The ED STEPS Project

Based on four years of feedback from schools and districts, the Ohio Department of Education is designing a process of increased support and collaboration to connect districts with federal funding suited to their students’ unique academic needs. The Education Department System of Tiered E-Plans and Supports (ED STEPS) will increase coordination and streamline the timelines and processes for assessing needs, planning and applying for funds. As a part of the ED STEPS project, the One Needs Assessment and One Plan have been developed to assist with creating quality improvement plans. Please find more information on each below.

One Needs Assessment homepage
One Plan homepage

ED STEPS Pilot Program
The Department partnered with organizations to pilot the ED STEPS three-year planning process. Members of the three-year pilot cohort partnered with the Department to develop and implement the three-year plan review and approval process and provide feedback to the ED STEPS Team and outside contractors on the various system components, functionality and design.

ED STEPS will enable districts to develop one comprehensive plan for student growth and leverage all its federal and other resources to fund that plan rather than creating programs based on available funding. This “funding the plan” rather than “planning to fund” approach is expected to better serve students and communities. This will make it easier for districts and schools to coordinate administrative planning with program planning and implementation.

ED STEPS will help the Department provide the more consistent communication and greater support districts are asking for. Department offices will rely on it to help coordinate and streamline the Department’s process for approving districts’ and schools’ academic program plans and timelines for submitting program information.​


ED STEPS Training Page


To learn more about the ED STEPS project, see:

ED STEPS Timeline

Timeline document can be found here.


A: January

The One Needs Assessment is released. Begin forming educational organization and school personnel groups to work collaboratively on this process and begin identifying needs and root causes. All districts must use the One Needs Assessment tool.

B. January – February

All districts are placed into one of three Cohorts to transition to their three- year planning.Cohort 2 begins three-year planning starting January 2022. Cohort 3 will submit a one-year plan.
The One Plan will open in January or February. Utilize the information from the One Needs Assessment to work with all stakeholders to develop SMART goals and strategies for the next three-year period.
Attend trainings, review planning webinars, work with SSTs and support from the Office of Federal Programs and other offices to develop the plan.

C. March

For those entities who are in their cohort year, district plans are due by March 31st. Use the information from the One Needs Assessment and One Plan to begin thinking of linkage to funding sources, including state, federal, and potentially competitive funds. Work with the Department’s cross-office plan review teams over the next few months.


d. April

Building plans are due by April 30th for those who are in their cohort year. Utilize the information in the building One Needs Assessment to complete the One Plan.

e. may – June

Department review and support of cohort year plans. Make sure to address Department’s cross-office feedback on the submitted plan. Prepare for estimated funding levels to be released in May and June.

f. June

For Cohort 3 (not including pilot districts), the deadline for the One Needs Assessment and One Plan is by the end of June.
Submit a high-quality funding application aligned to the One Plan with necessary funding details. Ensure the funding aligns to allowable uses and it reasonable and necessary. Funding applications are due June 30th for all cohorts and are to be completed annually. This is for a substantially approved date of July 1st.

g. July – June

Throughout the year, revise One Needs Assessment and One Plan if necessary

Last Modified: 12/13/2021 3:11:16 PM