Tennessee Department of Education
Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) makes it clear that Congress expects Local Educational Agencies (LEAs) and schools receiving federal funds to ensure that parents are actively involved and knowledgeable about their schools and their children’s education. The law requires schools to give parents many different kinds of information and notices in a uniform and understandable format and, to the extent practicable, in a language that the parents can understand. Listed below are some of these required notices that must be made to parents by school districts or individual public schools.
Written complaint procedures: LEAs disseminate free of charge to parents of students, and to appropriate private school officials or representatives, adequate information about the State Educational Agency’s (SEA) written complaint procedures for resolving issues of violation(s) of a Federal statute or regulation that applies to Title I, Part A programs. [34 CFR §200.11(d)]
Teacher qualifications: At the beginning of each school year, a district that receives Title I funds must notify parents that they may request information regarding the professional qualifications of their children’s classroom teachers. If a parent requests the information, it must include at least:
- whether the teacher has met state qualifications and licensing criteria for the grade levels and subject areas taught;
- whether the teacher is teaching under emergency or other provisional status;
- 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.
The information must also disclose whether the child is provided services by paraprofessionals, and if so, their qualifications. [20 U.S.C. §6311(h)(6)]
Title III requires that each eligible entity receiving a subgrant under §3114 shall include in its plan a certification that all teachers in any language instruction educational program for limited English proficient children that is, or will be, funded under this part are fluent in English and any other language used for instruction, including having written and oral communication skills. [ESEA Title III, Part A, §3116(c)]
Non-highly qualified teachers: A Title I school shall provide each individual parent timely notice that the parent’s child has been assigned, or has been taught for four or more consecutive weeks, by a teacher who is not highly qualified. [20 U.S.C. §6311(h)(6)(B)] [ESEA Title I, Part A, §1111(h)(6)(A) and (h)(6)(B)(ii)]
Student privacy: Districts must give parents annual notice at the beginning of the school year of the specific or approximate dates during the school year when the following activities are scheduled or expected to be scheduled:
- activities involving the collection, disclosure or use of personal student information for the purpose of marketing or selling that information;
- administration of surveys containing request for certain types of sensitive information;
- any non-emergency, invasive physical examination that is required as a condition of attendance, administered by the school, scheduled in advance and not necessary to protect the immediate health and safety of student.
A district must develop and adopt policies regarding the rights of parents to inspect:
- third party surveys before they are administered or distributed to students;
- measures to protect student privacy when surveys ask for certain sensitive information;
- parental right to inspect any instructional materials;
- administration of physical examinations or screening of students;
- collection, disclosure or use of personal information from students for the purpose of marketing or selling that information; and
- the parental right to inspect any instrument used to collect personal information before it is distributed to students.
Districts must give parents annual notice of an adoption or continued use of such policies and within a reasonable period of time after any substantive change in such policies. [20 U.S.C. §1232h(c)(2)] [ESEA Title II, Part F, §1061(c)]
Public release of student directory information: Under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), an LEA must provide notice to parents of the types of student information that it releases publicly. This type of student information, commonly referred to as “directory information,” includes such items as names, addresses and telephone numbers and is information generally not considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. The notice must include an explanation of a parent’s right to request that the information not be disclosed without prior written consent.
Additionally, §9528 requires that parents be notified that the school routinely discloses names, addresses and telephone numbers to military recruiters upon request, subject to a parent’s request not to disclose such information without written consent.
A single notice provided through a mailing, student handbook or other method that is reasonably calculated to inform parents of the above information is sufficient to satisfy the parental notification requirements of both FERPA and §9528. The notification must advise the parent of how to opt out of the public, nonconsensual disclosure of directory information and the method and timeline within which to do so. [ESEA §9528]
Military recruiter access to student information: Districts receiving federal education funds must notify parents of secondary school students that they have a right to request their child’s name, address and telephone number not be released to a military recruiter without their prior written consent. Districts must comply with any such requests. [20 U.S.C. §7908(a)(2)] [ESEA §9528]
Parental involvement: A district receiving Title I funds and each school served under Title I must develop jointly with, agree on with, and distribute to, parents of children participating in Title I programs, a written parental involvement policy. If a school or district has a parental involvement policy that applies to all parents, it may amend the policy to meet the requirements under the ESEA. [ESEA Title I, Part A, §1118(a)(2)] [20 U.S.C. §6318(b); (c)]
Parents shall be notified of the policy in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practicable, provided in a language the parents can understand. Such policy shall be made available to the local community and updated periodically to meet the changing needs of parents and the school. [ESEA Title I, Part A, §1118(b)(1)]
Schools must hold at least one annual meeting for Title I parents;
- involve parents in an ongoing manner in the planning, review and improvement of Title I programs;
- provide Title I parents with timely information about the programs, a description and explanation of the curriculum, forms of academic assessment and expected levels of student proficiency;
- if requested, provide opportunities for regular meetings to discuss decisions related to the education of their children; and
- develop a school-parent compact that outlines the responsibilities of each party for improved student academic achievement. [ESEA Title I, Part A, §1118(c)]
Title III requires that each eligible entity receiving a subgrant under §3114 submit a plan to the SEA that describes how the eligible entity will promote parental and community participation in programs for limited English proficient children. [ESEA Title III, Part A, §3116(b)(4)]
Title III-funded LEAs are required to implement an effective means of outreach to parents of limited English proficient children to inform such parents of how they can be involved in the education of their children and be active participants in assisting their children to learn English, achieve at high levels in core academic subjects and meet the same State content and achievement standards all children are expected to meet.
