July is a time for fresh strawberries, sweet corn, fireworks and consolidated applications. Thanks to all of you who have made the July 1, 2012 deadline. The title team is diligently reading through your applications and moving them through the approval process as expeditiously as possible.

As of the writing of this column the flexibility waiver has not yet been approved. In anticipation of its approval I have included some of the definitions of terms you will be hearing in hopefully, the near future.


Under the proposed accountability model, there would be five classifications of schools that determine recognition or support.

•Exemplary Schools: Exemplary Schools include both 1) high-performing schools whose Overall Score on the School Performance Index is at or above the top 5% 2) high-progress schools that rank in the top 5% for improvement of Student Achievement and Attendance rate for their GAP group (elementary and middle school levels); and Student Achievement and Graduation rate for their GAP group (high school level) over a period of two years. All public schools are eligible for this classification.

• Status Schools: Schools whose total score on the SPI is at or above the top 10 percent.

• Progressing Schools: Schools whose total score on the SPI is greater than the bottom 5% but are less than the top 10%.

• Focus Schools: Focus Schools are those that are contributing to the achievement gap in the state. The calculation to determine Focus Schools looks specifically at Student Achievement and Attendance rate of the GAP group at the elementary and middle school levels; and Student Achievement and Graduation rate of the GAP group at the high school level. The Focus School classification applies to Title I schools. The total number of Focus Schools must equal at least 10 percent of the Title I schools in South Dakota. Title I high schools whose graduation rate is below 60% for two consecutive years and that have not been identified as Priority Schools also will be identified as Focus Schools.

• Priority Schools: Schools whose total score on the SPI is at or below the bottom 5%. The total number of Priority Schools must be at least five percent of the Title I schools in the state. Each district with one or more of these schools must implement, for three years, meaningful interventions aligned with the turnaround principles. This classification applies to Title I schools and Title I eligible high schools whose graduation rate is below 60% for two consecutive years. Tier I and II SIG schools are included in this classification.

Have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!

Dr. Kristine Harms, EdD.
State Title I Director


Title I Annual Parent Meeting In a Schoolwide Setting

Each year, Title I programs are required to host a meeting for parents to explain what the Title I program is and how parents can become involved in the Title I program. (This is different from the Annual Review Meeting which is also a requirement). At this meeting, the following issues must be addressed:

- Explain their school’s participation in Title I
- Explain the Title I requirements
- Explain what participation in Title I programming means, including:
- A description and explanation of the school’s curriculum;
- Information on the forms of academic assessment used to measure student progress; and
- Information on the proficiency levels students are expected to meet.
- Explain the district parental involvement policy, school parental involvement policy, and school-parent compact.
- Explain what the school-wide program is and how the school-wide plan will be assessed for effectiveness.
- Explain the right of parents to become involved in the school’s programs and ways to do so.
- Explain that parents have the right to request opportunities for regular meetings for parents to formulate suggestions and to participate, as appropriate, in decisions about the education of their children. The school must respond to any such suggestions as soon as practicably possible.

In order to keep parents informed, schools must invite all parents of children participating in Title I Part A programs and encourage them to attend. In a school-wide program, this means ALL parents should be invited. Schools must also offer a flexible number of additional parental involvement meetings, such as in the morning or evening so that as many parents as possible are able to attend.

Children Experiencing Homelessness Definition

As defined by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Act Subtitle B of Title VII, Section 725 reauthorized as Title X Part C of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001. The term “homeless children and youths” –

(A) means individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and

(B) includes

1. Children and youths who are sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason; are living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camping grounds due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations; are living in emergency or transitional shelters; are abandoned in hospitals; or are awaiting foster care placement;

2. children and youths who have a primary nighttime residence that is a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings;

3. children and youths who are living in cars, parks, public spaces, abandoned buildings, substandard housing, bus or train stations, or similar settings; and

4. migratory children (as such is defined in section 1309 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) who qualify as homeless for the purposes of this subtitle because the children are living in circumstances described in clauses (1) through (3).

How to Interpret the McKinney-Vento Definition

Excerpt taken from “Determining Rights and Services Under the McKinney-Vento Act” information created by the National Center for Homeless Education The entire document is posted on the NCHE website.

