Projects

Federal Programs Support - Federal Programs

Background

The SECC staff will work with the Office of Federal Programs (OFP) and the Office of School Improvement (SI) staff in the delivery of technical assistance (TA) and support services to low-performing schools, including collaboration with MDE and national centers.

Project State(s)

Project Updates

Most Recent Update: |

SECC and MDE co-facilitated the September 6 Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) Office of Federal Programs (OFP) Steering Committee meeting, with a focus on discussing and reviewing the MDE-proposed revisions to the FY18 Monitoring Instrument and protocols. Participants discussed, reviewed, and provided feedback on the MDE-proposed adjustments to the FY18 Monitoring Instrument and Protocols. Resources were provided to MDE as follow-up to previously provided Year 5 professional development for OFP staff to build internal capacity on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Because of ESSA’s emphasis on financial transparency, a new Building State Capacity and Productivity (BSCP) Center financial transparency tool, School Level Financial Survey (SLFS) Converter Tool, was shared. This tool allows users to produce school-level expenditures by source of fund, consistent with the ESSA financial transparency requirement. A second BSCP resource provided the state with potential approaches for assigning expenditures to either the school or central level, which again helps in meeting the financial transparency requirement. The third ESSA fiscal resource provided was information about a Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Central webinar on cost-effectiveness, cost-feasibility, and cost-benefit methods for use by decision-makers when selecting instructional strategies, interventions, and curricula that are both effective and fiscally more efficient.

 

Previous Updates:

SECC and MDE co-facilitated the September 6 Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) Office of Federal Programs (OFP) Steering Committee meeting, with a focus on discussing and reviewing the MDE-proposed revisions to the FY18 Monitoring Instrument and protocols. Participants discussed, reviewed, and provided feedback on the MDE-proposed adjustments to the FY18 Monitoring Instrument and Protocols. Resources were provided to MDE as follow-up to previously provided Year 5 professional development for OFP staff to build internal capacity on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Because of ESSA’s emphasis on financial transparency, a new Building State Capacity and Productivity (BSCP) Center financial transparency tool, School Level Financial Survey (SLFS) Converter Tool, was shared. This tool allows users to produce school-level expenditures by source of fund, consistent with the ESSA financial transparency requirement. A second BSCP resource provided the state with potential approaches for assigning expenditures to either the school or central level, which again helps in meeting the financial transparency requirement. The third ESSA fiscal resource provided was information about a Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Central webinar on cost-effectiveness, cost-feasibility, and cost-benefit methods for use by decision-makers when selecting instructional strategies, interventions, and curricula that are both effective and fiscally more efficient.

To further implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), SECC provided information to the Office of Federal Programs (OFP) staff as follow-up to previously delivered ESSA PD sessions. In support of the two charter schools PD sessions, SECC shared Charter Authorizers: What They Are & Why They Matter, a two-page special report from the Education Commissions of the States. The report provided an overview of charter school authorizers, explained their role in ensuring charter school accountability, and included examples of Indiana’s and Nevada’s strong authorizing policies. The clear and concise information should prove beneficial to OFP staff in expanding their understanding of charter schools. Additionally, as follow-up to the equitable services professional learning session, SECC shared an April 2017 equitable services frequently asked questions (FAQ) web page from the California Department of Education with the Mississippi ombudsman.

MDE’s eight-person team and SECC participated in the Center on School Turnaround’s (CST) Four Domains Workshop. During the workshop, the MDE team worked on refining the Office of School Improvement’s theory of action (ToA), which will help guide the 2017–2018 school improvement work. It is important to note that the MDE team embraced the concept that turning around low-performing schools will be an agency-wide effort and not limited to the Office of School Improvement. This is an important step forward for providing cohesive services to Mississippi’s low-performing schools, with future agency-wide efforts focused around the four domains, namely Turnaround Leadership, Talent Development, Instructional Transformation, and Culture Shift. This coordinated effort will allow low-performing schools to hear the same language and receive increasingly aligned services from all MDE offices. The MDE team developed next steps during the Four Domains Workshop meeting, and later refined these steps during an August 24 team follow-up GoToMeeting. An implementation timeline for August–November 2017 was developed, with “persons responsible” and “needed resources” identified for each action step. The first face-to-face post-workshop team meeting is scheduled for next month.

