Members of Albany High School's Class of 2019 during graduation.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was enacted in 2015, replacing the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2002. ESSA sets high standards and contains policies that will help prepare all students for success in college and future careers. It prioritizes excellence and equity and recognizes the importance of supporting great educators in our nation’s schools.

  • Advancing equity by upholding critical protections for America's disadvantaged and high-need students.
  • Requiring that all students in America be taught to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers.
  • Ensuring that vital information is provided to educators, families, students and communities through annual statewide assessments that measure students' progress toward those high standards.
  • Helping to support and grow local innovations, including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators
  • Sustaining and expanding increasing access to high-quality preschool.
  • Maintaining an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools, where groups of students are not making progress, and where graduation rates are low over extended periods of time.

Parental involvement

The resources below outline expectations for parental involvement, which is a main focus of ESSA.

The City School District of Albany Board of Education believes that positive parental involvement is essential to student achievement, and thus encourages such involvement in school educational planning and operations. As stipulated in Section 1188 (d) (Parental Involvement) of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the City School District of Albany will ensure that “…Each school served under Title I, Part A shall jointly develop with parents for all children served….a school-parent compact that outlines how parents, the entire school staff and students will share responsibility for improved achievement and the means by which the school and parents will build and develop a partnership to help children achieve the State’s high standards.”

Parental Involvement – District Level Policy (including compliance with Title I)

Consistent with the parent involvement goals of Title I, Part A of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), the Board of Education will develop and implement programs, activities and procedures that encourage and support the participation of parents of students eligible for Title I services in all aspects of their child’s education, beginning in Prekindergarten. The Board will also ensure that all of its schools receiving Title I, Part A funds develop and implement school level parental involvement policies, as further required by the NCLB. It will be the policy of the Board of Education of the City School District of Albany to ensure that all schools provide high-quality curriculum and instruction in a supportive and effective learning environment to enable all students to achieve. Recognizing the importance of communication between teachers and parents, all schools will, at a minimum, annually conduct two parent-teacher conferences during which their school’s compact will be discussed in relation to the individual child’s achievement, in addition to providing frequent reports, beyond the quarterly report card, to parents on their child’s progress. One conference will be conducted on the district selected Parent-Teacher Conference Day. The second conference opportunity will be determined at the building level. This could take the form of phone calls home, interim reports and written correspondence. Parents will be afforded reasonable access to staff, opportunities to volunteer and participate in their child’s class and observation of classroom activities.

For purposes of this policy, parental involvement refers to the participation of parents and teachers in regular, two-way and meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities. This participation applies also to parents and teachers of students enrolled in any partnerships with the District, including, but not limited to Head Start and all agencies who provide Universal Prekindergarten services to our students. At a minimum, parental involvement programs, activities and procedures at both the district and individual school level must ensure that parents:

  • Play an integral role in assisting their child’s learning;
  •  Are encouraged to be actively involved in their child’s education at school;
  • Have access to two-way communication in a language that they can understand; and
  • Are full partners in their child’s education and are included, as appropriate, in decision-making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child.

For purposes of this policy, parental engagement refers to the district’s efforts to enable and support greater and more meaningful parent participation in the education of their children. Recognizing the positive effects that family literacy programs can have on breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty, USDE has posited that “Title I, Part A funds may be used to support family literacy activities for eligible Title I children, including early childhood education, interactive literacy activities between parents and their children, and training for parents regarding how to be the primary teacher for their children and full partners in the education of their children.” Title I, Part A family literacy programs, however, should build on existing adult education and adult literacy services in providing the full range of family literacy services for participating families.” Consequently, within the constraints identified below, parent engagement set aside funds may be used to support family literacy programs.

It is important to remember that Title I, Part A is designed to help low-achieving children meet challenging academic achievement standards (see section 1112(b) of the Title I statute). Therefore, the focus of any family literacy activities carried out with Title I funds should be to support family literacy activities that help parents, as the first teachers of their children, to become more effective participants in their children's education. While the literacy skills acquired through such activities may also help parents in their efforts to become economically self-sufficient, literacy services to help parents reach economic self-sufficiency should not be the primary purpose of family literacy services funded with Title I funds.

The term parents refer to a natural parent, legal guardian or other person standing in loco parentis (such as grandparent or stepparent with whom the child lives, or a person who is legally responsible for the child’s welfare).

District and school level Title I parental involvement programs, activities and procedures will provide full opportunities for the participation of parents with limited English proficiency, parents with disabilities and parents of migratory children. This should include, but not be limited to making sure buildings are physically accessible and to the extent practicable, that information is shared in a language that parents/guardians understand.

Parents also will participate in the process for developing a school improvement plan when the school their child attends fails to make adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years and is identified as a school in need of improvement. The City School District of Albany will publicly report on the progress of the schools and will prioritize resources to assist schools in reaching the State’s standards. Parents and community members will be welcomed and encouraged to actively engage with the district in developing and implementing initiatives that lead to the academic success for all students.