Determining whether a particular child or youth fits the definition of homeless is a case-by-case analysis. The easiest way to make a determination of homelessness is to: (A) see if the student’s situation fits into one of the specific examples of homelessness listed in the law; and if not, (B) consider if the student is in another situation that would fit the definition of homelessness by not meeting the fixed, regular, and adequate standard.


Does the child or youth’s living situation fit into one of the specific examples of homelessness listed in the law?

• Sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason.
“Sharing the housing of other persons…” implies that the student is staying in another person’s home.

Some pertinent questions to help determine if this is the case would include:
• Does the student have any legal right to be in that home?
• Can the student be asked to leave at any time with no legal recourse?
• Is the living situation intended to be temporary or long-term?
• Did the student move into the home as an urgent measure to avoid being on the street or in another precarious situation?

“…due to loss of housing...” implies that the student has no personal housing available. Did the student or family lose their previous housing due to:

• An eviction or an inability to pay the rent or other bills?
• Destruction of or damage to the previous home?
• Abuse or neglect (such as in the case of a youth who leaves or is asked to leave the home)?
• Unhealthy conditions such as an inadequate physical environment, infestations, drug or alcohol abuse in the home, or domestic violence?
• The absence of a parent or guardian due to abandonment, the parent’s or guardian’s incarceration, or another reason?

“…economic hardship …” includes cases where limited financial resources have forced families or youth to leave personal residences and share housing due to an inability to pay rent and other bills. The way that the shared housing came about and the intention of the residents are significant. For example:

If economic hardship such as an accident or illness, loss of employment, loss of public benefits, or condition of poverty forces families to share housing temporarily, the children and youth are eligible for McKinney-Vento services.

A long-term, cooperative living arrangement among families or friends that is fixed, regular, and adequate should not be considered a homeless situation, even if the parties are living together to save money.

Living in a motel, hotel, trailer park, or camping ground due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations.

The phrase“…due to the lack of alternative adequate accommodations” can help determine whether these living situations should be considered homeless situations.

• Motels, hotels, and camping grounds will almost always be homeless situations, as they are rarely fixed, regular, and adequate; however, considering whether alternative adequate accommodations are available can help identify possible exceptions, such as a wealthy family living in a luxury hotel on a long-term basis when adequate alternatives are available to the family.
• In contrast, trailer parks often are fixed, regular, and adequate residences. Asking questions about the condition and size of the trailer, the number of people living there, the intended length of stay, and whether the family or youth has an adequate alternative will help determine if the student is eligible for McKinney-Vento services.
• Living in an emergency or transitional shelter.

Emergency or transitional shelters of all kinds, including youth shelters, domestic violence shelters, family shelters, transitional living programs, and supportive housing programs are homeless situations.

• Abandoned in a hospital. A child or youth abandoned in the hospital is eligible for McKinney-Vento services.
• Awaiting foster care placement.
• Living in a public or private place not designed for or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.

Examples of some places that meet these criteria include a health clinic, an office, a public restroom, or an unfinished basement or attic.
• Living in a car, park, public space, abandoned building, substandard housing, bus or train station, or similar setting.

These specific examples are largely self-explanatory. In evaluating whether housing is “substandard,” consider that substandard means “deviating from or falling short of a standard or norm” or “of a quality lower than that prescribed by law.” Thus, determining if housing is substandard requires comparing the housing with community norms and the law, including a consideration of such factors as:

• Health and safety concerns
• Number of occupants per square foot
• Age of occupants
• State and local building codes

If the child’s, family’s, or youth’s situation does not fit the examples provided in the definition, is the child or youth living in another type of situation that is not fixed, regular, and adequate?

Information Regarding the South Dakota Parent Information Resource Network

The SD Parent Information and Resource Center will no longer be supported through US Department of Education funding. The PIRC website will remain available for families and schools to access resources. PIRC school based services are available based on a fee for service. For additional information, please contact Lori Laughlin at (605) 347-6260.

