ESSA and Understanding Accountability in Alternative Education

ESSA and Understanding Accountability in Alternative Education
ESSA and Understanding Accountability in Alternative Education

The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF) hosted an invitation-only advisory meeting of key thought leaders across research, practice, and policy entitled ESSA and Understanding Accountability in Alternative Education. The event focused primarily on discussing the opportunities under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to rethink accountability to ensure that all students, including those who attend an alternative school or program, are adequately prepared for life after high school.

Participants in this advisory meeting:

  • Assessed the current “state of affairs” of accountability in alternative education and identified the key questions in this space
  • Discussed alternative education and the ways in which accountability can help ensure that the needs of at-risk students are met across all settings
  • Analyzed the ways in which we can use lessons from states that are currently working on alternative accountability to inform states’ development of new accountability systems required under ESSA to support all students

Video Presentations

Zachary Malter

Jessica Knevals

Laurie Shannon

Paul Warren


Panelist Biographies:

Jessica Knevals_headshot formattedJessica Knevals joined the Accountability and Data Analysis Office as a Principal Consultant at the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) in 2012. Through her work at CDE, Ms. Knevals is responsible for managing policy and data analysis projects associated with SB163, the Colorado Education Accountability Act, including longitudinal growth, accreditation, and accountability, including production and release of the district and school performance frameworks issued to all districts and schools in Colorado, the request to reconsider process for the reconsideration of district and school performance framework ratings, and the alternative education campus accountability process.   Ms. Knevals received her M.P.A. in Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University and a dual B.A. in Public Affairs and Sociology from the Maxwell School of Public Affairs and the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University.

Laurie Shannon formattedLaurie Shannon is the current Graduation and Reengagement Program Supervisor for the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. She holds a BA and BS from The Evergreen State and has worked as teacher of science and English/language arts since 1984. In 1993, Laurie completed her Masters in Counseling at the University of Puget Sound and began work as a counselor and Dean of Students for the North Thurston Public Schools, where she had been working as one of the founding faculty of their alternative school. In 1999 she went to work for the Yelm Community schools and served as counseling department chair at the high school and Dean/Counselor at the Extension school and HomeLink program. In 2006 she began working at New Market Skills Center as the Career and College Readiness and Assessment Coordinator. She is a firm believer in experiential learning experiences and the role that relevant contextualized education can play in engaging all students.

Paul Warren formattedPaul Warren is a policy associate at PPIC, where he focuses primarily on K–12 education finance and accountability. Before he joined PPIC, he worked in the California Legislative Analyst’s Office for more than twenty years as a policy analyst and manager. He also served as deputy director for the California Department of education, helping to implement current testing and accountability programs. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government


Event Agenda

Presentation Slides

Event Attendee List

Alternative Education Resources

View the Discussion Group Brief


The American Youth Policy Forum (AYPF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional development organization based in Washington, DC, provides learning opportunities for policy leaders, practitioners, and researchers working on youth and education issues at the national, state, and local levels. AYPF events and publications are made possible by contributions from philanthropic foundations. For a complete list, click here.