Comprehensive Needs Assessment Part II

This is the time of year Federal Program Directors are beginning the planning process for FY22. In my last post, I talked about conducting surveys of all stakeholders to not only garner input for planning but to evaluate the prior year’s plan implementation. Once you have obtained the feedback from the surveys, the planning process can begin in earnest.

Planning takes place on both the LEA level and the school level, if the school is a schoolwide school. The process is very much the same for both LEA and school. Mississippi guidelines require us to have a planning process that is led by a team composed of representatives from all stakeholders. This team should include a representative from a variety of areas such as administration, teachers (from a variety of grades and/or content areas, IEP, EL representative, and Title funded), paraprofessionals, parents and community, and students, if on the secondary level. This team should meet at least once a year to review the prior year’s plan and make any revisions in light of the data from the comprehensive needs assessment.

The comprehensive needs assessment is a multi-faceted approach which not only includes the survey but is also composed of data from other school areas such as student achievement, discipline, attendance, curriculum, school culture, professional development, and parent and family engagement. Using the data, the planning team should determine what is working well in the district and why and what is not working and why. After this, school or district priorities should be identified. On the LEA level, these priorities will drive the district’s goals and objectives and determine how federal funds are spent. On the school level, the priorities will determine the action steps that match each of the district’s goals and objectives and determine how the school will budget their funds. All federal fund expenditures should be tied to one of the identified goals, objectives, and action steps.

This process works very well if planning takes place in the spring using the data available so plans can be written within the State Department guidelines. In the fall when new data becomes available, the team should review the data and determine if any revisions need to be made to the plan. Throughout the school year, the school team can continue to review the schoolwide plan on an ongoing basis through leadership meetings or data meetings. I suggest that a new team not be established, but use the current school team(s) for this process. Much of what is discussed through regular school meetings is related to the schoolwide plan. Include the schoolwide topics on the agenda and you will have your documentation when it is needed.

All meetings should be documented through agendas, sign-in sheets, minutes, and artifacts collected in the planning process. All documentation will be necessary for monitoring purposes. The planning process and the review process are addressed by several monitoring indicators, so be sure to keep all records.

Let the planning process begin.

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