Title IV—21st Century Schools

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WHY TITLE IV MATTERS

Title IV is composed of two large block grant programs as well as discretionary grant and assistance programs meant to support the comprehensive needs of students in a variety of settings, strengthen family engagement, and bring America’s schools into the 21st century.

Title IV is divided into the following sections:

  • Part A – Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants
  • Part B – 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  • Part C – Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools
  • Part D – Magnet Schools Assistance
  • Part E – Family Engagement in Education Programs
  • Part F – National Activities

Title IV, Part A. Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants

This flexible new grant program officially eliminates the Safe and Drug-Free Schools program and consolidates more than 20 competitive grant programs previously authorized as part of No Child Left Behind, many that supported the comprehensive needs of students, into one large fund called a “block grant.” The purpose of the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants is to improve students’ academic achievement by increasing the capacity of states, districts, schools, and communities to:

  • Provide all students with access to a well-rounded education
  • Improve school conditions for student learning
  • Improve the use of technology in order to improve the academic achievement and digital literacy of all students

FUNDING ALLOCATION

Funds are allocated to states based on the Title I formula. States then subgrant funds to each district using the same formula.

States may reserve up to 1 percent for administrative costs and must support local districts in providing access to a well-rounded education for all students; fostering safe, healthy, supportive, and drug-free environments; and increasing access to technology and learning experiences supported by technology.

These activities must be coordinated with other schools and with community-based services and programs and can include e-partnerships with higher education institutions, business, nonprofits, community-based organizations, or other public or private entities.

States must subgrant 95 percent to districts, and districts may receive less than $10,000. Districts receiving more than $30,000 must complete a “needs assessment” once every three years that analyzes:

  • Access to, and opportunities for, a well-rounded education for all students
  • School conditions for student learning in order to create a healthy and safe school environment
  • Access to personalized learning experiences supported by technology and professional development for the effective use of data and technology

In October 2016, the U.S. Department of Education issued nonregulatory guidance on the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants that provides key information on the allowable use of funds, role of the state, fiscal responsibilities, and local application requirements.

Any district that receives more than $30,000 must spend its funds in three specific areas:

  • Not less than 20 percent of funds must be spent on activities to support “well-rounded” education.
    • This includes programs and activities such as school counseling, music and arts programs, STEM programs including computer science, foreign language, history, civics, geography, and accelerated learning programs (i.e., Advanced Placement, dual enrollment, and early college high schools).
  • Not less than 20 percent of funds must be spent on activities to support “safe and healthy” students.
    • This includes programs and activities such as social and emotional learning, comprehensive mental health awareness training, school-based counseling, violence prevention, bullying prevention, physical education, and integrated systems of student and family supports.
  • A portion of funds should support effective use of technology.
    • This includes increased access to personalized learning experiences, building technological capacity and infrastructure, carrying out blended learning projects, and professional development in using data and technology to improve instruction.
    • There is a limitation that no more than 15 percent of funds may be used for purchasing technology infrastructure, including devices, equipment, and software applications.

Title IV, Part B. 21st Century Community Learning Centers

This program was originally authorized in No Child Left Behind and is currently the largest block grant program in Title IV. In FY 2016, the program received $1.17 billion. The purpose of the 21st Century Community Learning Center (21st CCLC) program is to provide grants to local school districts and community learning centers for afterschool programs serving students in low-performing schools. Programs are run by schools and/or community organizations in partnership and can also serve children before school and in the summer months.

Allowable activities, services, and programs must be focused on academic enrichment that is designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program of participating students. NEW — This includes expanded learning activities if these activities: (1) add a minimum of 300 additional hours of programming each school year, (2) ensure programming be supplemental in nature and not an extension or addition to regular school-day activities, and (3) require partners.

In addition, programs can be funded for families of students that provide opportunities for meaningful engagement in their children’s education, including opportunities for literacy development. Examples include youth development activities, service learning, nutrition and health education, drug and violence prevention programs, counseling programs, arts, music, physical fitness and wellness programs, technology education programs, literacy and financial literacy programs, environmental literacy programs, mathematics, science, career and technical education programs, internship or apprenticeship programs, etc.

Funds are distributed by formula to states. States then run a competitive subgrant program to distribute the funds to the local level.

Title IV, Part C. Expanding Opportunities Through Quality Charter Schools

This section authorizes the federal Charter School Program to provide financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of charter schools and to increase the number of high-quality charter schools available to students across the United States.

Title IV, Part D. Magnet Schools Assistance

This section authorizes $94 million in FY 2017 with incremental annual increases up to $108.5 million in FY 2020 for magnet schools.

Title IV, Part E. Family Engagement in Educational Programs

This section authorizes the Statewide Family Engagement Centers program to provide states and districts with the capacity to support effective implementation and enhancement of family engagement policies and initiatives.

Title IV, Part F. National Activities

This section authorizes the following discretionary grant programs run by the U.S. Department of Education:

  • Education Innovation and Research grants (based on the Investing in Innovation [i3] program) will be awarded to create, develop, and implement evidence-based innovations to improve student achievement and attainment for high-needs students.
  • Community Support for School Success authorizes both the Promise Neighborhoods discretionary grant program and Full Service Community School discretionary grant program. Grants through these programs will be awarded to offer a continuum of comprehensive services to improve the academic and development outcomes for children and families living in struggling communities.
  • Project School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) program grants will be awarded to strengthen violence prevention activities as part of the activities designed to restore the learning environment that was disrupted by a violent or traumatic event at a school.
  • Academic Enrichment grants will be awarded to support arts education programming as well as to support high-ability learners and learning—also known as the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program.

FUNDING: Authorization of Appropriations

Part A: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants FY 2017 $1.65B
FY 2018 – FY 2020 $1.60B
Part B: 21st Century Community Learning Centers FY 2017 $1.00B
FY 2018 – FY 2020 $1.10B
Part C: Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools FY 2017 $270M
FY 2018 $270M
FY 2019 $300M
FY 2020 $300M
Part D: Magnet Schools Assistance FY 2017 $94.00M
FY 2018 $96.82M
FY 2019 $102.38M
FY 2020 $108.53M
Part E: Family Engagement in Education Programs FY 2017 – FY 2020 $10.00M
Part F: National Activities FY 2017 – FY 2020 $200.74M

OPPORTUNITIES TO ADVOCATE

  • NASSP has been actively involved in advocacy efforts to fully fund Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants. Additional voices are needed at the state and local levels to make the case for fully funding this grant program. Members of the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Committees in the House and Senate must hear from principals as to why funds are needed to support students’ well-rounded education, safe and healthy conditions for learning, and the effective use of technology. The activities and programs supported by this block grant are critical to the school teams you lead to ensure the academic success of your students.
  • Once funding for the Title IV, Part A, Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants reaches the local level, get involved with those leading efforts to design and implement the required needs assessment tool. The results of the needs assessment will determine what programs and activities are funded in each of the three required “buckets.” NASSP has created two resources for educators to consult in learning how to give students a voice through ESSA:
  • Related to Title IV, Part B, the 21st Century Community Learning Center Program, meet with your state 21st CCLC leaders to ensure input from principals is included in plans for new local competitions.
  • Get to know your Afterschool State Network to help ensure high-quality out-of-school programs are in place.
  • Share any good news with your local media. If you have good news to tell or believe your community, city, or state media can highlight the work and success of your teachers and students, read through the ESSA Communication Kit for tips, tools, and resources on how to raise the visibility of your school via social media as well as traditional outlets.