The Council of Great City Schools 2017 District Operations Performance Measurement and Benchmarking Report from Fiscal Year 2015-16 is now live! Download here

Are Charter Schools Considered School Districts or just Schools?

By Dr. David Holbrook | August 1, 2017

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) went into effect at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year, forcing districts across the country to evaluate, re-write, and re-translate the parent and family notifications that are required under the law. During a webinar training about the required changes (recorded July 24, 2017), the question was raised, “Which letters do charter schools use to schedule a Parent and Family Engagement Policy development meeting, the ‘school’ level letter or the ‘district’ level letter?”

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U.S. Department of Education Issues Request for Comments on Regulatory Reform in Response to Trump Executive Order

By Dr. David Holbrook | July 28, 2017

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) published a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments concerning regulations and policy guidance that members of the public might recommend to be repealed, replaced, or modified. The Federal Register notice is in response to Trump’s Executive Order 13777, which requires federal agencies to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force to evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations to the agency head regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification, consistent with applicable law. The executive order says, that, at “a minimum, each Regulatory Reform Task Force shall attempt to identify regulations that:

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The New ActPointKPI Community Connects You to the Top Performing Districts in the Country

By Phillip Smith | July 27, 2017

Private sector entities rarely share what best practices they have employed to attain a competitive advantage. This is exactly the opposite of my experience in K12. Superintendents, administrators, educators want to share best practices so others can gain those advantages.  

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House Appropriations Bill Retains Significant Funding for 21st Century Community Learning Center Programs

By Dr. David Holbrook | July 27, 2017

Back in April I wrote about the efforts of local, state, and national organizations who were urging congressional leaders to retain funding for the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21CCLC) program (ESSA Title IV, Part B) at no less than the current funding level ($1.167 billion). Trump’s budget proposal included elimination of the 21CCLC program and advocates for this program came out to support the program in force. Well, their efforts may be seeing some results.

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Response to Trump Executive Order: U.S. Department of Education Issues Request for Comments on Regulatory Reform

By Dr. David Holbrook | July 11, 2017

The U.S. Department of Education (USED) published a notice in the Federal Register requesting comments concerning regulations and policy guidance that members of the public might recommend to be repealed, replaced, or modified. The Federal Register notice is in response to Trump’s Executive Order 13777, which requires federal agencies to establish a Regulatory Reform Task Force to evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations to the agency head regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification, consistent with applicable law. The executive order says, that, at “a minimum, each Regulatory Reform Task Force shall attempt to identify regulations that:

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Section 508 Compliance and TransACT Parent Notices

By Dr. David Holbrook | June 21, 2017

TransACT Parent Notices is an online subscription for educators and administrators to manage their federal parent communication requirements. We offer expertly written, legally reviewed parent notifications in multiple languages, guidance on important requirements, and access to expertise to support understanding federal requirements under the Every Student Succeeds Act, Section 504, and IDEA

Occasionally, we receive questions about whether our Parent Notices and software as a service (SAAS) platform comply with the Section 508 Standards of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. §  794(d)). This can be a point of confusion because Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act specifically applies to school districts serving students with disabilities, but Section 508 of the Rehabilitations Act applies only to Federal Agencies (not to States or school districts).

The Section 508 standards for accessibility for individuals with disabilities apply to Federal Agencies, in the development, procurement, maintenance, or use of electronic and information technology. The Section 508 standards do not apply to States and school districts because these agencies are not Federal Agencies. TransACT products are purchased by States and school districts. The Section 508 standards do not apply to TransACT because Federal Agencies do not engage in the procurement of TransACT products.

For more information on a subscription to compliant parent notifications in multiple languages for ESSA, Section 504 and IDEA for your district, request a demonstration here.

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The Staggering Cost of Parent Communication Requirements Under ESSA

By Alyssa Thornley | June 12, 2017

There is a financial burden related to creating parent notice communications in-house, especially since there are several components to a successful, ESEA- compliant communications plan, including:

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Using Remaining Funds Prior to the New Budget Year to Start School Year 2017-18 Off Strong

By Tina Nguyen | May 29, 2017

In just one month the 2016-17 school year will end, and districts will begin to grapple with implementing changes required by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) beginning July 1st, 2017. As the end of the budget year approaches, now is the time to leverage remaining allocated funds to address ESSA requirements for the upcoming 17-18 school year. 

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The Issue of N-Size in EL Accountability under ESSA

By Dr. David Holbrook | May 25, 2017

The National Council of State Title III Directors (NCSTIIID) hosted national meetings in Los Angeles, CA, jointly with the Council of the Great City Schools Bilingual Directors on May 16th and 17th. While many topics were discussed, one of the top concerns brought up by Title III Directors relates to the potentially significant reduction in the number of ELs that will be included in accountability determinations for making progress toward English proficiency under ESSA (the Elementary and Secondary Education Act as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act 2015)

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Innovative Solutions for Two Common District Operations Challenges

By Phillip Smith | May 25, 2017

At the 2017 COO conference for the Council of Great City Schools, operations leaders from across the country were asked to surface their biggest operations challenges and share innovative solutions they had found. Among the myriad of issues operations leaders face, districts reported 2 common challenges:

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