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ESSA Improvement Planning Requirements

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to identify schools for Comprehensive (CS), Targeted (TS), or Additional Targeted (A-TS) Support and Improvement. Additionally, ESSA requires that identified schools develop and implement an improvement plan that addresses the reasons for the school’s identification and will result in improvement of student outcomes. Plan development, approval, and monitoring vary by identification categories. Colorado requires that schools identified for Comprehensive Support and Improvement use their Unified Improvement Plan to address ESSA planning requirements. The LEA determines what improvement plan templates to use for schools identified for TS or ATS.

Crosswalk of ESSA School Improvement Planning Requirements within the UIP Process

The following table outlines the required components for improved plans from schools identified under ESSA for support and improvement.
Crosswalk of ESSA Planning requirements and UIP connection. Please see the bullets in the sections titled: Planning Requirements for Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools and Planning Requirements for Targeted and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement Schools at for an accessible version of this information

Evidence-Based Interventions (EBI) Planning Requirements for CS, TS, ATS

Evidence in education is continually evolving and expanding and should be a part of the planning process for CS, TS, and ATS plans.   Driven by growing K-12 research and requirements in federal education law, specifically the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), use of evidence-based practices among teachers, school leaders, and district personnel has become more common over recent decades. Evidence-based practices, and specifically evidence-based interventions (EBIs) as defined by ESSA, are crucial to improving student outcomes and closing gaps in student achievement.  Refer to the Evidence-Based Interventions page for detailed information.  

ESSA defines an evidence-based intervention as an activity, strategy, or intervention that demonstrates a statistically significant effect on improving student outcomes or other relevant outcomes.

EBI Requirements Under ESSA

  • ESSA requires that at least one Level 1-3 EBI be incorporated into improvement plans where state set-aside funds for school improvement are used (e.g., funds or supports accessed via EASI application).

  • ESSA also requires schools identified for Comprehensive Support, Targeted, or Additional Targeted Support and Improvement to implement at least one EBI, Levels 1-4 in their improvement plans.

  • It is a matter of equity to seek out and leverage strategies that have been shown to reliably improve students’ outcomes-- particularly for historically underserved students – where the EBI was designed for and its impact has been studied with the student populations to be served with the EBI.

For additional information about EBIs under ESSA, please visit the EBI website.

Resource Inequities Planning Requirements (CS, ATS) 

As a part of the comprehensive needs assessment, resource inequities must be considered and prioritized during the planning process for CS or ATS plans.  Reflection and identification of resource allocation and any inequities that may have contributed to the CS or ATS identification must be considered and addressed as a part of a CS or ATS plan. The inequities addressed within a plan must be actionable. As part of the resource allocation review, it might be necessary to consider school-level budgets. Refer to the Resource Inequities page for additional information and guidance. 

Comprehensive Support and Improvement Unified Improvement Planning Trainings for 2023-2024 School Year Coming Soon.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement Unified Improvement Planning (CS-UIP) Trainings for School Year 2022-2023

CDE provided training (outlined below) on the Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CS) Plan under ESSA, which focus on schools identified for Lowest 5%, Low Graduation Rate, Low Participation, and requirements specific to each CS identification. The trainings are designed to support principals or the individuals writing the school-level improvement plans, as well as the district personnel responsible for supporting the development of, review, and approval of the school plans.  Resource inequities need to be addressed within a CS plan.  Refer to the Resource Inequities page for more information.

CS Lowest 5% and Low Graduation Training (Focus: Newly Identified Schools in 2022)

October 11, 2022

Recording | PowerPoint

CS Lowest 5% K-2 Training

September 8, 2022

Recording | PowerPoint

CS Lowest 5% Elementary/Secondary Training

September 8, 2022

Recording | PowerPoint

CS Low Graduation Training

September 1, 2022

Recording | PowerPoint

CS UIP Requirements Training (High-level Overview)

August 2, 2022

Recording | PowerPoint

Targeted (TS) and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATS) Unified Improvement Planning Trainings 

Targeted Support (TS): Any schools with at least one consistently underperforming disaggregated group.

Additional Targeted Support (ATS):  A subset of TS schools with at least one disaggregated group that, on its own, meets the criteria for the CS-Lowest Performing 5%. 

Schools that are identified for Targeted Support and Improvement (TS) and Additional Targeted Support (ATS) under ESSA are required to develop and implement an improvement plan.  LEAs may use this ESSA Support and Improvement Plan Rubric which describes specific improvement plan requirements.  ATS plans must address resource inequities within the plan. In addition to the Rubric, refer to the Resource Inequities information for additional guidance.


Targeted and Additional Targeted Support and Improvement

December 2022

Recording | PowerPoint


Comprehensive Support (CS) Plan Submission and Approval Process and Monitoring:

  • CS plans should be documented within the school’s Unified Improvement Plan (UIP) and submitted to CDE through the Online UIP System.

  • The timeline for CS plan submission follows the typical UIP submission process. CDE will use the ESSA CS plan requirements embedded within the Quality Criteria Rubric to approve plans.

  • Once plans are approved, CDE is required to monitor implementation of and periodically review CS plans.

Targeted Support (TS) and Additional Targeted Support (ATS) Plan Approval and Monitoring:

  • LEAs are responsible for approving and monitoring TS and ATS plans. LEAs have the option to create their own document, however, Colorado’s UIP provides a convenient mechanism for capturing the specific ESSA requirements as it aligns well with required plan components. 

  • The ESSA Support and Improvement Plan Rubric includes the ESSA requirements if LEAs choose to document TS and ATS plans within the UIP.

  • The LEA determines the number of years a school can be identified for targeted support and improvement before taking additional action. LEAs are responsible for determining what that additional action should be.


Contact Information

Nazanin Mohajeri-Nelson, Ph.D.
Executive Director 
Send an email to Nazanin

Mary Shen
ESEA Research Analyst
Send an email to Mary