Parent Rights under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Parent Rights under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – the federal law governing education from kindergarten through high school. As part of this law, parents have clearly defined rights and choices regarding their children’s education. Specifically, ESSA includes provisions that parents be notified by the Providence School Department of the following:


Right to request teacher qualifications

Parents of students in Title I schools (schools that receive federal assistance due to their high poverty level) have a “right to know” about the qualifications of their child’s classroom teachers and paraprofessionals [ESSA Title 1 Part A, SEC. 1112(e)(1)(A)]. Parents may request, and Providence Public Schools will provide on request in a timely manner, any of the following:


  • Whether your child’s teacher has met State qualification and licensing criteria for the grade levels and subject areas in which the teacher provides instruction.
  • Whether your child’s teacher is teaching under emergency or other provisional status through which State qualification or licensing criteria have been waived.
  • Whether your child’s teacher is teaching in the field of discipline of their certification.
  • Whether your child is provided services by paraprofessionals and, if so, their qualifications.


If any parent is interested in obtaining any of the above information, he/she should submit the request in writing to:

Providence Public School District, Attn: Human Resources – Teacher Qualifications,

797 Westminster Street, Providence, RI 02903.


Right to transfer their child froma “persistently dangerous school” or if their child is the victim of a violent criminal offense while in or on the grounds of his or her school.

Parents of children in schools defined as “persistently dangerous,” according to criteria established by RIDE, will have the option to transfer their child out of the school; however, transportation is not provided. The same option is provided to parents of a child who is the victim of a violent criminal offense while in or on the grounds of his or her school. [SEC. 9532(a)]


Right to be part of the development of and/or review the Providence SchoolDepartment parent involvement policy. Parents have a right to know about and be involved in the development and improvement of the School Department parent involvement policy, which sets forth the district’s framework for parent engagement. [SEC. 1116(a)(2)]


Right to be notified about the performance of their child’s school on the annual state assessment.

Parents are entitled to annual updates about the performance of their child’s school on the state assessment, including information about the school’s overall strengths and weaknesses. This notification will be provided annually in writing. In addition to information about the overall school performance, parents will receive detailed information about their individual child’s assessment results. [SEC. 1112(e)(1)(B)(i)]


Right to receive a description of the District’s English Learner (EL) programs and their options for their child.

Parents of students who are identified as English Learners are entitled to receive a description of the district EL programs and their rights under the law in a language they can understand. Within 30 days of the start of the school year, or within two weeks for students placed later in the school year, parents of ELs will receive notice that includes, for example, the reason for EL identification, their child’s level of English proficiency, parents’ rights, including the right to waive out of EL program placement on a yearly basis, and other important information. [SEC. 1112(e)(3)(A-C)]


Right to be notified in an understandable format

The notices and information provided to parents regarding the above-mentioned rights shall be in an understandable and uniform format and written, to the extent practicable, in a language that parents can understand. If it is not practicable for a written translation, it may be orally translated and made available in alternate formats accessible to parents with disabilities upon request. [SEC. 1112(e)(4)]


For more information, please call the Family and Community Engagement Office at 401-456-0686 or


Click here to download a PDF version of this page.