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- New Title I Review Schedules Released
- Potential Warning Signs of Homelessness
- Regional Review Highlights
- Roles & Responsibilities of Federal Programs Administrators




New Title I Review Schedules Released

The new 3-year Title review schedule for both on-site and regional reviews has been posted on the DOE’s website at http://doe.sd.gov/oess/reviews.asp. These include reviews scheduled for school years 2012-2013 through 2014-2015. These schedules are based on Title I Part A school district allocation for the school year 2011-12.

Any district that receives $70,000 or less for a regular Title I Part A allocation will participate in a regional review once every three years. If there are significant findings from the regional review, those districts could be included on the list for an on-site visit during the next school year. Three random selections are made from schools listed under each year’s regional review schedule and those districts selected will be reviewed on-site instead of participating in a regional review.

All other districts (over $70,000) will be reviewed on-site once every three years. If there are significant findings at a district, they could have another on-site review the next year.

Districts will be advised via the DOE’s website, if they are scheduled for either an on-site visit or a regional review.

Technical assistance sessions, focusing on weaknesses being identified during reviews, will be provided throughout the year via either Live Meeting or DDN sessions. Schools slated for reviews during the next calendar year are highly encouraged to participate in these sessions.

Questions/concerns regarding the review schedule may be directed to the Title I programs representatives by calling (605)773-6400.




Potential Warning Signs of Homelessness

(These warning signs were adapted from flyers developed by Illinois and Pennsylvania Departments of Education)

Note: While these are considered warning signs, please recognize that they only offer general guidance. There is significant variability within the school-age homeless population. Individual students may differ significantly from the following general characteristics.

Lack of Continuity in Education
• Attendance at many different schools
• Lack of personal records needed to enroll
• Inability to pay fees
• Gaps in skill development
• Mistaken diagnosis of abilities
• Poor organizational skills
• Poor ability to conceptualize

Poor Health/Nutrition
• Lack of immunizations and/or immunization records
• Unmet medical and dental needs
• Increased vulnerability to colds & flu
• Respiratory problems
• Skin rashes
• Chronic hunger (may horde food)
• Fatigue (may fall asleep in class)

Transportation and Attendance Problems
• Erratic attendance and tardiness
• Numerous absences
• Lack of participation in after-school activities
• Lack of participation in field trips
• Absences on days when students bring special treats from home
• Inability to contact parents

Poor Hygiene
• Lack of shower facilities/washers, etc.
• Wearing same clothes for several days
• Inconsistent grooming – well-groomed one day and poorly groomed the next

Lack of Privacy/Personal Space After School
• Consistent lack of preparation for school
• Incomplete or missing homework (no place to work or keep supplies)
• Unable to complete special projects (no access to supplies)
• Lack of basic school supplies
• Loss of books and other supplies on a regular basis
• Concern for safety of belongings
• Refusing invitations from classmates

Social and Behavioral Concerns
• A marked change in behavior
• Poor/short attention span
• Poor self esteem
• Extreme shyness
• Unwillingness to risk forming relationships with peers and teachers
• Difficulty socializing at recess
• Difficulty trusting people
• Aggression
• “Old” beyond years
• Protective of parents
• Clinging behavior
• Developmental delays
• Fear of abandonment
• School phobia (student wants to be with parent)
• Need for immediate gratification
• Anxiety late in the school day

Reaction/Statements by Parent, Guardian, or Child
• Exhibiting anger or embarrassment when asked about current address
• Mention of staying with grandparents, other relatives, friends, or in a motel or comments, such as:
   - “I don’t remember the name of our previous school.”
   - “We’ve been moving around a lot.”
   - “Our address is new; I can’t remember it.” (may hide lack of permanent address)
   - “We’re staying with relatives until we get settled.”
   - “We’re going through a bad time right now.”
   - “We’ve been unpacking, traveling, etc.,” to explain poor appearance and/or hygiene.




Regional Review Highlights

Whew! It sure has been a whirlwind fall this year around our office. The team has been out in full force trying to complete as many reviews as possible before the snow flies and the roads get harder to travel on. I think we ran into a run of luck with the weather this year. We have finished more than half of our reviews and wanted to thank the districts for being so prepared and working with us.

This year we piloted a new process called the Regional Review. It took the place of and “beefed up” the traditional desk review. The meetings were held at five locations across the state with 23 districts attending the meetings. There have been some large benefits gained from this process. All districts were able to view and help review another district. Great examples of policies and plans were shared among them. Fewer findings resulted due to the technical assistance and time to complete the requirements. Letters are still being written and corrective action plans are still being submitted, but it is turning out to have many benefits for both sides of the review.

The Title I team was not sure how this endeavor would actually turn out, but with a few glitches worked out early; the process was able to be streamlined by the last meeting. There were a few adjustments made based on district input and needs that came out of each meeting. Districts attended with a team, reviewed another district’s program, gain technical assistance, learned how to avoid the top findings, saw excellent samples and examples, had time to work together, reviewed their own program, and left with a final “to do” list to be completed within a two week period. Many districts actually left having completed most of the process without a “to do” list. The response was wonderful. Even with the busy time of year, everyone was timely and pleasant to work with.

Evaluations about the process will be sent out later to districts that attended these meetings. Once the process is completed it will be nice to have some feedback to help shape the next round. Thank you for the great efforts!




Districts Piloting New Programs

A few school districts in South Dakota are piloting two programs this school year new to our state. One program, called Indistar, targets South Dakota’s Tier I and II schools that received a School Improvement Grant either for the 2010-11 or 2011-12 school year. The other program, called the Academy for Pacesetting Districts©, is for districts either in district improvement or with schools in improvement. Both programs were developed by the Center for Innovation and Improvement, which works with one of the regional labs developed by US Ed.

Indistar is a web-based system implemented by a state education agency for use with district and/or school improvement teams to inform, coach, sustain, track, and report improvement activities. The tool contains indicators of evidence-based practices at the district, school, and classroom levels to improve student learning. Indistar will guide improvement teams — whether district, school, or both — through a continuous cycle of assessment, planning, implementation, and progress tracking.

The Indistar program has several different sets of indicators of effective practice including Rapid Improvement Indictors, District Improvement Indicators, School Improvement Grant Indicators, Special Education Indicators, and Response to Intervention Indicators (RTI). At this time, six schools from four districts are piloting the School Improvement Grant Indictors of Effective Practice. The process will run the length of their grant, which is two or three years depending on when the school received the grant.

The Academy for Pacesetting Districts is a year-long opportunity for districts to explore their current district operations with a particular focus on district support for school improvement. The goal is to develop efficient and effective district policies to enhance growth in student learning through differentiated supports to schools. School districts either in improvement or with schools in improvement were invited to join the Academy experience. McLaughlin, Todd County, and Sioux Falls have chosen to participate.

Along with the Academy, Indistar will be used to help the districts with the process. The three districts will use the District Improvement Indicators of Effective Practice.



Winter 2012