November 28, 2016
Tools to use Direct Student Services Strategically

A 2016 report from the US Department of Education found that nearly 70% of high schools with high black and Latino student enrollment do not offer calculus, more than half do not offer physics, a third do not offer chemistry, and nearly a third do not offer Algebra II. In addition, AP and other accelerated courses or programs are often not made available to students in many schools. A report from the Education Trust found that more than half a million low-income students and students of color who would benefit from AP/IB are not doing so or do not have the opportunity to do so.

We must change these inequities. Provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provide new opportunities to effect change, particularly through Direct Student Services (DSS), an umbrella for a wide range of student supports.

ESSA includes a new provision championed by Chiefs for Change that will provide states with resources to support DSS and address the access gaps that exist in far too many of our highest-need schools. This is possible through a 3% discretionary state reserve of Title I funding. If all states take advantage of this new provision, over $425 million annually would be available to involve families in choosing personalized, outcomes-driven education services for their children. Our policy paper lays out how to understand and act on what’s now possible, and this brief provides a helpful summary.

Direct Student Services Tools and Resources

  • Download the model application. States can customize the application depending on their priorities and local contexts.
  • Read these frequently asked questions that address concerns stakeholders may have about DSS.
  • Begin planning your next steps with this timeline so your state and districts are ready to launch DSS by September 2018.
  • Use this list of provider application criteria to ensure high-quality providers for DSS.
  • Review the DSS funding map that shows how much funding is available to each state for DSS through Title-I funds.