Description: The following article mainly focuses on every student succeeds act, which can create the opportunity for the DOA to support districts’ and schools’ improvements with the unified focus on effective leadership, professional capacity and so on.
My name is Debbie Gay. I’m the deputy superintendent of federal programs in special education at the Georgia Department of Education. I co-chaired the federal programs work group with Lee Ann Putnam who is one of our recent memo directors. The state accountability system and the required state assessments are components of the Every Student Succeeds Act accountability.
The assessment becomes the tool that states use to identify schools and groups of students who are low-performing. It becomes the responsibility of the state to develop a plan for improving the outcomes for those schools, instances, specific groups of students. The federal resources that come to the state should focus on improving educational outcomes by creating a level playing field or ensuring equitable services for all students.
The Georgia Department of Education has identified a framework for continuous improvement. The framework creates the opportunity for the DOA to support districts’ and schools’ improvements with the unified focus on effective leadership, professional capacity, supportive learning environment, Family and Community Engagement and coherent instruction.
The framework provides the structure to align tools and resources and to think about more flexibility with funding streams. Identifying needs and using a problem-solving model to determine strategies to address those needs, provides districts schools and classrooms with a road map to make sustainable changes resulting in positive outcomes for children.
ESSA requires districts and schools to engage their families and communities so that they could conduct their needs assessment and develop their plan for continuous improvement and understand the importance of monitoring those plans.
Making adjustments is a critical component of any change process and better connections are made between the needs of a district or a school. The improvement strategies they select additional flexibility regarding the use of federal funds becomes available. New opportunities are available as the state moves forward with a plan to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Districts and schools may consider the use of their federal Title funds as resources for improving school climate, if their needs assessment issues related to school climate are identified and connected to interventions for improvement. Some examples of interventions include that there are not limited to behavioral coaches, positive behavior, interventions and mental health supports or other wraparound services.
Districts and schools may also use Title funds to establish interventions and supports for transition experiences as students move across grade bands or to post-secondary experiences. There are many resources and activities in Georgia. That can provide models for building better transitions for children across the p12 experience.
Some of those are listed on this slide. A new grant for school districts is provided to ESSA. Title for the students support and academic enrichment grant is focused on the needs of the whole child. This grant is intended to provide children with a well-rounded education. The elements of a well-rounded education should become a critical part of the stakeholder engagement conversation to determine any significant services or supports that are not present in the current educational experience.
These funds can also be used to provide enrichment or access to advanced educational opportunities that may have been underfunded in the past. Prioritization to schools is based on greatest need that determined by the district, highest percent of low-income students, schools identified for comprehensive supports, schools identified for targeted support or schools identified as persistently dangerous.
Noted on the slide are some weights related to the approvable expenditures which are required for districts or schools receiving in excess of $30,000 as stated earlier in this presentation. An important component of the state as a plan is an explanation of the requirements to ensure identified groups of children had the additional individual supports provided by federally targeted resources.
I will share some information for some of those programs and the requirements of local districts for the children and the activities that may be funded as indicated by need. Migrant children have high mobility. Protections are in place to ensure their enrollment and their access to supplemental services and to address their individual needs. Supports include that they are not limited to school registration emergency medical assistance and with enrollment in post-secondary opportunities the Department of Juvenile.
Some school districts receive funds to support children who are neglected or delinquent transitions to and from DJJ. Facilities remain an important area of support for these children as our directed educational services to address academic deficits created by time away from instruction.
Dropout prevention is an important component of the work with these children and families children who are speakers of other languages and our growing population in our state. The federal funds that may be used to supplement the state-funded program include student tutorials, preschool language support, technology support and Family Literacy supports.
Children who experience homelessness have unique needs for enrolling and attending the schools in our districts. Each district is required to have a homeless liaison to provide assistance to these children and their families after school. Summer programs are especially important as well as ensuring the basic needs of these children are provided.
When no other resources are available, these funds can also be used for immunizations, student fees or SAT fees. 21st century Community Learning Center is funded through competitive grants in 2015-2016. Georgia had 126 grantees, 81 in school districts, 38 in non school districts.
Children who attended these programs have been shown to improve educational outcomes for students with regular attendance. This concludes the overview of the portion of the ESSA plan related to federal programs focusing on school improvement. Thanks again to co-chair Lee Ann Putnam and all the members of the federal programs work group for the diligent service.