are available in the Resources section below.
Requirements for Identified Schools and Districts
The information below is an overview. The DPI provides detailed requirements and deadlines, as well as annual Progress-to-Exit Reports where applicable, to districts that have been identified or have identified schools.
The framework for all of the requirements is continuous improvement. The resource section on this page contains key documents that situate federal requirements within DPI's continuous improvement framework, provide a guiding rubric for monitoring and review, and connect the timeline of required actions and submissions with a calendar of opportunities for support and learning.
A handout with detailed exit calculation information for ESSA-identified schools is available on the Federal Accountability (ESSA) page.
- Continuous Improvement Plan Flexibility Memo—Information on flexibility related to current requirements for federally identified districts (ESSA and IDEA)
- Special Education COVID-19 page—Information on the impact of COVID-19 on IDEA in Wisconsin
- OEA COVID-19 page—Information on the impact of COVID-19 on accountability in Wisconsin
- DPI COVID-19 page—Compilation of COVID-19 information for schools
Improvement Planning Tools
- Continuous Improvement Criteria and Rubric: In addition to providing a general framework for your continuous improvement work, this document connects federal requirements to specific components of the process and provides a detailed description of "accomplished" and "exemplary" characteristics used for monitoring and review (look for the key on page 6).
- Timeline of Recommended Actions for Improving Achievement and Closing Gaps: This document connects the timeline of required actions and submissions with a calendar of opportunities and recommended activities to support a successful improvement cycle.
- Data Inquiry Journal (DIJ): This tool, available through WISEdash for Districts, works with WISEdata and takes you through the process of improvement planning. Using the Data Inquiry Journal to create your plan helps ensure that it will meet all ESSA and IDEA requirements. To learn more:
- DIJ Overview Presentation
- DIJ At-A-Glance Document
- Resource Inequity Data Tool (Template for high school) (Template for non-high school): This tool, available in SAFE, helps you assess the alignment of resource allocation (human and material) to equity goals and make changes that empower your improvement efforts. Using this tool helps you meet ESSA requirements related to LEA-level resource inequities.
- WISElearn resources: WISElearn is a compilation of resources and instructional materials organized by topic. WISElearn's Continuous Improvement group offers a set of DPI-curated resources to support your improvement cycle. Resources are continually updated and improved, and you do not need to join the group to access them. Here's a sampling of what you'll find:
- Resources, including a list of online databases, to help find and evaluate potential evidence-based improvement strategies
- Worksheets for articulating values and beliefs to align planning
- Tools for examining current programs
- Resources from the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN)
Evidence-Based Improvement Strategies
- Evidence for ESSA website, with the most up-to-date and reliable information on programs that meet ESSA evidence standards.
- WISElearn resources around evidence-based improvement strategies
Informing and Including Parents & Stakeholders
- ￼Local stakeholder engagement guidance and resources
- ESSA-IDEA Federal Accountability Key Points for Stakeholders (2019)
Submitting School-Level Plans
- WISEgrants handout about Submitting School-Level Continuous Improvement Plans & Evidence Based Improvement Strategies
Comprehensive Coordinated Early Intervening Services (CCEIS)
(related to identifications for racial disproportionality in special education)
- CSI Planning Grants and CSI Implementation Grants
- IDEA flow-through & preschool formula grant
- Using Title I and Title II Funds for Educator Rewards and Incentives in Identified Schools.
- Connecting the Results of Your Root Cause Analysis to How You Spend Your Federal Funds (presentation at the 2020 Federal Funding conference)
- LEAs with federal identifications can schedule a Microsoft Teams meeting with DPI staff through this Bookings link. Multiple staff with relevant expertise will attend, so you can have all your questions answered with one call.
- Technical Assistance Network for Improvement (TA Network): Staff at your CESA—including data experts trained in the WISExplore process—are ready with coordinated supports for your continuous improvement. TA Network Contacts by CESA
- Title I Network: Provides free or reduced cost technical assistance to Title I districts and schools: Title I Network Contacts by CESA
- DPI Title I Consultant Directory by LEA
- DPI Special Education LEA Contacts
- A list of accountability trainers by CESA and District are available on the Accountability Resources page.
- DPI’s Office of Educational Accountability (OEA): firstname.lastname@example.org
- Wisconsin Response to Intervention (RtI) Center
- Leading for Learning—Achieving Educational Equity: The annual Leading for Learning Summit kicks off a year-long series of professional development opportunities for school-based teams.
- Disproportionality Technical Assistance Network
- Wisconsin Response to Intervention (RtI) Center
- Promoting Excellence for All, DPI's e-course on educational equity, can be taken individually and also offers a facilitator’s guide to support groups taking the course together.
A chronology of district administrator group e-mails can be found at https://dpi.wi.gov/administrators/e-mail.