Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Spending Title II, Part A for Professional Development and Class-Size Reduction

Memo Information

Memo Number
COM-21-139
Memo Date
6/3/2021
Memo Type
Regulatory
Unit
Public School Accountability
Regulatory Authority
Every Student Succeeds Act
Response Required
NO
Attention
Federal Programs; Superintendents; Assistant Superintendent; Principals; General Business Managers; Curriculum Coordinators; School Counselors

Primary Contact Information

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Memo Text

Commissioner’s Memo: Spending Title II, Part A for Professional Development and Class-Size Reduction

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 requires that when using Title II funds for professional development and class size reduction, a State Education Agency (SEA), Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) must require a Local Education Agency (LEA) to only use Title II funds on evidence-based activities.

Professional Development Considerations

  1. Costs associated with training and professional development must meet the rules of reasonable, necessary, and allocable.
    1. This includes the cost of training, travel, lodging, etc.
  2. According to ESSA § 2103(b)(3)(E), professional development must be evidence-based. This can include information from the What Works Clearinghouse, or localized data* (valid and reliable evidence where the LEA or the PD provider is measuring the impact on student achievement) that supports the effectiveness of the activities.
    1. *Evidence should be on file and available for review if requested.
  3. Professional development provided with Title II, Part A funds must align with the definition of professional development in ESSA § 8002(42):
    1. “An integral part of school and local educational agency strategies for providing educators (including teachers, principals, other school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, paraprofessionals, and, as applicable, early childhood educators) with the knowledge and skills necessary to enable students to succeed in a well-rounded education and to meet the challenging state academic standards; and
    2. Are sustained (not stand-alone, 1 day, or short term workshops), intensive, collaborative, job-embedded, data driven, and classroom-focused…”
  4. Because of the definition discussed in item #3 above, LEAs must consider how any professional development will be sustained, integrated with class-room instructional processes, collaborative, job-embedded and on-going. LEAs must be able to provide justification/evidence that professional development meets this definition.
    1. For example, if a teacher/school leader is to attend a workshop or conference
      1. It must be integral to their job and classroom focused.
      2. A plan for sustained, job-embedded implementation of the learning should be in place.
      3. Evidence of the effectiveness of the learning/content provided by the workshop/conference should be available, as evidenced by student achievement data. And,
      4. A plan for collaboration and shared learning/implementation should be in place.

Read the full content of ESSA at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/essatitleiipartaguidance.pdf. The definition of professional development is found on pages 296-298.

Class-size Reduction Considerations

Research has provided evidence time and again to support the effectiveness of class-size reduction, especially in the early grades.

Class-size reduction can only be implemented in grades K-3 for Title II, Part A spending purposes. Based on consultation and available research and evidence, ADE has determined the effective student to teacher ratio for class-size reduction in grades K-3 to be 17:1. Any LEA utilizing Title II, Part A funds for class-size reduction in grades K-3 must implement the ratio of 17 students or less per 1 teacher for every class in the grade-level for which the class-size reduction is implemented. The ratio that will be achieved must be stated in the Title II, Part A application, in the narrative under the first question.

Assistance and Support

For questions or assistance with Title II, Part A allowable uses of funds or other programmatic needs, contact Carolyn (Gail) Betts at 501-683-5424, carolyn.betts@ade.arkansas.gov.

You can also view the U.S. Department of Education Non-regulatory Guidance at https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/essa/essatitleiipartaguidance.pdf (ed.gov). Page 32 discusses the SEA’s responsibility and suggests methods for evidence requirements.

 

 

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