Additionally, SECC met with a twelve-person MDE team, including Federal Programs staff, to initiate discussions for the Year 6 Work Plan. Three state priorities were identified by the Mississippi team: early childhood, educator quality/equity, and federal programs/ESSA. Challenges, needs, activities, expected district/school impact, and critical SEA staff were discussed for the state priorities. Follow-up work on the Year 6 Work Plan will continue.

SECC and the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) collaborated to identify an SECC-supported department-wide team to attend the Center on School Turnaround’s (CST) peer-to-peer School Improvement Workshop. CST has developed a framework, entitled the Four Domains for Rapid School Improvement: A Systems Framework, designed to assist states, districts, and schools in leading and managing rapid improvement efforts. The workshop focus will be to help states adopt and adapt the framework to their particular context to inform systemic improvement efforts. The eight-member MDE team is composed of upper level management staff from key offices, including the Office of School Improvement and the Office of Federal Programs. According to the School Improvement executive director, this diverse team “will go a long way with strengthening our efforts with implementation of the framework, in particular, with creating a cohesive approach.” SECC and MDE discussed potential revisions to Mississippi’s state Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plan. SECC shared an U.S. Department of Education (ED) State Plan FAQ document as well as information on an ED August ESSA State Plan webinar. The purpose of these discussions and resources was to provide MDE with current information to help inform the submission of Mississippi’s ESSA State Plan to ED. Additionally, as a follow-up to the June professional learning session on Equitable Services for Private School Students’ for the Office of Federal Programs’ newly hired ombudsman for equitable services, SECC and the ombudsman discussed questions that subsequently arose regarding counting non-participating private schools’ eligible students.

The SECC contacted the Office of Federal Programs (OFP) executive director at the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) regarding additional technical assistance and/or professional development (PD) that may be needed, particularly as a result of the May 2017 federal on-site visit. As per the executive director’s request, SECC presented a one-on-one professional learning session on Equitable Services for Private School Students’ for the OFPs’ newly hired ombudsman for equitable services. The applicable sections of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) statute were reviewed as were U.S. Department of Education’s guidance documents; the April 6, 2017, Dear Colleague Letter; and ESSA/NCLB comparison chart. Objectives of the PD session were trifold: review ESSA documents as they relate to equitable services for private school students, identify main ideas of key equitable services components, and compare Title I §1117 and Title VIII §8501 equitable services requirements. According to MDE, The trainings highlighting the ESSA changes have been most impactful for our staff.” Next steps include SECC continuing to follow up with OFP’s executive director regarding needed PD and technical assistance.

SECC staff shared programmatic resources on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) with targeted staff from the Office of Federal Programs (OFP) at the Mississippi Department of Education. Information was provided on two webinars: ED’s May 24 webinar, Changes to the Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment (SSAE) Grants Resulting from the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2017, and the Building State Capacity and Productivity Center’s (BSCP Center)/Edunomics Lab at Georgetown University’s May 31 webinar, BSCP Center Webinar on Financial Transparency. SECC also shared two print resources: Education Commission of the States’ policy analysis, Charter School Accountability Under ESSA, and Strong at the Broken Places: The Resiliency of Low-Income Parents.

In March, SECC presented two professional development (PD) sessions as part of the MDE-requested series of Office of Federal Programs (OFP) intensive trainings on federal programs’ rules and regulations. On March 14, SECC presented Charter Schools 101 and Mississippi Charter Schools Act of 2013. Objectives of the session were trifold: Review ESSA guidelines and regulations as they relate to charter schools, determine how new guidelines may impact Mississippi context, and discuss possible next steps for Mississippi in implementing ESSA guidelines and regulations. The second PD session, Parent and Family Engagement, was conducted March 24, with the following objectives: articulate what family engagement is, what it looks like, and why it matters; identify effective strategies for partnering with parents and family members to support student success; and review significant changes to parent and family engagement requirements under ESSA. The family engagement PD session was the seventh and last PD session in the above referenced OFP-requested intensive trainings.

The OFP reviewed the proposed revisions to the Year 5 Federal Programs Support project with MDE’s chief academic officer. SECC received approval of the revisions on March 5.

As a next step, SECC will provide a PD session on facilitation/presentation skills on April 18.

