Happy New Year to 2024

It is hard to believe it is already 2024, and the school year is halfway over!  I hope everyone had a safe, relaxing, and joyous holiday break and you could return to work refreshed and renewed.

So, what’s next for us in 2024?  To name just a few upcoming requirements, we can anticipate the FY24 reallocation, school improvement applications, diligent search for Title equitable services, comprehensive needs assessment surveys, and monitoring visits for some districts.  MDE has announced that FY25 grants may be available in March, and ESSER monitoring will occur for some districts.  It’s a lot!

This is a lot for anyone to handle.  As I’ve mentioned,  if you are not already a part of a Federal Programs Consortium, I suggest finding a group.  A consortium is a great way to talk with others going through the same thing as you.  The Consortium can provide technical, moral, and mental support.  If you don’t know of a Consortium, don’t hesitate to contact the MDE Federal Programs Office and ask for a referral to a group.  Another suggestion is to take deep, slow breaths and realize that you can only do so much.  Look at your deadlines and plan your time accordingly.  If you need an extension for a deadline, please do not hesitate to ask for one from MDE.  They do understand and are usually very accommodating.

The Title equitable search process is required of all districts regardless of whether private schools are in the area.  One must document there are no eligible private schools.  Many of us conduct equitable searches by doing a Google search of the city/county for private schools.  Make a screenshot of the findings and note if they are in your district zone.  Save the Google search; upload it into your LEA document library when MDE advises.  An additional form of documentation is an email to all employees asking if they know of any private schools serving kindergarten and higher grades inside your district boundaries.  Maintain the email and any replies.  If any private schools are mentioned, follow up and make notes of your findings.

If you use Education Resources for your comprehensive needs assessment, you should have much of your stress relieved.  You will benefit from the question bank and resources, as well as from the survey responses.  If not, you must prepare your questions, deploy the survey, and begin collecting the data.

Deep breaths!  Good luck.  I promise you will survive the next few months.

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