Title III and Migrant

The Title III and Migrant Offices held an ELL/Migrant Conference at Cedar Shores, Oacoma on June 20-21, 2012. The conference featured Dr. Sara Waring and Dr. Catherine Collier as key note presenters. Breakout sessions were provided by Dr. Waring, Dr. Collier, Cindy Niederbaumer, Kelly McKay-Semmler, and Linda Reetz. The presentations focused on Instructional Strategies for teachers with Limited English Diverse Learners as well as a current LEAs experience with a growing population of English Language Learners and how a university has helped them to meet the challenging needs of their students.

Title I Summer School Reports

Schoolwide programs providing services through a summer school program should fill out a Title I Summer Program Summary report and submit it to even if federal funds are not utilized for this program. All programs in schoolwide schools are to be included in their schoolwide plan.

Title I Targeted Assistance programs using Title I funds a Title I summer school also need to fill out the Title I Summer Program Summary Report and either send it in or email it. This information is used to verify use of funds. It is also reported to US Ed.

Watch for news about Title I summer school programs in upcoming Title Newsletters.

If you have not received a blank copy of the form, contact Beth Schiltz at


Give Ells Tools to Practice Language Skills

Giving English Language Learners a chance to practice their oral language skills is important. They really do need to "talk the talk." Here are three projects that will give ELL students the opportunity to practice talking and also expand their overall language skills:

1. Have students create podcasts. Ask students to think about a story they want to tell. It can be about events in the school or community. It could be a fictional story. Have them write a script and then record it. There are many free tools, such as GarageBand for Mac computers, that will allow students to record and edit their scripts. Let students explore adding sound effects and music to their podcasts. You can then place the podcasts on your school's website for parents to hear.

2. Turn students into reporters. What's happening in your school? Give students a video camera and let them report and record the news. Students can serve both as on-air reporters and the subjects of interviews. There are several free versions of video editing software available. Once students have finished a story, share it on your school newscast or on the school website.

3. Let students create their own wikis. Although your students are often receivers of information, they are also experts in many areas. Go to and sign up for a free account. As the teacher, you will be able to control who can access the wiki and contribute content. Then let your students do the research and write up their findings to create their own web pages.

Reprinted with permission from the June 2012 issue of Better Teaching® (Secondary Edition) newsletter. Copyright © 2012 The Teacher Institute®, a division of NIS, Inc. Source: "Technology Recipes for English Language Learners,"

Recipes for Parent Success

Indicators In Action
Indicators in Action is a website produced by the Academic Development Institute. The website provides free tutorials and video demonstrations for research-based indicators of effective practice in three courses: Instruction, Leadership, and School Community. The Instruction Course has three modules with information and demonstrations pertaining to instruction planning, classroom management, and classroom delivery. The Leadership Course has three modules with information and demonstrations pertaining to the role of the principal, teams, and professional development. The third Course, School Community, has five different modules with information and demonstrations pertaining to the curriculum of the home, shared leadership and goals and roles, the compact, homework and studying and reading at home, and a welcoming place and a connected community. The website offers free tools and templates and the Instruction and School Community Courses offer printable workbooks and facilitators guides. Visit the website by visiting and take advantage of this valuable resource.

Doing What Works
The Doing What Works website is a free online website that translates effective research-based education practices into practical tools that support and improve classroom instruction. The site is organized about six topics: data-driven improvement, quality teaching, literacy, math and science, comprehensive support, and early childhood. These are drilled down into more focused content sections. The content for each section is organized into four areas; practice summary, learn what works, see how it works, and do what works. Each of the areas has multimedia overviews, interview vignettes; presentations; and sample materials to use. The overview, interviews and presentations are fairly short.


ESEA Flexibility Package

The complete package that was submitted to US Ed in February by the state of South Dakota is available at You will find the package submitted, background information, proposed accountability model, work group members, and a summary about the process.

Title I 2012-13 Allocations

The US Department of Education has indicated they will release Title I allocations in early April. We expect South Dakota’s overall state allocation will be cut by less than 1 percent. However, an individual school district’s allocation could vary considerably more, up or down, than the State’s allocation percentage change. This is due to the updated Census counts used in the formula to allocate Title I funds to districts. This will be the first year that allocations will be based on the 2010 Census. As soon as the allocations are released to the State, we will calculate the district level allocations. Once the calculation process is completed, we will post the allocations at