2012 NDTAC National Conference

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Compliance and Beyond: Continuous Quality
Improvement Through Problem Solving

Annapolis, MD | July 11-13, 2012

Overview & Conference Presentations

The 2012 NDTAC National Conference, "Compliance and Beyond: Continuous Quality Improvement Through Problem Solving," brought together State coordinators of the Title I, Part D, (Part D) program; U.S. Department of Education personnel; experts in the field; and NDTAC staff to discuss the steps that coordinators can take to not only ensure Part D grant compliance, but also to establish a climate of continuous quality improvement among their State and local subgrantees. The conference was organized into two strands: (1) monitoring and compliance and (2) reporting and evaluation. These strands were designed to provide conference participants a better understanding of Part D program requirements as well as resources to improve Part D program administration. Presentations, discussions, and activities focused on effective problem-solving strategies to address common administrative challenges as well as methods for leveraging resources and sustaining programs through collaboration.

 

Access conference presentations, handouts, and activities:

Keynote Session

Maryland Correctional Institution - Jessup

Dr. Fran Tracy-Mumford, coordinator of academic and advanced education, Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation (DLLR); Beatrice Gallop, basic education teacher, Maryland DLLR;Jewel Kesler, literacy lab teacher (retired); and Captain Marion Wenn, Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS)

The keynote session featured highlights of one educational program offered at the Maryland Correctional Institution in Jessup, Maryland. Dr. Tracy-Mumford described the facility's DLLR-coordinated education program for juvenile residents and the Reading Unites Families (RUF) program for families and residents. In addition, staff members, participants, and family members shared their experiences working with the RUF program.

  • Reading Unites Families (RUF) program description:  RUF is a family literacy program designed to connect fathers and their children together through literature as they maintain or mend the family unit. A joint effort between Maryland DLLR Correctional Education and Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, RUF is designed to provide a forum for fathers and their children to communicate in meaningful ways and promote literacy and leisure reading. The program started in 1998 as part of Reading Is Fundamental and has evolved into a multi-faceted opportunity for families to learn together. Components include reading together, a social skill activity, and a meal together. Reading activities are kinesthetic/tactile experiences. While residents (fathers) and their children are meeting and reading, the guardians that brought the children to the facility participate in a Touchstones program activity sponsored by St. Johns College in Annapolis. Involvement from the community is a key component of the program's success as community resources are used to provide activities and information regarding health issues (e.g., dental health, obesity), fire safety, and social issues such as anti-bullying.
  • Presentation: Reading Unites Families

Plenaries

Supportive School Discipline Initiative

John McLaughlin, Federal program manager, Title I, Part D, U.S. Department of Education; Robin Delany-Shabazz, director, Concentration of Federal Efforts Program, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice; Kristen Harper, special assistant to the assistant secretary, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, U.S. Department of Education; Dennis Rozumalski, State Title I, Part D, coordinator, Delaware Department of Education; and David Osher, vice president, American Institutes for Research and principal investigator, NDTAC

This plenary session provided an overview of the Supportive School Discipline Initiative (SSDI), a joint initiative between the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice to address what is known commonly as the "school-to-prison-pipeline"—harsh and exclusionary school disciplinary policies and practices that push youth out of school and into the justice system. The session also addressed the relevance of the SSDI initiative to the Title I, Part D, (Part D) program and how State coordinators of the Part D program can promote and act as catalysts for the initiative in their States.


Focusing on the "Beyond"— Program Improvement and Coordination

John McLaughlin, Federal program manager, Title I, Part D, U.S. Department of Education

Dr. McLaughlin provided an overview of Part D program performance and outlined current initiatives in the U.S. Department of Education (ED) that aim to make performance data publically available in a more timely manner and allow for the use of this data in performance-based monitoring and risk assessment practices. Dr. McLaughlin also described efforts to link and compare Part D data with other relevant ED data from the U.S. Offices of Civil Rights and Special Education to improve program planning, needs assessment, and evaluation. Ultimately, these analyses aim to enable better coordination across education programs serving youth who are neglected, delinquent, or at-risk.

Strand 1: Monitoring and Compliance

This strand focused on helping State coordinators of the Title I, Part D, (Part D) program improve Federal and subgrantee monitoring preparedness, procedure, and outcomes. The plenary session provided an overview of monitoring processes and resources. The interactive breakout sessions that followed addressed the following common problems faced by State Part D coordinators in both Federal and subgrantee monitoring: aligning budgets with program plans, responding to facility-specific challenges, and developing technical assistance plans to support corrective action planning.  The breakout sessions provided participants the opportunity to engage in collaborative problem-solving activities in small groups, explore effective strategies for providing technical assistance to subgrantees, share NDTAC and State-developed resources, and discuss lessons learned.

Strand Plenary: Sharing Practices on Meeting Monitoring and Compliance Requirements

Dr. Peter Leone; professor; Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education at the University of Maryland; and Greta Colombi, technical assistance liaison, NDTAC

Monitoring Part D facilities and programs for compliance is a required and essential responsibility for State Part D coordinators. In turn, each State's Part D program is monitored by the U.S. Department of Education at least once every 3 years. In addition to helping ensure compliance with Part D regulations, monitoring also provides coordinators valuable information that can be used to plan and fund Part D programs and services. This plenary included a brief NDTAC presentation on Part D monitoring requirements, a presentation by Dr. Peter Leone on lessons he has learned as a monitor of juvenile justice education programs around the country, and an interactive activity where participants shared how they have worked to meet monitoring and compliance requirements.


