Lessons from a Monitoring Visit – Part 2

Last month I shared a few lessons learned from a monitoring visit.  In that blog, I discussed procedures and documentation that could prevent a monitoring finding on indicator H-1.  This month, I  want to continue that discussion since there has been a change in the procurement thresholds.  During this past legislative session, the Mississippi Senate … Read more

Lessons from a Monitoring Visit Part 1

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) is finishing the FY22 monitoring on FY21 documentation.  After spending time with districts going through monitoring and working with them as they receive their reports, I would like to share some feedback that would better help the rest of us as we prepare for future monitoring visits from MDE. … Read more

Maintenance of Equity

Welcome to Federal Programs where there is always something new! 😉 The MDE introduced maintenance of equity (MOEquity) to us this month.  MOEquity is a provision brought to us by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP Act).  The State departments and LEAs must show MOEquity as a condition of receiving ARP ESSER funds. … Read more

Supplement Not Supplant and Maintenance of Effort

I learned today that the supplement not supplant (SNS) provision no longer applies to Title I district-level budgeted expenditures.  Federal program directors were initially told SNS applied to Title I schools, not district-level costs, since LEAs had to provide a methodology for funding schools.  Maybe I missed it along the way, but I did not have this understanding of SNS.  The SNS interpretation may make a difference in how you budget your Title I funds going forward.   Many LEAs shifted costs from the district and other federal grants to ESSER.  As these funds run out, LEAs may have to make different decisions on using Title I dollars.  LEAs may budget any Title I funds for expenditures that are 1) required under state or local law and/or 2) were provided in the prior school year with state or local funds.

Before I leave SNS, all must recognize SNS still applies to all other Title programs: Title II, Title III (EL and Immigrant), Title IV (A & B), and Title V- B Rural and Low-Income, with an additional SNS provision.  It is supplanting if the expenditures in these grants provide the same services as those in other federal and non-federal programs.

SNS leads to another important topic – maintenance of effort (MOE).  The LEA needs to be very aware of the impact of shifting district expenditures to federal costs – Title or ESSER.  A 10% decrease in district funding from one year to the next can impact MOE.  The MOE statute requires the LEA to obligate within 90% of State funds from one year to the next.  If there is a 10% or more decrease in funding, all Title funds will be reduced by that percentage.  If the district has expended the funds, the LEA will have to repay the funds.

MDE will calculate MOE for this year by comparing 2020 expenditures to 2021.  You can find the formula at  https://www.mdek12.org/sites/default/files/documents/OSF/FETSInformation/title-i—maintenance-of-effort.pdf

I suggest that one consider what expenses have been reclassified to ESSER ARP or other programs to see if it will impact MOE for next year.

Good luck as we continue to walk this road of federal funding!

Are Your Schools Comparable?

Many of us are now in the process of determining if our schools are comparable.  In Mississippi, we use a comparability workbook provided by MDE to complete the process.  Even though MDE hosted a helpful technical assistance, questions often arise once one starts on the project.  Due to Covid, this is another year for which … Read more

Parent and Family Engagement FY22 – Still COVID

Last year at this time, I wrote a blog on Parent and Family Engagement during the COVID pandemic.  At the time, I thought that I was only having to address that topic for that unique time frame.  Well, unfortunately, I was wrong.  Here we are a year later, and the topic is still relevant and necessary.  You may want to go back in the All Posts and look for the August 31, 2020 entry for specific hints on how to hold virtual meetings.  Since this topic is still very important and is still required,  I want to address some of the same content.

As last year began, this year began.  Schools started back and COVID came barreling in to the buildings.  Due to the spread of COVID, many districts and schools are not allowing visitors into the buildings.  This causes a problem when trying to engage parents in meaningful ways that help their children achieve academically.  So what can we do to not only engage parents but meet the federal requirements for parent engagement?

Many parents are juggling work, child care, home life, and virtual classes for their children.  They, like all educators, are overwhelmed and tired.   Virtual meetings can be a meaningful use of time if done intentionally.  Too often, we look at these meetings as necessary evils rather than helpful information for parents.  For me, it means an attitude shift.  I need to think as a parent.  If I have a limited amount of time and limited energy, what topics would be useful for me to consider joining in on or watching?  When choosing topics, consider those topics parents identified in your comprehensive needs assessment survey and match them to those required for monitoring.  For instance, a requirement for monitoring is to provide parents with assistance in understanding state and academic standards.  Parents often mark they need help in helping their children with math, reading, or science.  Why not hold virtual subject area training meetings.  Each grade level teacher can hold a zoom, google meet, Teams, etc. session to which parents are invited to attend.  They can then model math standards and give helpful hints to parents. These sessions can be recorded and posted for those parents unable to attend.  Another idea is to hold a virtual meeting where teachers explain how to read the screener and/or state test results, and then provide strategies as to how to help improve these reports.  This will meet monitoring requirements and often is noted in parent surveys.

The Annual Meeting is where many of the required topics can be presented and addressed. The Title I Annual Meeting can be held virtually via your chosen platform and recorded.  A powerpoint similar to this one, Annual Meeting,  can help you address all the required elements.  Record the meeting and post on social media and the school website. Be sure to take screenshots of the postings and keep documentation of the invitations and the attendee list from the meeting.  Most platforms allow one to print the attendees of the meeting.  If not, have the attendees type their name and role in the chat box.  It is also a great idea if you attach a short survey at the end of the presentation to collect feedback.  This can be feedback on how to spend the 1% Title I parent and family engagement funds, feedback on if the schoolwide plan is acceptable, and/or feedback on the presentation itself.  Links to the Parent Right-to-Know, Parent and Family Engagement Plan, School Compact, or other parent information can be attached to the presentation and should also be posted on social media.  Be sure to screenshot these posting as well.

May your year go smoothly, and when it doesn’t, let’s remember everyone is experiencing fatigue of some kind.  Let’s try to make it a point to view the situation from a different perspective and offer grace to each other.

 

More COVID Relief on the Way

For all those dealing with federal dollars for K-12 schools, are you ready for more money? There’s more money on the way. So far, we here in Mississippi are spending funds from the (1) CARES Act (ESSER I) passed in March 2020 and are currently (2) completing applications for the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental … Read more

Comprehensive Needs Assessment I

It’s time for LEAs to start planning for use of federal funds for the FY22 school year.  This is a time to look ahead and project how we will spend our federal dollars based on the LEA’s needs.  It’s a time of gathering data to enable an efficient review of the current year and prior … Read more

Revisions to Title Plans

About now, many districts are looking at making revisions to their  FY19, FY20, or even FY21 plans.  In addition, Title reallocations should be released soon.  Revisions can be cumbersome and time consuming.  I would like to share with you some hints I’ve discovered over the years that help me complete my revisions and help with … Read more

ESSERF Equitable Services Update #2

As I’m sure you are now aware, a summary judgment was issued against the ESSERF Interim Rule which resulted in it being thrown out by the courts.  ESSERF is now to be allocated in the same manner as for equitable services for Title I schools.  If this has caused problems for you like it has … Read more