In February, SECC presented three professional development (PD) sessions as part of the MDE-requested series of Office of Federal Programs (OFP) intensive trainings on federal programs’ rules and regulations. On February 7, SECC presented Migrant and English Learner Education Under ESSA. Objectives of the session were trifold: review ESSA documents as they relate to migrant and English learner (EL) students, identify main ideas of key migrant and EL program components, and review changes to Title I and Title III program requirements. The second PD session, Charter Schools, was conducted February 10, with the following objectives: review ESSA guidelines and regulations as they relate to charter schools, determine how new guidelines may impact the Mississippi context, and discuss possible next steps for Mississippi in implementing ESSA guidelines and regulations. The third PD session, Title II A in ESSA, was conducted on February 27. Topics covered included a Title II Part A overview, moving from NCLB to ESSA, supporting educator effectiveness through ESSA, funding, LEA implications, and Title II Part B. As next steps, SECC will provide the following PD sessions: Charter Schools follow-up on March 14 and family engagement on March 24.

Additionally, on February 16, MDE and SECC staff met on-site to discuss the need for revisions to the Year 5 Federal Programs Support project. During follow-up conversations, the group collaboratively revised the Year 5 Federal Programs Support Work Plan on February 21. MDE will review the proposed revisions with its chief academic officer and provide feedback to SECC by March 3.

On January 31, as part of the MDE-requested series of Office of Federal Programs (OFP) professional development (PD) sessions on federal programs’ rules and regulations, SECC presented Equitable Services for Private School Students. Objectives of the PD session were trifold: review ESSA documents as they relate to equitable services for private school students, identify main ideas of key equitable services components, and compare Title I §1117 and Title VIII §8501 equitable services requirements. As next steps, SECC will provide a two-part PD session on Title III and migrant education on February 7. Additionally, the charter schools PD session, originally scheduled for January 31 in conjunction with the equitable services session, will be rescheduled for a later date. SECC followed up with the OFP executive director regarding his request for technical assistance (TA) in developing and facilitating an Office of Federal Programs (OFP) stakeholders’ ESSA state plan meeting. Due to other commitments, MDE decided to delay its work with the stakeholder group until February. Additionally various ESSA resource information was shared with the executive director of the OFP, including the schedule for the U.S. Department of Education’s ESSA webinar series, Center on Standards and Assessment (CSAI) ESSA resources, and information on evidence-based interventions from the School Turnaround Learning Community for developing and providing guidance to Mississippi’s schools and districts.

As part of the MDE-requested series of Office of Federal Programs (OFP) professional development on federal program rules and regulations, on December 6, SECC presented a 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Update. Goals of the PD session were to increase knowledge of program, identify quality afterschool program characteristics, and increase understanding of legislative requirements for Title IV, Part B under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and ESSA. Next steps include SECC compiling a list of 21st CCLC resources and sharing the list with OFP. SECC also met with OFP’s executive director regarding his request for TA in developing and facilitating an OFP stakeholders’ ESSA state plan meeting. Potential January 2017 dates were identified. MDE will consult with staff and select a date for the stakeholder meeting. Planning of the meeting content by SECC and the OFP executive director will occur subsequent to the U.S. Department of Education’s ESSA national meeting on December 12–13 in Washington, D.C.

Work continued on identifying and scheduling the MDE-requested series of OFP trainings on federal program rules and regulations. The first PD session will focus on ESSA’s Title IV, Part B 21st Century Community Learning Centers. The session will be conducted by SECC’s 21st Century expert on December 6 in Jackson. Additionally MDE and SECC staff c-facilitated the Federal Programs Steering Committee Meeting #9 on November 16. The meeting had a two-fold purpose, namely to discuss ED’s new supplement-not-supplement regulations and to increase the steering committee’s knowledge of ESSA. To accomplish this, MDE staff led the discussion, and SECC staff presented An Overview of the Every Student Succeed Act to steering committee members. MDE staff will conduct a poll with committee members to determine the date for the next steering committee meeting.

As previously noted, in response to an MDE-generated request, SECC developed and submitted a proposed plan of action to the interim executive director of the Office of Federal Programs (OFP) for a series of OFP trainings on federal program rules and regulations. In October, SECC staff submitted a revised schedule of trainings, which was approved by OFP’s interim executive director. Potential dates for the November–January sessions also were identified by the interim executive director. Upon confirmation of the revised schedule and potential dates, SECC initiated identifying presenters and dates for the upcoming Title programs’ PD sessions. A summary of the session presenters and proposed time frames identified to date was submitted to OFP’s interim executive director for review and feedback.