Parent participation in development of district wide parental involvement plan

The Board, along with its Superintendent of Schools and other appropriate District staff will undertake the following actions to ensure parent involvement in the development of the district wide parental involvement plan:
Meetings at flexible times and/or in highly accessible places such as community settings or surveying parents by phone, mail or e-mail.

Review of district wide parental involvement plan

The Board, along with its Superintendent of Schools and other appropriate staff will conduct, with the involvement of parents, an annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of the parental involvement plan in improving the academic quality of Title I schools, including the identification of barriers to greater participation of parents in activities under this policy and the revision of parent involvement policies necessary for more effective involvement.

Development of school level parental involvement plans

The Superintendent of Schools will ensure that all District schools receiving federal financial assistance under Title I, Part A are provided technical assistance and all other support necessary to assist them in planning and implementing effective parental involvement programs and activities that improve student achievement and school performance.

Building capacity for parental involvement

To build parent capacity for strong parental involvement to improve their child’s academic achievement, the district and its Title I, Part A schools with the support of the district will, at a minimum:

  1. Assist parents in understanding such topics as the state’s academic content and student achievement standards, state and local academic assessments, Title I requirements, how to monitor their child’s progress and how to work with educators to improve the achievement of their child by making publically available:
    •  Information on all district required academic assessments;
    •  Information about all district curricular resources; and
    • Curricular progressions from Prekindergarten to Grade 12.
  2. Provide materials and training to help parents work with their child’s academic achievement.
  3. Educate its teachers, pupil services personnel, Principals and other staff in understanding the value and utility of a parent’s contributions and on how to:
    • reach out to, communicate with and work with parents as equal partners;
    • implement and coordinate parent programs; and
    • build ties between parents and the schools
  4. Ensure that information related to school and parent-related programs, meetings and other activities is sent to the parents of children participating in Title I programs in an understandable and uniform format, including alternative formats, upon request and to the extent practicable, in a language the parents can understand.
  5. Inform parents of any local resource centers that may provide information, training or support.

What schools may do to improve student achievement

  • Involve parents in the development for training for teachers, principals and other educators to improve the effectiveness of such training;
  • Train parents to enhance the involvement of other parents;
  • Adopt and implement model approaches to improving parental involvement;
  • Establish a district wide parent advisory council to provide advice on all matters related to parental involvement in programs supported under this section;
  • Develop appropriate roles for community-based organizations and businesses in parent involvement activities; and
  • Provide such other reasonable support for parental involvement activities under this section as parents may request.

Ref:

§1118 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act
8 NYCRR §§100.3(b)(3); 100.4(f); 100.5(d)(4); 149.3(16)

Adopted: 02-07-06

Last Revised: 11-1-18

What is the School-Parent Compact?     

A School-Parent Compact is a written agreement that outlines how all members of the school community (administrators, teachers, support staff, parents and students) will share the responsibilities for improving student academic achievement and the means by which everyone will build and develop a partnership to help students achieve the state standards.

The School-Parent Compact describes:

  1. The school’s responsibility to provide high-quality curriculum and instruction in a supportive and effective learning environment;
  2. The ways in which parents can support their child’s learning  at home and through communication with the school; and
  3. How students can take responsibility for their own education and how they can utilize the support provided through their parents and the school.

What is Title I

Title I is a federal assistance program for our nation’s schools. Its goal is to help all students receive a high quality education. Title I provides extra support to those students who are furthest from meeting the state academic standards.

In the City School District of Albany, Title I funds are used to provide supplemental intervention services to students most at risk of not meeting the standards through additional classroom teacher intervention, afterschool tutoring and summer school programs. Some funds are also used to provide professional development to teachers to increase their ability to provide high quality education and to better enable them to collect and analyze student data to increase student achievement.

In addition, a Building Leadership Team comprised of principals, teachers, parents and district administrators was formed at each of the district’s schools to create a School Comprehensive Improvement Plan tailored to each school that would improve the academic success of all students. Plans are available in the School Comprehensive Improvement Plans section of this ESSA page.

Title I also requires and supports district’s efforts to involve and engage parents in their child’s education. Examples of these include open houss, parent-teacher conference days, literacy and math nights, workshops for parents, parent-teacher associations and inclusion of parents on school and district committees.  Another way the district involves parents in their child’s education is through the School-Parent Compact.

School Responsibilities 

The school will:

  • Provide high-quality curriculum and instruction in a supportive and effective learning environment; 
  • Hold parent-teacher conferences during these conferences this compact will be discussed as it relates to your child’s academic achievement; 
  • Provide parents with frequent reports on their child’s progress; 
  • Provide parents reasonable access to staff; and 
  • Provide parents with opportunities to volunteer and participate in their child’s class and to observe classroom activities. 

Parent responsibilities

Parents will support their children’s learning in the following ways:

  • Monitor their child’s attendance; 
  • Make sure that homework is completed; 
  • Limit amount of television their child watches; 
  • Volunteer in their child’s school; 
  • Participate in decisions regarding their children’s education; 
  • Promote positive use of their child’s extracurricular time; and 
  • Stay informed about their child’s education and communicate with the school regularly.

