Meeting of the Board of Regents | December 2007
THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
November 21, 2007
Goals 1and 2
Issue for Discussion
Should the New York State Education Department’s Coordinated Monitoring Plan be revised to ensure greater coordination among programs and include the monitoring of Contracts for Excellence?
Reason(s) for Consideration
Requested by members of the Board of Regents.
The question will come before the EMSC-VESID Committee for discussion at its December 2007 meeting.
The State Education Department has responsibility for monitoring State and federal programs as required by rules, regulations and guidelines. Under Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2007, the Department has an additional responsibility to monitor the implementation of the Contracts for Excellence. The proposed plan for monitoring addresses new legal mandates, the policy direction of the Board of Regents and the new P-16 administration in the Department.
This Plan strengthens the current Coordinated Monitoring approach and improves the alignment of resources to program requirements across Department offices and will promote a more complete assessment of school activities. This will enable the Department to provide greater support to districts while also holding them accountable. Across the Department we are identifying efficiencies, building procedural consistencies and identifying the appropriate/proportionate level of monitoring for State and federal programs.
Monitoring of the Contracts for Excellence and other Chapter 57 required monitoring, therefore, must be conducted, whenever possible, in coordination with all other SED school improvement efforts. This strategy will ensure the success of the State’s overall plan to improve academic performance in the lowest performing schools.
It is recommended that the Regents review the attached summary of the Department’s Coordinated Monitoring Plan. Staff is available to provide additional information as requested.
Timetable for Implementation
As indicated in the attached summary.
COORDINATED MONITORING PLAN
The goal of the Coordinated Monitoring Plan is to ensure that district/school programs will be reviewed in a comprehensive/cohesive way that will eliminate fragmented, independent program office reviews occurring at various times throughout the school year. The Plan takes into consideration the activities of program offices, fiscal offices, Department and independent CPA audits, and performance audits. Districts will now have access to a consolidated report from SED. This feedback will enable them to make necessary decisions in a more timely manner.
Purpose of the Coordinated Monitoring Plan
The Coordinated Monitoring Plan aligns Department resources to achieve the following:
- Assurance that funds are spent properly and efficiently;
- Compliance with federal and State requirements by reviewing programs in targeted districts;
- Improved efficiency by decreasing the number of isolated reviews by various program offices within SED, thereby minimizing disruptions in districts and schools;
- Integrated school improvement efforts among SED program offices to ensure improved student academic performance in the lowest performing districts/schools;
- Consistency and quality of information reported to districts and schools;
- Assistance to districts in prioritizing their school improvement needs and improve intervention strategies for the lowest performing students and the lowest performing schools; and
- Opportunity for the Department to provide greater support to schools.
In addition, the Plan assesses risk, taking into account:
- Amount of funding;
- Complexity of requirements;
- Systems and processes in place;
- Known weaknesses;
- Program managers input;
- Single audit coverage; and
- Program reviews.
Coordinated Monitoring Plan: 2007-08
In order to integrate SED school improvement efforts with coordinated monitoring, districts selected for coordinated monitoring reviews are the lowest performing districts with the greatest number of low performing schools. During school year 2007-08, five districts will be monitored in New York City and seven districts in the Rest of State, including one of the Big Four Cities.
Schools targeted for review are those that have repeatedly failed to make Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) and have been designated as in need of improvement for a significant number of years. The number of schools may vary from district to district depending on the size of the district.
Visits to schools are generally one to two days, based upon the school population and the number of programs. Reviews may include monitoring of: Title I; Title II; Title III/Commissioner’s Regulations, Part 154; Title IV; Title V; Commissioner’s Regulations Parts 100.3 and 100.4; Highly Qualified Teacher and Paraprofessional Requirements under NCLB; Supplemental Educational Services (SES) and Choice; Academic Intervention Services (AIS); and services to students with disabilities as required under NCLB. SED program staff from the each program area listed above will participate, as necessary.
Reports to the districts are generated within 30 days of the reviews. These reports provide feedback to districts and schools to ensure compliance with rules and regulations. In addition, reports include specific strategies for revising programs to better meet the needs of students.
Coordinated monitoring reviews will be conducted in April and May 2008 in New York City and in December through May in the Rest of State.
CONTRACTS FOR EXCELLENCE MONITORING
Purpose of Monitoring Contracts for Excellence
As part of the Board of Regents strategy to implement the provisions of Chapter 57 of the Laws of 2007, regulations were adopted effective April 27, 2007 that required certain districts to complete Contracts for Excellence (C4E) by July 1, 2007 for implementation in September 2007. These Contracts specify how the allocated funds support allowable programs that benefit students with the greatest educational needs. Department staff will ensure implementation accountability through fiscal review and monitoring.
Contracts for Excellence Monitoring Plan: 2007-08
All districts receiving Contracts for Excellence (C4E) funds are fiscally and programmatically accountable for expending Contract funds in accordance with their approved plans. SED will monitor C4E Plans to ensure that allocated funds support allowable programs that predominately benefit students with the greatest educational needs, including: limited English proficient students, students in poverty and students with disabilities.
In New York City, approximately 128 schools (four schools in each district) will be randomly selected for review. In the Rest of State, depending upon school achievement levels in each district, two to four schools will be selected. In the Big Four districts, six schools in each district will be selected.
Review of the implementation of the approved Contract for Excellence for each district will include the following areas: solicitation of public comment on the Contract; fidelity of implementation with the approved Contract; tracking of the receipt and spending of funds; appropriate targeting of funds to schools and students; and improved student results based on Contract performance targets.
These reviews will be conducted from March through May 2008. A written report will be issued to each district within 30 days of the reviews.
Twenty-one staff from the Office of School Improvement and Community Services (NYC) and 20 staff from the Office of School Improvement and Community Services (Regional) are responsible for coordinating and conducting these reviews. In addition, staff from the Office of School Operations and Management Services will assist on the fiscal reviews.
School Year 2008-09
During the following school year, the monitoring of Contracts for Excellence will be integrated into the state plan for Coordinated Monitoring, whenever possible.
VESID MONITORING ACTIVITIES
SED has formal coordination meetings, generally held on a monthly basis, to plan for the timely and consistent completion of monitoring and program responsibilities. The meetings include representatives of the New York City and regional offices of School Improvement and Community Services (OSICS) and the VESID Office of Special Education Quality Assurance (SEQA). Other Department offices are also included in coordination meetings based on agenda items. The Contract for Excellence monitoring protocols were developed using an inter-office approach. Moreover, SEQA representatives are included in all regional information sessions regarding the Contracts for Excellence.
The NYC Special Education Quality Assurance Regional Office monitoring schedule for the 2007-2008 school year focuses on both intermediate and secondary level schools, including some that have been identified as having a graduation rate less than 55 percent for students with disabilities. Schools identified as SINI-1 and SINI-2 will be reviewed in every district. This process is geared towards helping schools close to achieving AYP to develop quality improvement plans for improved student outcomes. Reviews include an educational benefit activity used to determine whether the design of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) was reasonably calculated for students to receive benefit from recommended special education programs and services. As part of this process, SED will assist district and school staff to identify and analyze patterns in the district’s/building’s IEP development and decision-making process.
VESID staff will also participate in the Coordinated Monitoring to review services to students with disabilities as required under NCLB, and whenever possible, participate in monitoring of the Contracts for Excellence.