Each State shall establish a statewide system of intensive and sustained support and improvement for local educational agencies and schools, in order to increase the opportunity for all students served to meet the State’s academic content standards and student academic achievement standards. For more information, please call your Title representative at (605) 773-6400.
Parental involvement always has been a centerpiece of Title I. However, for the first time in the history of the ESEA, it has a specific statutory definition. The statute defines parental involvement as the participation of parents in regular, two-way, and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities, including ensuring—
• that parents are encouraged to be actively involved in their child’s education at school;
• that parents are full partners in their child’s education and are included, as appropriate, in decision-making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child; and
• that other activities are carried out, such as those described in section 1118 of the ESEA (Parental Involvement). [Section 9101(32), ESEA.]
Beginning with the first day of the first school year after the date of enactment of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, each local educational agency receiving assistance under this part shall ensure that all teachers hired after such day and teaching in a program supported with funds under this part are highly qualified.
As part of the plan described in section 1111, each State educational agency receiving assistance under this part shall develop a plan to ensure that all teachers teaching in core academic subjects within the State are highly qualified not later than the end of the 2005-2006 school year. Such plan shall establish annual measurable objectives for each local educational agency and school that, at a minimum--
(A) shall include an annual increase in the percentage of highly qualified teachers at each local educational agency and school, to ensure that all teachers teaching in core academic
subjects in each public elementary school and secondary school are highly qualified not later
than the end of the 2005-2006 school year;
(B) shall include an annual increase in the percentage of teachers who are receiving highquality
professional development to enable such teachers to become highly qualified and
successful classroom teachers; and
(C) may include such other measures as the State educational agency determines to be
appropriate to increase teacher qualifications.
As part of the plan described in section 1112, each local educational
agency receiving assistance under this part shall develop a plan to ensure that all teachers
teaching within the school district served by the local educational agency are highly qualified
not later than the end of the 2005-2006 school year.
The South Dakota Department of Education has set 461 as the official passing score for the ParaPro exam that determines whether a paraprofessional meets the “qualified” requirements of No Child Left Behind.
Background: Paraprofessionals working in a program supported by Title I Part A funds must be “qualified” under the provisions of No Child Left Behind by Jan. 8, 2006. They may meet this requirement in one of three ways:
1. earning an associate’s degree or higher;
2. earning a minimum of 48 college credits; or
3. passing the designated state test.
South Dakota adopted the ParaPro test for paraprofessionals as its official state test. A standards-setting event was convened by the vendor, Educational Testing Service (ETS) on April 29, 2003, in Pierre, for the purpose of determining a recommended cut score for South Dakota. A panel of South Dakota paraprofessionals and supervising teachers participated in the process. ETS analyzed the judgments of the panel and recommended a cut score to state officials.
On June 11, 2003, the Title I Committee of Practitioners (COP) and the Title I School Support Team (SST), both required groups under Title I Part A, met in Pierre to review the work and make a recommendation to the Department of Education.
Paraprofessionals are responsible for presenting ETS documentation to school officials verifying that their score on the ParaPro exam is 461 or higher in order to be considered a “qualified” paraprofessional as defined in Title I Part A, Section 1119 and its corresponding regulations.
Sec. 1120 - Participation of Children Enrolled in Private Schools
The mandate requiring local school districts to use a portion of their Title I grants to provide compensatory education services to private school students has been a part of the Title I authorizing legislation since the original 1965 law was enacted. LEAs are required to consult with private school officials on important issues such as the location of services. Furthermore, Title I personnel should meet with private school officials to discuss the design and development of the Title I program.
The 1985 Supreme Court decision entitled Aguilar v. Felton stated that sending public school teachers into religious schools was unconstitutional. This court decision resulted in Title I services being provided in "neutral sites" such as vans, mobile units or classrooms on public property. In 1988 Congress created a special "capital grants" program to provide separate funding to cover the extra costs associated with serving private school children. In 1994 the new law simply states that capital expense funds must be spent "only for capital costs incurred to provide equitable services for private school children….."
On June 23, 1997 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Agostini v. Felton. In doing so, the Court overruled its 1985 decision in Aguilar V. Felton. Agostini v. Felton states that Title I services may be provided in religiously-affiliated private schools. This decision should have a positive impact on Title I services for both public and private school children because it eliminates the legal necessity for costly alternative arrangements for delivering Title I services to private school students.