Breakout Sessions: Problem-Solving Common Monitoring and Compliance Issues

Aligning Budgets With Program Plans

Greta Colombi, technical assistance liaison, NDTAC, and DeAngela Milligan, research associate, NDTAC

In this session, participants discussed the most common budget misalignment issues they have found during the monitoring process when verifying whether subgrantees are using funds as described in their State agency and local educational agency applications and in alignment with their State plan. Participants worked in groups to explore how to identify, address, and prevent such issues in the future; consider their current monitoring tools and procedures to determine how they might be revised; and consider next steps.

Overcoming Facility-Specific Challenges

Nicholas Read, technical assistance liaison, NDTAC

In this breakout session, participants shared their experiences with various types of facility-level challenges, such as facility closings, youth demographic shifts, or shifting State and local policies and priorities. States shared the monitoring, budgeting, and other compliance practices they have used that have enabled them to track and respond to such facility-level issues. Participants worked together to refine existing practices and design new practices and resources to address these issues.

Developing and Implementing Corrective Action Plans

Lauren Amos, technical assistance liaison, NDTAC, and Dorothy Seidel, research associate, NDTAC

In this session, participants discussed the corrective action planning process including (1) how the development of technical assistance plans can contribute to this process, (2) the indicators for which States commonly receive Federal monitoring findings, and (3) common questions State education agencies  have concerning these indicators. Participants then worked in small groups to review sample Federal monitoring report findings for three indicators—State agency and local educational agency applications, institutionwide projects, and subgrantee monitoring—and used a planning tool to brainstorm and draft components of a comprehensive technical assistance plan to support subgrantee efforts to meet compliance in these areas. To close the session, participants came together to share their small group conversations, discuss strategies and resources States have used to meet compliance in these areas, and discuss appropriate next steps to fully develop and implement a technical assistance plan.

Strand 2: Reporting and Evaluation

This conference strand focused on common problems faced by State Title I, Part D, (Part D) coordinators, including evaluating at-risk programs, addressing low academic achievement, and tracking post-release outcomes. To help States respond to such challenges, participants learned how to implement reporting and evaluation practices that support a culture of continuous quality improvement. The strand featured a plenary session that provided an overview of Federal reporting and evaluation requirements, resources, and ways to approach data use. In the interactive breakout sessions that followed, participants had the opportunity to engage in collaborative problem-solving activities in small groups; learn about applicable NDTAC and State-developed resources; share the reporting and evaluation processes, procedures, and systems States have in place; and discuss lessons learned.

Strand Plenary: Sharing Practices on Meeting Reporting and Evaluation Requirements

Bi Vuong, Harvard strategic data fellow, Office of Accountability, School District of Philadelphia, andStephanie Lampron, deputy project director, NDTAC

All States are required to collect facility, student, and outcome data from their Part D programs for the Consolidated State Performance Report and EDFacts. Although data collection and reporting can present challenges for coordinators and facilities, the data present a valuable tool for evaluating the Part D program and helping to plan and fund future Part D services and supports. In this plenary, NDTAC staff presented on basic reporting requirements and the importance of complete and accurate performance data in evaluating programs. NDTAC expert panelist Bi Vuong then discussed how participants can use the data they already have as well as ways to build on and expand data collections and systems to promote continuous quality improvement.


Breakout Sessions: Problem-Solving Common Reporting and Evaluation Issues

Evaluating Programs for Youth Who Are At-Risk

Greta Colombi, technical assistance liaison, NDTAC, and Stephanie Lampron, deputy project director, NDTAC 

This session began with a discussion of the challenges in evaluating at-risk programs that receive Part D funds.  Participants then worked in small groups by common evaluation challenges: identifying appropriate indicators and coordinating other available student data from the school and district for common uses of funds.  As part of the small groups, participants considered the potential use of templates and tools, including logic models, that can be integrated into application, reporting, and evaluation processes.  To close the session, each small group shared indicators and strategies they discussed and considered next steps.

Addressing Low Academic Achievement

Lauren Amos, technical assistance liaison, NDTAC, and Anju Sidana, research associate, NDTAC

In this session, participants briefly discussed the challenges faced by State Part D Coordinators when supporting subgrantee efforts to improve low academic achievement. Using NDTAC's Practice Guide on providing individually tailored academic and behavioral support services, participants worked in small groups to develop program evaluation criteria that Part D coordinators can use to assess the instructional strengths and weaknesses of their subgrantees when desk monitoring, reviewing applications, or conducting site visits. To close the session, participants reconvened to share their evaluation criteria and discussed how they might use the criteria to develop or refine their existing subgrantee monitoring tools and provide targeted technical assistance as appropriate to help facilities improve academic outcomes.

Tracking Post-Release Outcomes

Nicholas Read, technical assistance liaison, NDTAC, and Liann Seiter, research associate, NDTAC

This session began with a brief discussion on the importance of and challenges related to collecting student outcome data from youth following their release from residential placement. Participants shared various practices (e.g., legislation, memoranda of agreement, data sharing) and tools (e.g., surveys and integrated electronic data systems) designed to overcome the challenges of collecting post-release student outcome data. Participants also planned next steps for improving such data collection and reporting in their State.