Many school districts are already back in full swing of the new school year, while others are getting ready to kick off. Whatever your district’s start time, it is a busy and exciting time. As Federal Programs Director, I don’t want to overwhelm my principals with too much paperwork; however, I know there are required activities that need to take place. It means we must walk a fine line and stay aware of what is happening in the schools.
The start of school is the most suitable time to get parents engaged and informed. You may not see many of them again; therefore, providing them with the necessary federal program information becomes important at that time. I encourage my schools to share this information in multiple formats: registration packets, social media accounts, school webpage, and a school messaging system if you have one. In addition, the information should be shared at the Annual Title I Meeting. Information that needs to be shared includes the following.
- Parent-Right-to-Know – Transact has an ESSA-approved Parent-Right-to-Know in a pdf-fillable form that can be completed and printed with the school name and contact information. In addition, it can be printed in multiple languages.
- Parent Compact – Be sure your compact includes the required statements:
- Provide parent-teacher conferences, at least annually, during which the compact shall be discussed as the compact relates to the individual child’s achievement.
- Provide frequent reports to parents of their children’s progress.
- Provide reasonable access to staff, opportunities to volunteer and participate in their child’s class, and observe classroom activities.
- Ensure regular, meaningful two-way communication between family members and school staff, and to the extent practicable, in a language family members can understand.
- Parent and Family Engagement Plan – Parents should be provided with the school’s plan that has been reviewed and revised with parental input. The plan should contain the required components as outlined by ESEA and amended by ESSA. These components are included as part of the monitoring instrument. You can find many templates by googling ESSA School Parent and Family Engagement Plan.
In addition to parent notifications, the school should hold training for all faculty and staff addressing the following:
- FERPA/Personal Identifiable Information (PII)
- McKinney-Vento Homeless
- English Learner (EL) enrollment policies, procedures, and services. Be sure to keep signed documentation showing the District EL Plan and the procedures that were disseminated to the schools.
Many schools like to combine the Annual Title I Meeting with Open House. If your schools do this, please have them keep separate agendas and sign-in sheets that state Annual Title I Meeting. I use the Title I Meeting to address several monitoring indicators. The agenda and PowerPoint I use are in the following links. Be sure to advise schools to maintain their invitations and documentation of how parents were invited This will be good documentation, especially if very few people attend the meeting.
It’s a lot, but you can do it!
May this be the best school year yet!!!