ESSER Attendance and Reengagement Project Evaluation
In partnership with the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) and the Association of Educational Service Districts (AESD), the PSESD StEL Team is leading the evaluation of the ESSER (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) Attendance and Reengagement Project.
The ESSER Attendance & Reengagement Evaluation seeks to tell the story of how this project served, supported, and re-engaged students with high rates of absences and disengagement, including students identifying as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), English Language Learners, students identifying as nonbinary, and students from economically disadvantaged households. The evaluation also seeks to understand how project districts and State-Tribal Education Compact (STEC) schools built or enhanced systems to support engagement and reduce inequities. Evaluation questions address what implementation has looked like, why students are disengaging as well as what keeps them engaged, how the project is helping to improve attendance, and how this work can be sustained into the future.
Power-sharing and relationships are central to the StEL Team's evaluation work, as illustrated by:
- Implementation/Evaluation Partnership: The Evaluation Team has worked in close partnership with those implementing this project, including OSPI, school districts, STEC schools, and ESD. The Attendance & Reengagement Project is complex, with many components. The evaluation has formed hand-in-hand with evolving project implementation. We gathered feedback from ESDs, districts, and STEC schools to inform the design of the evaluation and aimed to reduce the burden of evaluation activities where possible. We also share emerging findings with evaluation participants. Participants shape the evaluation results by reflecting on how the data do or do not relate to their experiences and perspectives and identifying implications for learning and improvement.
- Co-design with STEC schools: Because STEC schools are uniquely situated as sovereign nations that often operate in ways that are responsive to unique cultural needs, an essential component of the development of this initiative has been co-designing the evaluation process with the STEC schools. The co-design process has allowed our team to honor tribal sovereignty, which is the inherent right of Tribal Nations to govern the collection, ownership, and application of their own data. It has also been an opportunity to collaborate with school representatives to craft an evaluation plan that tells the story of each school's implementation in a way that is driven by their values and goals.