Text Options for the Visually Impaired Font Size: a- A+ Color: A A A Revert 
Close vision bar
Open vision bar

Elementary Reorganization Research FAQ

Update Aug. 24, 2017

Following a meeting the week of Aug. 21, 2017, between ECS Federal Programs Director John Hutchins and TN Department of Education Federal Programs Executive Director Eve Carney and Director Rene Palakovic, ECS administrators and Board members feel confident West Side will be granted a waiver to continue receiving federal funding as a schoolwide program. In light of this, the Board has discontinued research into the reorganization of elementary schools. For more information, click here.


Frequently Asked Questions

(All information below was posted prior to Aug. 24, 2017.) 

The Elizabethton Board of Education is conducting research into the possibility of rezoning elementary schools into schools organized by grade levels: Pre-K – 1, 2 – 3, 4 – 5.

If you have additional questions, please contact your Board members. If you feel the question and answer would be helpful to others, please email Bekah Price.

 

Why is the Board considering reorganizing schools?
When is the earliest this could take effect?
Who makes this decision?
Is this definitely going to happen?
What is direct certification?
What does research involve?
What are the potential benefits of reorganizing schools?
How would transportation work?
How would this impact parent involvement?
Is this because of overcrowding?

If schools were reorganized, would my tuition student still be enrolled in Elizabethton City Schools?
What are other options?
What is a Targeted Assistance Program?
What if we do nothing?
What does federal funding cover?
Will the public be invited to provide input?

 

Why is the Board considering reorganizing schools?
This is one potential solution that the Board is considering so all elementary schools will continue to receive federal funding. The current uneven distribution of directly certified students means that West Side will lose federal funding in the 2018-19 school year. 

The number of directly certified students at all ECS elementary schools combined qualifies for Title funding, but the numbers are not evenly dispersed between schools, meaning ECS may lose funding it has traditionally received. Reorganization would not give the school system more money, but it would prevent schools from losing money they have historically received. 

When is the earliest this could take effect?
2018-19 school year is the earliest.

Who makes this decision?
The Elizabethton Board of Education members make this decision. Members welcome your input, questions and concerns and may be contacted by visiting the Board page of ECSchools.net.

Is this definitely going to happen?
No. The Board is considering this because there are very few options for ways that the school system can balance the numbers of directly certified students between all three elementary schools.

What is direct certification?
Through direct certification, school districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program, as almost all do, match the names of children living in households that receive SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash assistance (TANF), or Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) benefits with school enrollment records. This match is then used to certify students for free school meals without the need for their families to complete a school meals application. School districts are required to directly certify students living in households receiving SNAP benefits and are encouraged to so it for children receiving TANF or FDPIR benefits. (From Center on Budget Policies and Priorities)

What does research involve?

The Board is researching how this would impact transportation, quality of education and quality of staff at each school. A transportation study is being conducted and is expected to be complete before 2018.

What are the potential benefits of reorganizing schools?
Schools would receive equal federal funding and would continue to participate in school-wide federal funding programs. Students would progress through school with the same group of students. Teachers would have much better opportunities to collaborate. This would financially stabilize the programs and staff training available in elementary programs for years to come. Schools could offer greater instructional differentiation. There would be less competition between schools and greater unity as a Cyclone family focused on student growth.

How would transportation work?
Elizabethton City Schools is currently conducting a transportation study with Bus Logistics to evaluate how this would work. The results of this study will be made public once complete, which is anticipated before 2018. We understand there are concerns about increased travel time to and from school, whether students ride the bus or ride with their parents. These are some of the factors this study will consider.

How would this impact parent involvement?
We know that the transition to a new school every couple of years could negatively impact parent involvement. We also recognize that for parents of young children, being involved at two schools could be more difficult than being involved at one. Our hope that it would create a greater since of connectivity between parents as they move from school to school together.

Is this because of overcrowding?
No. Schools cannot be overcrowded because there are state regulations on class sizes for various ages and programs. This is being considered to prevent elementary schools from losing money they have depended on for years.

If schools were reorganized, would my tuition student still be enrolled in Elizabethton City Schools?
Yes. The only way currently enrolled tuition students would not be able to return is if there were a large influx of students living within city limits. This has not been an issue in decades.

What are other options?
A Targeted Assistance program could be used, which would reduce the reach of services currently provided at WSE to only a small group of students. Click here to view a chart that is used by many school systems to compare the two programs (targeted assistance vs. school-wide). Using targeted assistance would mean a number of students on varying academic performance levels would no longer receive the same quality of academic support and intervention.

What is a Targeted Assistance Program?

A Targeted Assistance program is one in which individual students are targeted to receive Title I services. Students are identified based on multiple objective, educationally related criteria. Services may be delivered in a number of ways: in-class instruction; pull-out instruction; and/or extended day, week, or year instruction. Title I teacher(s) are responsible for providing extra services to identified children; coordinating with other school personnel involved with the children; and involving parents in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of the Title I program. This program may be used when a school does not qualify for a schoolwide program, which is what all three ECS elementary schools currently have.

What if we do nothing?
If we do nothing, WSE would no longer receive Title funding which would result in the loss of the school interventionist, part-time assistant, and money designated for other supplies and materials, and equipment. 
RTIis still required and the classroom teachers would have to cover Tier 1 - Tier III intervention. This means teachers would now be responsible for weekly or biweekly progress monitoring for Tier II and III students, data meetings to discuss student progress, Aimesweb universal skills-based assessment (given three times annually) and other facets of the RTI2 program. They also would not receive supplemental classroom materials as they have in the past.

What does federal funding cover?
The federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), enacted in 1965, is the nation’s national education law and shows a longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. ESEA authorizes state-run programs for eligible schools and districts eager to raise the academic achievement of struggling learners and address the complex challenges that arise for students who live with disability, mobility problems, learning difficulties, poverty, or transience, or who need to learn English.

On December 10, 2015, President Obama reauthorized ESEA as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The new law builds on key areas of progress in recent years, made possible by the efforts of educators, communities, parents, and students across the country. Title I, Part A is a federal program designed “To provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps.” Title I, Part A can support early learning and Kindergarten to grade 12. 

Title I, Part A programs and services provide customized instruction and curricula that help these students meet academic standards and take an active, engaged interest in what they learn and can do. As the oldest and largest federal education program, Title I, Part A programs build equity of opportunity for children whose struggles often keep them on the academic sidelines.

The purpose of Title II, Part A is to increase the academic achievement of all students by helping schools and districts improve teacher and principal quality. This includes teacher preparation and qualifications of new teachers, recruitment and hiring, induction, professional development, and retention. In addition, Title IIA funds may be used to improve the skills and knowledge of principals for effective school leadership.

In Elizabethton, Title I pays for Instructional Interventionists that work with Tier 2 and Tier 3 students as a part of RTI2 (Response to Intervention and Instruction). Quiet simply put, RTI was an unfunded mandate, and these federal dollars were used to hire the interventionists, rather than place the burden on classroom teachers. Federal funds are used for parent involvement, professional development, other supplies and materials (supplemental materials), and equipment. Around 50% of our allocation goes toward the interventionists and part-time teacher assistants that run the Title I lab at each elementary. ECS also has set-aside funds from Title I A to pay for two of the four classroom teachers at the Wandell Early Learning Center. This is an investment of around 15 percent.

Will the public be invited to provide input?
Once more information is available, the Board will host a public forum for the public to ask questions and provide input.