TITLE IV consists of two block grant programs as well as grant and assistance programs that provide comprehensive support for students, strengthen parent and family engagement and support 21st-century learning in America’s schools. TITLE IV Part A consolidates 50 programs of NCLB into a more flexible block grant program under ESSA.

TITLE IV PART A: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants

Funds are authorized in the following amounts:
FY 2017 $1,650,000,000
FY 2017 (REQUEST) $500,000,000
FY 2018-2020 (ANNUAL) $1,600,000,000

Purpose: The purpose of Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants (SSAEG) is to increase the capacity of the 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 to increase academic achievement and digital literacy of all students
Applications for Funds

According to the DE guidance, in the application, the LEA must describe how SSAE funds will be used in the three content areas: well-rounded educational opportunities, safe and healthy students, and effective use of technology. Certain activities an LEA wishes to fund that could fit into more than one of the SSAE program content areas and could be used to address the assurances in the application for use of funds in each content area. The application must also include objectives and intended outcomes and the method of evaluating effectiveness. In addition, the application must describe the programs and activities that the LEA proposes to implement which must include descriptions of any partnership with a nonprofit organization, business or other public or private entity with a demonstrated record of success.

Funding Allocation

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

  • States may reserve up to 1% for administrative costs and state support for districts providing (1) access to a well-rounded education for all students; (2) fostering a safe and healthy drug-free environment; (3) increasing access to educational technology and technology-supported learning experiences.
  • States must subgrant at least 95% of TITLE IV funds to local school districts.

The remainder of TITLE IV funds can go toward student support, training program coordination and funding streams that enable LEAs to coordinate with other agencies, community-based providers and programs.

TITLE IV activities must be coordinated with other schools and community-based services and programs. Partnership may include e-partnership with non-profits, businesses or other public or private entities.

TITLE IV Part A is authorized in 2017 at $1.65 billion. Funds go to school districts with the greatest identified need. No district (LEA) may receive less than $10,000. LEAs receiving more than $30,000 must conduct a “needs assessment” every three years.

The needs assessment must include:

  • A description of any partnerships with other entities
  • A plan for how the funds will be used
  • Objectives, intended outcomes, and how the district will conduct ongoing evaluations of the outcomes of the activities

SSAE Allowable Use of Funds

  • Any of 3 Priorities
  • Well-Rounded Education Opportunities
  • Safe & Healthy Students
  • Educational Technology

Districts that receive more than $30,000 must spend its funds in three specific areas:

  1. No less than 20% funds must be spent on activities to support a “well-rounded” education
  2. No less than 20% of funds must be spent on activities to support “safe and healthy students
  3. No more than 15% may be used to purchase technology infrastructure including devices, equipment and software applications.

i-SAFE programming and services address each of the three areas covered by TITLE IV SSAE Grant:

  • Well-Rounded Education
  • Safe and Healthy Students
  • Educational Technology

TITLE IV Part A Content Area: Well-Rounded Educational Opportunities

At least 20% of TITLE IV PART A funds must be spent on well-rounded educational opportunities. The purpose of Well-rounded Education is to provide all students with access to enriched curriculum and educational experiences. Allowable activities under this subsection not only includes strengthening instruction in art, music, history, civics, government and economics, but also computer science, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs, instructor training and workplace partnerships are also funded through the SSAE program.

In order to maximize the use of SSAE resources, SEAs, LEAs and school may partner with nonprofit organizations, such as i-SAFE, to offer programs and services to students.

Below is an example allowable activities under the SSAE that relates to i-SAFE:

  • STEM – skills and content knowledge are integrated and learned through exploration, inquiry, problem-solving, and often involve real-world contexts or applications
  • Social-Emotional Learning – including interventions that build resilience, self-control, empathy, persistence, and other social and behavioral skills
  • Career & Technical Education – classroom instruction combined with experiential learning in real-world working environments prepares students with technical skills and competencies for post-secondary success. (see CTE & TITLE IV below)

i-SAFE’s Digital Citizenship and e-Safety programming promote constructive student engagement, problem-solving and conflict resolution. Students build resilience, self-control, and empathy as part of cyber bullying prevention programming as well as other behavioral skills pertaining to life in a digital society. Instructional materials also provide students with content that develops skills and knowledge related to STEM subjects. Students explore, inquire, and tackle real-world problems related to technology. Well-rounded education entails developing the whole child.

iDrive, i-SAFE’s Youth Outreach and Empowerment program promote civic engagement, service learning, volunteerism and student involvement in the community. Students apply classroom learning in developing projects that impact their communities–both online and offline.

i-SAFE has a track record of success in providing high school students with valuable experiential learning opportunities that enable students to build career competencies as part of CTE programs.

