ESSA: Every Student Succeeds Act 

Update September 2017, from Michelle Easley, GLMA President: 

The Georgia Library Media Association has been working tirelessly on behalf of media specialists across the state of Georgia. 


As your GLMA President, I serve on the Education of the Whole Child Committee. In response to Whole Child Committee discussions, I created the GLMA ESSA Task Force to draft guidance for the Georgia Department of Education on the topic of library media programs. 


Task Force members include Jennifer Helfrich, Rosalind Dennis, Mary Purdue, Nan Brown, Beth Miller, Valerie Ayers, Lummie Baker, Ashley Collier, Phyllis Snipes, Holly Frilot, and Michelle Easley.


Superintendent Woods responded to the governor’s request for changes to the language regarding library media programs. His letter and the draft plan can be found at here.


I am delighted to share with you that Superintendent Woods’ letter to the governor mentions library media centers: These activities include but are not limited to: Advanced Placement, arts integration, computer science education, early childhood education, gifted education, health education and services, physical education, media and library services, out-of-school learning opportunities, school climate, STEM/STEAM, social studies/civics, technology integration, digital access, and world languages.


In Georgia's State ESSA Plan: Summary of Changes Based on Public Feedback, library media centers are mentioned:


Title IV, Part A: Academic Enrichment Grants (pgs 80-82) · Context: List of topics that specific guidance and technical assistance will be provided for districts to support whole child activities (includes: after-school, media specialists/centers, gifted education, early childhood education, etc.)


In response to feedback, the Education of the Whole Child working committee reconvened to discuss the development of topic-specific guidance documents. Media and Library Services was one of the areas included!


The Education of the Whole Child document includes media and library services.


Please click here to review the Georgia’s State Plan for ESSA (entire document). Guidance for media centers is included.


The plan must be approved then presented to the House and Senate Education Committees. Please stay actively engaged. We need you! 

Updates from 2016: 

The GLMA ESSA Ad Hoc Committee has worked tirelessly to craft policy recommendations and statements. These recommendations have been presented to the chair or each of the Georgia Department of Educations’s ESSA Working Committees and to Richard Woods, State School Superintendent. Please find the complete recommendation here.

GLMA would like to thank John Chastrka of EveryLibrary for his support and assistance in this process. Our work is not over, please stay tuned for additional information regarding the public comment period.

Nan Brown
Rosaling Dennis
Susan Grigsby
Jennifer Helfrich
Beth Miller
Mary Perdue
Phyllis Snipes
Michelle Easley
*John Chrastka – EveryLibrary

GLMA was featured in Knowledgequest Blog Post. You may view the post at

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and replaces No Child Left Behind, the nation’s national education law. This law now makes school library programs and school librarian positions a part of federal education policy and law. This restores our program and positions in several Titles.  ESSA includes language for “effective school library programs” in the provisions of Titles I, II, and IV. As part of these provisions, the “local educational agency” is authorized to include in their plans how they will develop “effective school library programs”.  ESSA authorizes but does not require states to use funds to assist school districts in maintaining effective school library programs or certified school librarians. As a result, it is critical that all school librarians fully understand ESSA and its potential impact on our profession.


What can you do?

  • Speak up about the positive impact you have on student success.

  • Share specifics about what you do daily to impact school success with anyone and everyone.

  • Ask decision makers to fund certified media specialists and sustain school library media programs.

  • Attend listening tours or stakeholder feedback sessions held near you. Go to the sessions prepared to make a public statement about effective school library media programs and  their positive impact on student achievement.

GLMA Talking Points


What is GLMA doing?

  • Recommending language in legislation about school libraries by working with legislators and their staff.

  • Pushing to participate as the state develops its plan.

  • Maintaining strong relationships with other state education organizations and stakeholders.

  • Educating members of the education community and other stakeholders about advocacy efforts and strategies.


Together we can shape the future for school librarians across the state of Georgia! This is a rare golden opportunity to bring libraries back into the conversation about what constitutes a quality education. Don’t  

let the window close without adding your voice to this very important issue. Speaking up now could change the academic lives of every student in the state! We need you now more than ever to be engaged.


GLMA ESSA Session Information:  Download the PRESENTATION and the HANDOUTS here.

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