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Meeting of the Board of Regents | November 2003

Saturday, November 1, 2003 - 7:00am




The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


James A. Kadamus


EMSC-VESID Committee


Report on NCLB Requirements for Parent Involvement


October 17, 2003




Update on Parent Involvement Initiatives Under NCLB


1, 3, 4



Family involvement has long been a major component of the Department's strategy to promote higher academic standards. The passage of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation has created new opportunities and challenges for the Department and local school districts to redefine the role of parents and ensure that each parent is informed and empowered to make decisions about their children's education. The attached report provides background on NCLB parent involvement provisions and outlines the Department's current and future strategies to empower and inform parents.




Report on NCLB Requirements for Parent Involvement


The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which is the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), holds schools responsible for results, encourages greater local flexibility, gives parents more options, and promotes teaching methods that work. Promoting parent involvement has long been a part of federal legislative requirements and New York State policy. NCLB provides states and local districts an opportunity and the challenge to remove traditional barriers to effective parent engagement and create new policies and practices that strengthen the home-school connection.

Research suggests that parent involvement has a positive impact on student achievement. When parents are involved, the percentage increases of students who earn higher grades, attend school more regularly, improve their behavior, have better social skills, graduate and pursue higher education. Despite a growing body of evidence that supports the importance of strong home-school connections, many barriers to meaningful engagement remain. Issues such as lack of transportation, language and cultural barriers, inadequate childcare, unfamiliarity with how schools work, school climate, and lack of information continue to affect partnerships between parents and schools.

NCLB expands and in many instances redefines the legislative commitment to parental involvement that appeared in earlier reauthorizations of ESEA. Building on long-standing requirements for school-parent compacts and written district and school parental involvement polices, NCLB focuses on the importance of public reporting as a way to improve school accountability and requires districts to reserve 1 percent of their Title I funds for parent involvement activities, with 95 percent of this set-aside going directly to the schools. The recurring theme of NCLB is: Schools must regard parents as active, knowledgeable decisionmakers who are entitled to information that will allow them to make informed choices about their children's education.

Summary of Key NCLB Parent Involvement Requirements

Parents are entitled to:

  • Receive information on their children's academic progress in terms that they can understand and, when practical, in languages they understand.
  • Participate on school support teams.
  • Receive notification if their child's school or district has been identified as in need of improvement. They must be told why the school or district was identified, how the school or district plans to improve and help students do better, how the State and local district are helping their child's school, what options are available to parents and how the parent can participate in upgrading the quality of the educational program.
  • Transfer their children out of Title I schools identified as in need of improvement or schools designated as persistently dangerous.
  • Choose a supplemental educational service (SES) provider.

  • Receive information about the professional qualifications of teachers and paraprofessionals in Title I programs.

  • Receive written notification if their child is assigned to a bilingual program and the options available to them.

Schools and districts are required to:

  • Issue report cards and other assessment reports on how the district and school are performing in a language that parents can understand.

  • Develop a plan for effective parental involvement in all school-level activities.

  • Set aside an amount equivalent to up to 20 percent of their Title I funds to provide SES and transportation for public school choice.
  • Reserve 1 percent of Title I funds for parent involvement activities; 95 percent of the 1 percent setaside must go directly to the schools.

  • Notify parents of when a school or the district has been identified as in need of improvement and inform parents of their options.

  • Identify for parents approved supplemental educational service providers and provide assistance, where requested, in the selection of a service provider.

  • Inform parents regarding the qualifications of teachers and paraprofessionals (instructional) in Title I schools.
  • Provide written notification to parents of children enrolled in Title I-funded bilingual programs and a description of how the classes will help their children. Inform parents that they may choose to opt out of bilingual programs.

The State Education Department is required to:

  • Provide technical support to assist schools in implementing effective parent involvement programs that are based on proven methods and scientifically-based research.
  • Issue reports to parents, in a language they can understand.