Career and Technical Education

Every state must develop challenging academic standards with relevant CTE standards. Use of SSAE funds may go towards training on local workforce needs and options for college and career pathways. States may use career readiness indicators in their accountability system and state report cards so that state will be able to recognize schools that are successfully preparing students for post-secondary education and the workforce through tools like technical skill training and college credit. These provisions help students build skills that prepare them for the workforce.

Allowable CTE Activities related to SSAE include:

  • Technical assistance to LEAs
  • Coordination and integration with other funding streams and programs that meet the same requirements as the Perkins Act. Section 4101(b)(2)
  • Accelerated learning programs, early college, and concurrent enrollment. Section 41101(b)(3)(A)(i)(IV)(aa)
  • Reimbursement for low-income students cost of participation in a learning program
  • Cost of instruction, exams and fees

Allowable use of TITLE IV Part A funds for “Well Rounded Educational Opportunities” also include supporting partnerships with employers and other entities with a “record of success,” such as i-SAFE in activities supported by the TITLE IV Part A SSAE grant. Section 4107

TITLE IV Part A Content Area: Safe and Healthy Students

At least 20% of SSAE funds must be spent on programs that support safe, healthy and drug-free environments. Programs may be conducted in partnership with nonprofit organizations, businesses or other public or private entity with a record of success in implementing activities.

Activities under the Safe and Health Students content area of SSAE include but are not limited to:

  • Development, implementation, and evaluating school programs that support safe and healthy students and school climate
  • Promoting parent and family engagement
  • Educational programs for addressing substance abuse
  • Bullying prevention and intervention
  • Supporting relationship-building skills
  • Improve safety through the recognition and prevention of coercion, violence, or abuse, including teen and dating violence, stalking, domestic abuse, and sexual violence and harassment

How does ESSA define violence Prevention?

Violence Prevention – The promotion of school safety, such that students and school personnel are free from violent and disruptive acts, including sexual harassment and abuse, and victimization associated with prejudice and intolerance, on school premises, going to and from school, and at school-sponsored activities, through the creation and maintenance of a school environment that is free of weapons and fosters individual responsibility and respect for the rights of others. Section 4102(5)(B).

Indicators of School Quality

As described in TITLE I, states must include not less than one indicator of school quality or success which may include a measure of school climate and safety. ESSA’s flexible funding model not only provides supplementary funds for programs improving school climate under TITLE I Part A, SSAE funds (TITLE IV Part A) may be used for programs that promote academic achievement by improving school conditions.

Rationale for Programs that Promote Student Safety

Cyber bullying is a critical concern among stakeholders as technology-based harassment among students negatively impacts school conditions for learning. Research correlates cyber bullying with reduced academic performance and school attendance. Moreover, cyber bullying intersects with other issues such as sexual harassment, stalking, and teen dating violence. Human trafficking is also identified under this content area in which technology plays a role. Students have a right to a safe and healthy learning environment and i-SAFE’s digital citizenship and e-Safety programming address issues related to this SSAE content area.

TITLE IV PART A Subpart 2: Internet Safety

An elementary or secondary school that does not receive services at discounted rates under CIPA, (47 U.S.C. 254(h)(5)) may not use SSAE funds to purchase computers, hardware, software, or to be used to access the Internet or to pay for costs associated with accessing the Internet unless an Internet safety policy is in place and is enforcing these measures during student use of school technology. (20 U.S.C. 6777 7131)

According to this mandate, the LEA that has fulfilled the Internet safety policy requirements must certify compliance during each annual program cycle. Schools in the LEA funded by SSAE that are not able to certify compliance with requirements will be ineligible for all funding for the next program year and all subsequent program years until the school comes into compliance.

i-SAFE provides technology solutions that enable LEAs and schools to verify compliance with this statutory requirement thereby safeguarding SSAE funds used for technology and infrastructure. Moreover, i-SAFE technology verifies that LEAs are compliance CIPA/E-Rate funding. Compliance reporting dashboard operates at the state, district, school and classroom level. Funding for this technology platform may be found in TITLE IV Part A.

“The modernization of the FCC’s E-Rate program has significantly increased access to funding for building a robust infrastructure to support learning enabled by technology. Of course, any use of Federal education funds for these purposes must comply with applicable privacy laws and the specific program requirements of each funding source.”

Joseph South, Direct of USDOE Office of Ed Tech

Dear Colleague Letter, 18 January 2017

TITLE IV PART A: Content Area 3 – Educational Technology

TITLE IV PART A grant funding is the primary source of funds for educational technology, and the USDE Office of Educational Technology has issued non-regulatory guidance on the use of funds for educational technology under ESSA.

