My Visit to Capitol Hill

C29dKh6WEAAa4acI spent Tuesday physically away from my students but I felt incredibly close to them as I advocated for education with my Senators’ and Congressman’s offices all day. With the new legislative year in full-speed ahead, what better time to remind electeds the importance of a well-rounded education for all students.

Joining the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) for the legislative advocacy day made it easy. The day before, I learned about telling my story, how to speak with my elected officials and what to expect on the Hill. On Tuesday, all my meetings were scheduled and I joined fellow Virginians as we visited Senate and House offices.LILA-150x200

And let me say, what a phenomenal experience. The halls of Senate and House buildings truly tell a remarkable story and I could feel the breadth of America’s history simply walking down the corridors. I knew this time was precious, though, and our Virginia cohort worked hard to speak to many issues important to teachers and our students:

  • Ensuring equity in education for all students and expanding students’ rights under the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education for all students.
  • Continuing to successfully implement the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) by actually funding the law as authorized – with special attention to Title II (professional development, teacher induction and teacher prep) and Title IV (the importance of a well-Learner-Profilerounded education in development the Whole Child).
  • Fighting for supplementing funds at schools with minority and low-income students under Title I.

Want to learn more about becoming an educator advocate? Check out ASCD’s legislative resources so you can contact Congress to the best of your ability as well!

Learn More About ESSA

essa_graphic_3ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act, was signed into law by President Obama in December 2015. Since then, the Department of Education, states, and education organizations have been hard at work. The Department of Education defines new regulations and guidelines, states are busy creating new accountability and funding plans, and organizations and reform groups provide comments on draft guidelines. Each have been incredibly busy over the past year and much has happened!
So…how can you learn?! Below I’ve included some webinars, information, and tutorials that may be helpful as you begin to dig into ESSA:

U.S. Department of Education: ESSA

Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD): ESSA Updates

essa-obama-signs-blog-thumb-500x333-16391The Education Trust: What’s in it? What does it mean for equity?

National Conference of State Legislatures: The Every Student Succeeds Act – A Primer

Education Week: An ESSA Overview

What’s something you’ve learned after looking through one of the overviews or articles above? What surprises you? What questions do you have now that you’ve taken a look? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Welcome to the ATES Policy Group!

Hello! And welcome to the blog for Annandale Terrace Elementary School’s brand-new policy group! Here, we’ll dive into education policy, what it means for students and for us – the teachers. We’ll explore the Every Student Succeeds Act, activate ourselves on Twitter, and learn about various education policy opportunities. There is much to learn, so let’s dig in!

There are two things you can do right now to get started! Let’s take a look at them:

  1. Create a Twitter account if you don’t have one already. Find a professional photo to add to your profile and you are set! We’ll talk more about tweeting and your profile later, but let’s start simple 🙂 On Twitter, follow: @matthewstensrud (me!), @fcpsnews, @teachplus, @usedgov, @teachtolead, @ascd, @nctq, @edtrust to get started! Next, explore! What are your new followers posting, who do they follow? Click around and you’ll find many other people to follow!

    Check out the Department of Education's Twitter page here and notice how you can also find suggested followers to follow on the right side of the page!

    Check out the Department of Education’s Twitter page here and notice how you can also find suggested followers to follow on the right side of the page!

  2. Next, let’s sign you up for some great education-related policy news. Here’s some links for great blogs and websites to sign up for their newsletters and information. It’s invaluable as you begin to digest what’s in the news regarding education and ed policy:
    1. POLITICO Morning Education
    2. Education Week
    3. TeachStrong
    4. Chalkbeat
    5. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development – Educational Leadership
    6. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development – Educator Advocates
    7. TNTP: Reimagine Teaching
    8. NEA Today

That’s good to get started, yea? Any other websites, blogs, newsletters or tweeters out there that YOU suggest?! Share them in the comments below!

Look out for a primer on the Every Student Succeeds Act next week! – Matthew