Sec. 1120A - Fiscal Requirements
Federal funds may be used to pay salaries and wages as long as appropriate time distribution records are maintained documenting time on Federal cost objectives. Such records must be maintained in addition to the standards for payroll documentation.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-87, “Cost Principles for State, Local, and Indian Tribal Governments,” establishes cost principles for using federal funds to support compensation of personnel services. (See Attachment B, paragraph 11(h)). OMB Circular A-87 applies to School Districts.
Sec. 1120B - Coordination/Transition Plan Requirements
The district coordination and transition plan must be developed with the input of Even Start, Head Start, Reading First, Early Reading First, and other preschool / childcare programs as well as parents, community, and LEA staff. Indicate who is on the planning team by agency and role. Establish meeting times, dates, places and include this information in the plan. The LEA should document planning efforts with a short written narrative. Maintain historical perspective of the plan by adding information each year while keeping summary information about the initial planning and subsequent years. A short profile the community and school characteristics, demographics, and other pertinent information should be included to give the reader a sense of community and school factors impacting the plan.
Indicate desired outcomes for the plan in statement form or by crafting formal goals and objectives. The purpose of the plan should be evident. Profile information and a description of the local indicators used to evaluate the program.
Coordination and Communication
List of the agencies and programs the district is coordinating with. Each district must coordinate with its local Head Start program. Give the specific name of the Head Start serving the district. Include Even Start, Reading First, Early Reading First, Birth to Three Connections, and Special Education 619 programs. The LEA must coordinate and include in its plan other preschool and childcare programs. Describe the coordination efforts with each of these agencies. Specify how the educational services provided by the district are linked with the services provided by local Head Start agencies and other early childhood programs.
Channels of communication must be established between school staff and their counterparts (including teachers, social workers, and health staff) in such Head Start agencies and other early childhood development programs to facilitate coordination of programs. Meetings must be conducted involving parents, kindergarten or elementary school teachers, and Head Start teachers or, if appropriate, teachers from other early childhood development programs, to discuss the developmental and other needs of individual children, including children with disabilities. The plan should describe how staff visitations between the various programs are facilitated.
A written transition plan must be in place to provide assistance for the transition of preschool-aged children into Kindergarten. This includes coordination with local and community child education and care agencies. The plan will document procedures, activities, means of communication, and agreements the district and early childhood agencies will follow. The plan must accommodate the needs of all four-year old children in the district and their families.
Describe the district’s transition process to prepare four-year-old children and their families for kindergarten. Include transition plans for children with disabilities transitioning from one program to another. Sample activities and the approximate timeframe for these events should be listed in the plan.
Describe how the agencies have developed and implemented a systematic procedure for receiving records regarding children transitioning into kindergarten. These records must be transferred with parental consent. Records transfer is required for each transition. Early childhood records should be provided to the district. If the district conducts screenings, those screening results back to should be shared back with the early childhood agencies the child has transitioned from. Collect child information from parent.
The plan will describe how joint transition-related training will be organized. Participation of school staff, Head Start program staff, and other early childhood development program staff will participate in such joint training. Suggest topics of interest might include: developmentally appropriate practices, Early Learning Guidelines, and behavior intervention. Design and deliver training and education for parents across the community.
Parent Involvement and Education
Parents must be involved in the development of the plan and ongoing evaluation of the program. Districts with Title I schools could include the district’s Parent Involvement Policy and a sample of a School Parent compact. Establish continuity of parental involvement in early childhood programs into district activities. Family activities and conferences must be planed. Essential to children feeling safe and secure in the new setting.
Provide opportunities for training, including parenting education. Parents must be provided assistance in interpreting test results. Assist parents in knowing what they can do to support their child’s learning and development. Support parents as they provide for their children to enhance development.
The coordination and transition plan must be annually evaluated and revised as necessary. Indicate how the coordination and transition plan is annually evaluated. Surveys or checklists could be used to gather feedback from parents and agencies. Describe the evaluation process and criteria used. Indicate when the evaluation takes place. Evaluate the transition process and make adjustments as necessary.
All stakeholders must be involved in the evaluation process: parents, receiving agency, and sending agency. Indicate the names and positions of the evaluation team which must include, at a minimum: district staff, including at least one kindergarten and preschool teacher (if applicable), Head Start staff, representation of early childhood agencies in district (child care, private preschools, Early Reading First, Even Start, etc.), and parents (preferably at least one parent of a current four year old and one parent of a current kindergarten student).
If you have questions, please contact the Office of Educational Support and Services at the South Dakota Department of Education at 605-773-6400.