Supports for Federally Identified Schools

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The Office of School Quality provides support for federally identified schools as school divisions and schools engage in each stage of the Virginia Continuous Improvement Process, which includes building a team; conducting a needs assessment; selecting applicable evidence-based interventions; developing a comprehensive support plan; implementing the support plan; and evaluating the impact of the support plan. Throughout the continuous improvement process, the Virginia Support Framework and its domains of Academic Supports, Staffing Supports, Professional Learning Supports, and School Climate Supports are used to prioritize needs and target support.

Federal Identification under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

ESSA identifies schools for Comprehensive Support and Improvement if they are:

  • The lowest 5% of Title I schools based on performance for all students, and
  • All schools, having a graduation class, with a federal four-year cohort graduation rate below 67%, for comprehensive support and improvement.
  • Schools identified for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement due to low-performing student groups may also be identified if the school fails to improve over time.

ESSA also requires the identification of schools that are:

  • Consistently underperforming — any school with one or more consistently underperforming student groups for Targeted Support and Improvement; or
  • Low-performing — any school in which one or more student groups are performing at or below the summative level of performance of all students in any school identified for comprehensive support, for Additional Targeted Support and Improvement.

VDOE: Federal Accountability provides additional information and resources regarding federal identification, performance indicators, federal targets, and exit criteria.

Resource Allocation Review

Under ESSA, Virginia must periodically conduct a resource allocation review to support school improvement in each LEA in the State serving a significant number of schools identified, which is defined as 50% or more CSI and/or ATSI schools in the division or 10 or more CSI and/or ATSI schools (ESSA §1111(d)(3)(A)(ii)). This review occurs during the three-year identification cycle.

A Resource Allocation Review (RAR) is a collaborative, inquiry-based process to support school divisions and schools with aligning fiscal, human, and instructional resources to improve student outcomes. Reallocation of resources may not always occur, but the review could help LEAs and schools identify potential inequities in resource allocation (ESSA §1111 (d)(3)(ii)).

It is not an audit or intended to be punitive in any way. The aim is to make the connection between resources and student outcomes, adjusting as necessary.

For more information, refer to the Resource Allocation Review One-Pager.

Evidence-based Intervention (EBI)

As defined by ESSA, an Evidence-based Intervention (EBI) is an activity, strategy, or intervention that demonstrates a statistically significant effect on improving student outcomes based on strong evidence, moderate evidence, or promising evidence; or demonstrates a rationale based on high-quality research findings that such an intervention is likely to improve student outcomes. ESSA requires federally identified schools to include evidence-based interventions within their school plans (§1111(d)(1)(B)(ii); §1111(d)(2)(B)(ii); §1111(d)(2)(C)). Federally identified schools must continue implementing evidence-based interventions until it exits its status as an identified school. Additionally, CSI schools who exit early may be required to implement the EBI in their 1-year sustainability plan.

School Improvement Grants (SIG)

Funding under section 1003 of Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is awarded to local educational agencies (LEAs) to support schools identified for comprehensive, targeted, or additional targeted support and improvement. The Office of School Quality issues these funds through a competitive grant program known as School Improvement Grants (SIG) to support identified schools in implementing strategic and sustainable evidence-based interventions focused on improving student outcomes.

School Improvement Grant (SIG) Applications

For a local education agency (LEA) to receive section 1003A funds, it will complete a SIG application for consideration. Funding for school improvement activities must be consistent with those in the school’s plan, and funding for any evidence-based intervention (EBI) must meet one of the first three tiers of evidence as defined under ESSA §8101(21)(A).

Within the SIG application, the LEA will describe how it will:

  • Develop a support and improvement plan;
  • Support comprehensive, targeted, and additional targeted support and improvement schools in implementing their plans;
  • Monitor schools receiving funds;
  •  Use a rigorous review process to recruit, screen, select, and evaluate any external partners;
  • Align other Federal, State, and local resources to implement the funded activities;
  • Modify practices and policies to provide flexibility in effective implementation, as appropriate; and
  • Sustain effective school improvement activities following the completion of the grant.

In addition to the SIG application, the LEA will submit a comprehensive support plan that specifically addresses how the LEA and school will:

  • Engage stakeholders in conducting the needs assessment, selecting evidence-based interventions, and developing a plan;
  • Consider all federal indicators when conducting the needs assessment and developing the plan;
  • Identify resource inequities by reviewing the allocation of fiscal, human and instructional resources;
  • Describe and address the causes, not the symptoms, of underperformance through
    the alignment and implementation of evidence-based interventions;
  • Develop a plan that incorporates the implementation of evidence-based interventions that includes action steps, a timeline, persons responsible, and use of school improvement funds, as applicable; and
  • Establish processes and protocols to monitor the implementation of the plan and use of school improvement funds, as applicable.