Quality Leadership Matters Blog


ESSA Brief Series: Investments in School Leadership

October 15th, 2018 by


UCEA is proud to release six policy briefs developed as part of our comprehensive review of the treatment of school leadership in the 52 plans submitted to the U.S. Department of Education to comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

ESSA offered a renewed focus on school leadership and recognizes the impact of leaders on school improvement and effective instruction. As ESSA plans detailed the goals, strategies, and funding priorities for each state’s education system, UCEA felt it was important to analyze how states were taking advantage of the new opportunities to support school leadership.

Specifically, the policy briefs look at the treatment of school leadership in the following six areas:


      Investments in Quality Leadership Through the 3% Set-Aside

  •  (42% of plans explicitly stated an intent to exercise the additional 3% set-aside for leadership initiatives.)

     Stakeholder Engagement and Consultation With School Leaders

  •  (All states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico engaged with educational leaders.)

     Principal Preparation, Professional Development, and Quality and Effectiveness

  •  (83% of plans intend to use Title II, Part A funds to improve preparation programs.)

     Certification of Educational Leaders

  •  (73% of plans explicitly stated an intent to use Title II, Part A funds to support their state’s certification and licensure system.)

     School Leader Equity and Access

  •  (81% of plans intend to use Title II, Part A funds to provide low-income and ethnic minority students greater access to effective teachers, principals, and other school leaders.)

     Leveraging Leadership as a School Improvement Strategy

  •  (60% of plans listed leadership as an evidence-based improvement strategy for Comprehensive Support and Improvement and Targeted Support and Improvement schools.)


The ESSA plan review was a collaborative research project with contributions made by UCEA policy associates, headquarters staff, and other ESSA Plan reviewers. UCEA is grateful to each state plan reviewer who made this project possible. If you have any questions or comments about the briefs of UCEA’s ESSA data, please email.

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