Use of SSAE funds may go toward improving the use of technology for “academic achievement, academic growth, and digital literacy of all students, including by meeting the needs of such agency or consortium that are identified in the needs assessment.” Section 4109(a)

Perspectives on the EdTech Spending Cap

LEAs are limited to spending no more than 15% of SSAE funds spent on technology infrastructure including “devices, equipment and software applications” in order to address readiness shortfalls. However, the perspectives of all stakeholders on the interpretation of this cap varies. For instance, some stakeholders disagree as to whether the 15% cap only applies to purchases intended to address “readiness shortfalls.” Industry advocates of educational technology say that if the district is not addressing a readiness shortfall then the district should not be subject to the 15% cap. With this interpretation, the district may have flexibility to use up to 60% of their allocation on a priority of their choice: 15% allowance for Educational Technology plus 45% of remaining funds for school priorities.

Categories for spending SSAE funds are broad. Although ESSA directly references personalized learning and professional development in regards to educational technology, use of funds may go beyond these two specifications.

According to the USDOE Office of Educational Technology, grant monies may be used to support teaching and learning through educational technology in the following ways:

Professional Development – States may use TITLE IV Part A funds to support ongoing professional development on program planning and implementing blended learning projects which includes access to digital professional development resources. Section 4109(a)(4)

Note: Carrying out blended learning projects includes (1) planning activities such as the development of new instructional models (including blended learning technology software and platforms), (2) the purchase of digital instructional resources, (3) initial professional development activities, and (4) one-time information technology purchases. Section 4109 (a)(4)

Student Materials, Resources and Supports – States may use TITLE IVE Part A funds to help educators discover, use and share digital content for student learning. Sections 4101(b)(3)(C)(vi), 4109

Educator Communication and Collaboration – Districts may use TITLE IV Part A funds to purchase software and devices to facilitate communication and collaboration. For example, the technology used to communicate with parents regarding student use of educational sites and apps.

What does ESSA mean by ‘blended learning’ and ‘digital learning?’

Blended Learning – The term ‘blended learning’ means a formal education program that leverages both technology-based and face-to-face instructional approaches that include an element of online or digital learning, combined with supervised learning time, and student-led learning, in which the elements are connected to provide an integrated learning experience; and in which students are provided some control over time, path, or pace. Section 4102 (1)(A)(B)

Digital Learning – The term ‘digital learning’ means any instructional practice that effectively uses technology to strengthen a student’s learning experience and encompasses a wide spectrum of tools and practices. Section 4102 (3)

TITLE IV PART B: 21ST Century Community Learning Centers

Funds are Authorized in the following amounts:
FY 2017 $1,166,673,000
FY 2017 $1,000,000,000 (BUDGET REQUEST)
FY 2018-2020 $1,100,000,000

Purpose: The purpose of TITLE IV Part B is to provide opportunities for communities to establish or expand activities in community learning centers that offer students a broad array of additional services, programs, and activities, such as youth development activities, service learning, violence prevention programs, technology education, career and technical programs, internship or apprenticeship programs, and other ties to an in-demand industry sector or occupation for high school students that are designed to reinforce and complement the regular academic program of participating students. Section 4201 (a)(2)

Funds are distributed by formula by states which can then subgrant through competitive grant programs. Public or private organizations are eligible to apply for a 21st CCLC grant. Examples of agencies and organizations eligible under the 21st CCLC program include, but are not limited to LEAs, non-profit agencies, city or county government agencies, faith-based organizations, institutions of higher education, and for-profit corporations. Subgrants cannot be less than $50,000.

ESSA Definitions for Terminology

Community Learning Center – A community learning center is an entity that assists students in meeting the challenging State academic standards by providing the students with academic enrichment activities and a broad array of other activities during non-school hours or periods when school is not in session (such as before and after school or during summer recess). Activities reinforce and complement the regular academic programs of the schools attended by the students served, and are targeted to the students’ academic needs and aligned with the instruction students receive during the school day. Section 4201 (b)(1)

Eligible entity – The term ‘eligible entity’ means a local educational agency, community-based organization, Indian tribe or tribal organization (as such terms are defined in section 4 of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Act (25 U.S.C. 450b)), another public or private entity, or a consortium of 2 or more such agencies, organizations, or entities. 4201 (b)(3)

External organization – The term ‘external organization’ means a nonprofit organization with a record of success in running or working with before and after school (or summer recess) programs and activities. 4201 (b)(4)

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