The following key issues are the result of the Q&A that followed the ESSA Virtual Federal Program Services webinar on March 30, 2022.
1.Title I—Collection of Poverty Data
- There are five options for collection of poverty data, and the option that will yield the most accurate count of low-income private school students should be used.
- If a survey is used, the format and content must be agreed to by public and private school officials. The survey can be electronic or paper, as agreed to in consultation. The survey should protect the privacy of families and not include student or parent names. Sample surveys can be found in the MDEC publication, ESSA Toolkit, available at equitableservicesmdec.com/publications. Also, Title I guidance contains a sample form and can be accessed at https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/non-public-education/index.html.
- For private schools that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), school lunch forms can be used provided the identity of the students and family are protected. It is possible the private school participating in the NSLP is able to use the Community Eligibility Program (CEP) instead of collecting lunch forms yearly. For information on CEP, consult the Title I guidance found at https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/non-public-education/index.html.
- The LEA where the child resides is responsible for collecting low-income data and determining the funding that these private school students generate. The LEA where the child resides is also responsible for consultation and provision of services. This means that many private schools will need to work with multiple LEAs for Title I. The Title I guidance referenced at https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/non-public-education/index.html addresses this issue.
2.Provision of services under ESSA
- The design of the program of services is determined in consultation between public and private school officials. The program for private school students must be designed to meet the needs of the private school students.
- The consultation process must provide private school officials with the proportional share of funds available to serve eligible students in each program and an explanation of how that amount was determined. This is an important piece of information in order for private school officials to meaningfully participate in consultation and work with the LEA to design an effective program of services.
- Services from ESSA can include any of the allowable service options outlined in the law. The LEA cannot limit the types of services that can be offered prior to timely and meaningful consultation. The MDEC ESSA Toolkit found at equitableservicesmdec.com/publications. Also consult the guidance for each ESSA program at https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/non-public-education/index.html. Examples of services to serve private school students include (but are not limited to):
- Title I: direct instructional services, counseling, mentoring, professional development, parent and family engagement.
- Title II: professional development and coaching in the academic subject matters, classroom organization, special student needs, and use of technology and data.
- Title III: direct instructional services to English learners and immigrant students, support services for the families of these students, materials, and professional development.
- Title IVA: direct instructional services, counseling or mentoring, technology education, professional development, services for special populations, family support, and student health and safety programs.
- Prepare for consultation by gathering data (such as test scores), talking with teachers, and getting the input from parents. The result should be that you are prepared to talk specifically about how each program can best help your students.
- Know which questions to ask, such as the amount of funds available and how it was determined, the cost of various services being discussed, the use of a third party, how and where services will be provided, and how the services will be evaluated. Review the required topics for consultation in the U.S. Department of Education guidance (https://www2.ed.gov/about/inits/ed/non-public-education/index.html) and in both the ESSA Toolkit and the ESSA Consultation Guide (equitableservicesmdec.com/publications.