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Food Services in School Cafeterias - 3 KPIs to Track

By Phillip Smith | September 7, 2017

In 2004, the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS) began its mission to provide school district operations leaders with a framework for measuring and improving their district's performance. One department that sees a particular uplift from regular performance measurement and adjustment is food services. Child Nutrition Services are a fundamental component of the services that school districts provide to their students, and they can have a measurable impact on student achievement. However, it is challenging to balance meeting nutrition standards for school meals, encourage students to participate in meal programs, and prove that programs are affordable and profitable.

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English Language Proficiency Standards and Reading/Language Arts Content Standards: What’s the Difference?

By Dr. David Holbrook | August 14, 2017

Over the years that I have worked with students learning English (English learners or ELs), I have met a number of well-meaning educators and parents that don't understand the difference between English Language Proficiency (ELP) standards and English content standards also know as reading/language arts content standards. For some parents and educators that don't have training or experience working with ELs, the idea that there are two types of English standards is confusing. 

So, I (and a number of my colleagues) was glad to see that the U.S Department of Education (USED) recently published guidance that specifically addressed this issue. 

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Increased Rigor for Content Standards Impacts the Amount of Students in EL Programs

By Dr. David Holbrook | August 11, 2017

Education Week recently published an article about the increased rigor in the new English Language Proficiency (ELP) test (assessment) ACCESS 2.0. ACCESS 2.0 is the ELP test made available through the WIDA consortium. According to the EdWeek article, and several other articles that have been published on this topic, significantly fewer English Learners (ELs) tested proficient in English on ACCESS 2.0 in comparison to previous years when the previous version of this test was used.

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Can ESEA (ESSA) Funds be used to Pay EL Teacher’s Salaries?

By Dr. David Holbrook | August 2, 2017

When I was employed at a state department of education, I monitored school districts for compliance with ESEA requirements for both Title I and Title III. I also contracted with the U.S. Department of Education (USED) and helped USED monitor Title III in five states. One of the most common English Learner (EL) program monitoring issues I found was an improper use of Title I or Title III funds to pay for the salaries of teachers working in a district’s core “language instruction educational program” (LIEP), also know as an EL program.

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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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