  • Ensure report cards are issued that tell parents how schools are performing and how their children are performing in relation to other groups of students.
  • Provide technical assistance to Title I schools having problems implementing parental involvement programs.

  • Collect and disseminate information on effective parental involvement practices and provide assistance to schools to implement, expand and strengthen parent involvement programs.


Efforts to Date

The State Education Department has undertaken the following actions:

Building Capacity

  • Used funds to provide training and technical support to school districts, with an emphasis on providing on-site support and technical assistance to the Big 5 districts.

  • Coordinated parent involvement efforts across the agency to build on the strengths of existing programs and develop new approaches to meet NCLB requirements.
  • Reviewed and revised the consolidated application process to ensure that consultation with parents is occurring and parent involvement provisions of NCLB are being met across the Titles.
  • Conducted technical assistance sessions, including "Writing to Reach Parents" workshops, in Albany, Buffalo and Rochester.

Building Awareness

  • Organized parent focus groups in New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, and Albany composed of 50 parents and district staff.
  • Developed printed materials and web site information for parents in several languages to ensure that parents and schools receive consistent, clear messages about the core components of NCLB. Materials developed include:

  • NCLB Communications Tool Kit (see Appendix A);

  • Eight Tip sheets for parents � "Just the Facts for New York Parents" (available in English, Urdu, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Haitian Creole);

  • Teacher manual on home-school connection (in collaboration with the New York City Regional School Support Center and the United Federation of Teachers); and

  • Educating our Children Together: A Sourcebook for Effective School-Community Partnerships.

  • Provided guidance to parents and the general public to inform them of requirements under NCLB through the television program, "Education Dialogue," and shifted programming of Education Dialogue to focus exclusively on NCLB topics.

Implementation and Support

  • Developed and expanded the list of supplemental educational service providers to include community and faith-based groups.

  • Advocated for legislative support of current parent involvement programs.

  • Implemented NCLB law and regulations that require parent involvement and notification.

  • Collaborated with the New York City Regional School Support Center, United Federation of Teachers, RMC Corporation, Community Based Organizations, districts, schools and parents on the development of resources, materials and training sessions for schools and parent advocacy groups.

Next Steps

During the 2003-04 school year, the goals of the Department will include:

  • Working with districts and schools to increase the number of families that take advantage of SES and public school choice.

  • Identifying resources to provide rewards and incentives to schools to encourage the development and implementation of innovative parent engagement programs.

  • Expanding the list of SES providers to increase the number of community and faith-based organizations with successful experience in meeting the needs of diverse communities.

  • Providing up-to-date professional development opportunities to districts, schools and communities about NCLB parent requirements.

  • Ensuring internal collaboration within the Department to provide clarity for schools, districts and parents.


Appendix A: Just the Facts for New York Parents and Parent Communication Toolkit

In order for parents to become informed decision-makers, parents must understand the basic components of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Parents need information that is presented in a clear, concise and attractive format. To meet these needs, the Office of New York City School Improvement and Community Services, in collaboration with offices across the Department and the RMC Corporation, developed a series of fact sheets designed to provide information about the basic components of NCLB.

In August 2002, over 50 parents from Niagara Falls, Rochester, Buffalo and New York City participated in three focus groups sponsored by the New York State Education Department (SED). The purpose of these groups was to gain parent feedback on draft parent information sheets pertaining to NCLB and Title I. SED staff, with the assistance of the RMC Corporation, then incorporated the recommendations of the focus group into a series of eight information sheets entitled, Just the Facts for New York Parents. The fact sheets explain the basics of NCLB. Although the target audience is parents, the fact sheets are suitable for use by a variety of audiences in the education community. Topics covered include:

An Overview of NCLB

Supplemental Education Services

Public School Choice

Schools in Need of Improvement

Services for Limited English Proficient Students

School Report Cards

Parent Involvement Policies for Schools and School Districts

Teacher Qualifications

These information sheets are available in English and seven other languages: Urdu, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, and Haitian Creole and will be made available in print and posted on the SED web site.