Student responsibilities

Students will share the responsibility to improve their grades, and agree to:

  • Do homework every day and ask for help when needed; 
  • Read at least 20 minutes a day outside of school; and 
  • Give to  parents all notices and information received by me from my school every day. 

For further information about the Title I Program or how you can become involved in your child’s education, you may contact either your building principal or the Office of Grants and Program Development at (518) 475-6060.
 

Improvement planning is an essential component of the school and district improvement process. Our School Comprehensive Education Plan (SCEP) documents are submitted to the state annually and are used to identify our school's goals for the upcoming school year and plan activities to achieve those goals.

For translated versions of these documents, please contact your child's school or the Office of ENL and Refugee Services at (518) 475-6147.

In accordance with ESSA, the City School District of Albany annually notifies parents that they have the right and may request information regarding the professional qualifications of their child’s classroom teacher and/or teacher assistants. This information regarding the professional qualifications of includes at a minimum, the following:

  1. Whether the teacher has met state qualification and licensing criteria for the grade levels and subject areas in which the teacher provides instruction.
  2. Whether the teacher is teaching under emergency or other provisional status through which state qualification or licensing criteria have been waived.
  3. The baccalaureate degree major of the teacher and any other graduate certification or degree held by the teacher, and the field of discipline of the certification or degree.
  4. Whether the child is provided services by teacher assistants and, if so, their qualifications.

If at any time your child has been taught for four or more consecutive weeks by a teacher who does not meet applicable state certification or licensure requirements at the grade level and subject area in which the teacher has been assigned, the school will notify parents.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact your child’s school.
 

ESSA complaint procedures

If you have a concern related to ESSA, the following documents can be used for guidance.

Follow this link to the state's website for the process for resolving complaints submitted to the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) Office of ESSA-Funded Programs.

These procedures offer parents and other stakeholders a process to file complaints and allow for the timely resolution of such complaints. Complaints filed against a local entity such as a school district, charter school or grantee will be reviewed by NYSED's Office of ESSA-Funded Programs. Complaints filed against NYSED will be reviewed by NYSED's legal counsel.

The Board of Education recognizes the right of community members to register individual or group concerns regarding instruction, district programs, instructional materials, operations, and/or staff members. The main goal of the district is to resolve such concerns specifically with the parties involved whenever possible, and to consider whether the resolution of any complaint suggests a reason for a change to any district policy or procedure.

Public complaints about the school district will be directed to the proper administrative personnel. The district has a Family and Community Communication Guide to assist all stakeholders in getting needed information and in directing questions, concerns and complaints to the most appropriate individuals (ref 1400-E). For example, complaints about specific classroom practices shall be directed to the teacher concerned. If the matter is not settled satisfactorily, the complainant shall then contact the building assistant/academy principal or building principal; if there is no resolution on this level, the complainant shall then contact the appropriate district-level administrator(s); if there is no resolution on this level, the Superintendent of Schools or his/her designee shall be contacted. The Superintendent shall refer the issue to the Board for final resolution, if necessary. Complaints regarding the district’s implementation and administration of Title I funds are addressed in the section below.

All matters referred to the superintendent and/or the board shall be in writing. Concerns registered to the board as a whole or to an individual board member shall be referred as soon as is reasonably possible to the Superintendent for investigation, report, and/or resolution.

Complaints Regarding Title I of the ESEA or Academic Intervention Services

Any person or entity representative alleging the district has not upheld its responsibilities under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as well as the district’s responsibilities for Academic Intervention Services under the Commissioner’s regulations section 100.2(ee), may submit a complaint in writing to the Superintendent. After 30 days, any decision of the Superintendent which is unsatisfactory to the complainant, or the district’s lack of a response to the compliant, may be appealed to the State Education Department (SED).

All such complaints to SED must, as outlined by SED on their website:

  1. Be submitted in writing to New York State Education Department, Title I School & Community Services Office, Room 320 EB, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234;
  2. Be signed by the person or agency representative filing the complaint;
  3. Specify the requirement of law or regulation being violated and the related issue, problem, and/or the concern;
  4. Contain information/evidence supporting the complaint;
  5. State the nature of the corrective action desired;
  6. Contain a copy of the original signed complaint; and
  7. Contain a copy of the district’s response to the original complaint, or a statement that the district failed to respond or resolve the issue within 30 business days.

The district shall disseminate this complaint procedure to parents of students in Title I funded programs, as well as school officials at nonpublic schools for which the district administers or implements Title I funds or programs.

Ref:

2019-20 City School District of Albany Family and Community Communication Guide
20 USC §7844 (ESEA)
34 CFR §§299.10 – 299.12 [299.11(d) – LEAs must disseminate, free of charge, adequate information about the complaint procedures to parents of students, and appropriate private school officials or representatives.]
8 NYCRR §100.2(ee) (Academic Intervention Services)

Adopted: 01-21-10

Revised: 12-05-19

Families in temporary housing

If your housing is uncertain or unstable, students have education rights and can receive supports and services under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2001, which is now a component of ESSA.

To learn more, please visit our homlessness and temporary housing page.