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What is the Every Student Succeeds Act?

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the new K-12 federal education law, which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and replaces No Child Left Behind. It was signed into law in 2015 and will be phased in over the next few years. The law was designed to increase opportunities for local input and flexible decision making based on what communities and states need. A key goal of the new law is to ensure all students have access to a quality education—inside and outside the classroom.

To learn more about the opportunities for afterschool in ESSA, click here for a handy one-pager or keep reading below.


The law has 10 Titles (sections), three of which are very important for afterschool:


Title I

Includes school accountability and interventions (like afterschool) to help support students. Each state is now determining how schools will be held accountable (i.e., how to measure a good school) and local districts with community input will be expected to determine what supports they need to be successful.

Title II

Includes teacher professional development including ways where school day
and afterschool teachers can work and be trained in coordination.

Title IV – Includes two important parts:

  • Title IV A has funding for Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants.
  • Title IV B funds the 21st Century Community Learning Centers – the largest federal funding
    stream for afterschool, before school and summer programs.


Timeline: ESSA in Georgia


Early 2017
  • The Georgia Department of Education will convene working committees to begin draft language
  • The chairs and co-chairs of the working committees will pull together draft ESSA state plan and present to the Advisory Committee.
June 2017
  • There will be a one-month public comment period after the release of Georgia’s draft ESSA state plan. Stay tuned for details on how to submit comments.
  • During this period, the Governor, State Board of Education, State School Superintendent will review.
  • An overview of the plan will also be presented to the House and Senate Education Committees.
July-Aug 2017
  • If necessary, reconvene committees to revise Georgia’s State Plan based on feedback.
September 18, 2017
  • Georgia’s State Plan is submitted to the U.S. Department of Education for approval (date tentative). The U.S. Department of Education must approve state plan no later than 120 days after submission. Once Georgia’s State Plan is approved, presentations will be given to the House and Senate Education Committees.

What You Can Do NOW

1. Share why you think afterschool should be included in Georgia’s State Plan with the GaDOE by utilizing GSAN’s email template or sample letter.

2. Share research about afterschool and student success indicators. Check out GSAN’s fact sheets and the Afterschool Alliance’s fact sheets.

3. Be prepared with talking points about how afterschool helps children succeed. Find talking points by ESSA titles here.

4. Join GSAN’s mailing list! It’s the best way to stay up to date on upcoming deadlines and what the new law means for afterschool.

What You Can Do in the Future

1) Submit comments on Georgia’s draft state plan during the public comment period in June.

2) Send a letter to superintendents and principals to let them know how your program is poised to help. Find a sample letter to superintendents or principals here.