[ESEA Title III §3302(e)]
Report cards on statewide academic assessment: Each school district that receives Title I, Part A funds must prepare and disseminate an annual report card. Generally, the state or district must include on its report card information about public schools related to student achievement, accountability, teacher qualifications and other required information, as well as any other information that the state or district deems relevant.
These report cards must be concise and presented in an understandable and uniform format accessible to persons with disabilities and, to the extent practicable, provided in a language that parents can understand. In Tennessee, these requirements are met through our State’s report card. [ESEA Title I, Part A, §1111(h)(1) and (h)(2)]
Individual achievement on state assessment: A school that receives Title I funds must provide each parent information on the achievement level of their child on each of the state academic assessments as soon as is practicably possible after the test is taken. [20 U.S.C. §6312(c)(1)(N)] [ESEA Title I, Part A, §1111(h)(6)(B)(i))]
All schools must provide to parents, teachers and principals the individual student interpretive, descriptive and diagnostic reports, which allow specific academic needs to be understood and addressed, and include information on the student’s achievement on academic assessments aligned with State academic achievement standards. [ESEA §1111(b)(3)(C)(xii)]
National Assessment of Education Progress: Districts, schools and students may voluntarily participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Parents of children selected to participate in any NAEP assessment must be informed before the assessment is administered that their child may be excused from participation for any reason, is not required to finish any assessment and is not required to answer any test question. A district must make reasonable efforts to inform parents and the public about their right to access all assessment data (except personally identifiable information), questions and current assessment instruments. [ESEA Title VI, Part C, §411(c)(1); (d)(1)–(2))]
School-wide programs: A district must inform eligible schools and parents of school-wide program authority under which such schools may consolidate funds from federal, state and local sources to upgrade the entire educational program of the school. The school must serve an eligible attendance area in which at least 40% of the children in the area or enrolled in the school are from low-income families. [20 U.S.C. §6312(c)(1)(A)]
[ESEA Title I, Part A, §1114]
Progress review: Each LEA shall publicize the results of the annual progress review to parents, teachers, principals, schools and the community so that the teachers, principals, other staff and schools can continually refine, in an instructionally useful manner, the program of instruction to help all children served under Title I to meet the challenging State student academic achievement standards. [ESEA §1116(a)(1)(C)]
Safe and drug-free schools programs: A district receiving safe and drug-free school program funds must inform and involve parents in violence and drug prevention efforts. The district must make reasonable efforts to inform parents of the content of safe and drug-free school programs and activities other than classroom instruction. If a parent objects in writing, the district must withdraw the student from the program or activity. [20 U.S.C. §7116(b); 20 U.S.C. §7163]
Limited English proficiency programs: A school district that uses federal funds to provide a language instruction education program for children with limited English proficiency must no later than 30 days after the beginning of the school year inform the parents of each child identified for participation or participating in such a program:
- the reasons for the identification of the child as limited English proficient;
- the child’s level of English proficiency;
- how that level was determined and the status of the child’s academic achievement;
- methods of instruction used in the program in which their child is participating and methods of instruction used in other available programs;
- how the program will meet the educational strengths and needs of their child;
- how the program will specifically help their child learn English and meet age-appropriate academic achievement standards for grade promotion and graduation;
- the specific exit requirements for the program;
- in the case of a child with a disability, how the program meets the child’s IEP objectives; and
- information about parental rights detailing the right of parents to have their child immediately removed from such program upon their request and the options that parents have to decline to enroll their child in such program or to choose another available program or method of instruction.
For a child not identified as limited English proficient prior to the beginning of the school year, the district must notify parents within the first two weeks of the child being placed in such a program. [20 U.S.C.§6312(g); §7012(a)–(d)] [ESEA Title I, Part A, §1112(g)(1)–(4)]
Each eligible entity using Title III funds to provide a language instruction education program, and that has failed to make progress on the annual measurable achievement objectives shall separately inform the parents of children identified for participation in such program, or participating in such program, of such failure not later than 30 days after such failure occurs. All required information shall be provided in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent practicable, in a language that the parent can understand. [ESEA, Title III, Part C, §3302(b)(c)]
Homeless children: To be eligible for funds, the school must provide written notice, at the time any child seeks enrollment in such school, and at least twice annually while the child is enrolled in such school, to the parent or guardian or unaccompanied youth that, shall be signed by the parent or guardian or unaccompanied youth; that sets forth the general rights provided; and specifically states:
- the choice of schools homeless children are eligible to attend;
- that no homeless child is required to attend a separate school for homeless children;
- that homeless children shall be provided comparable services, including transportation services, educational services, and meals; and
- that homeless children should not be stigmatized by school personnel.
The school must also:
- provide contact information for the local liaison for homeless children and the State Coordinator for Education of Homeless Children and Youths;
- provide assistance to the parent or guardian or unaccompanied youth to exercise the right to attend their choice of schools as provided for in subsection (g)(3)(A); and
- if applicable, coordinate with the local education agency with jurisdiction for the school selected, to provide transportation and other necessary services. [42 U.S.C. §11432(e)(3)(C),(E)] [ESEA Title X, Part C, §722(e)(3)(C)(I)–(iv)]
If the district sends a homeless child to a school other than the school of origin or the school requested by the parent or guardian, the district must provide the parents a written explanation for, including notice of the right to appeal, the decision. The information must also be provided whenever a dispute arises over school selection. [ESEA Title X, Part C, §722(g)(3)(B)]
Each LEA liaison for homeless children and youth shall ensure the parents or guardians of homeless children and youth are informed of the educational and related opportunities available to their children and are provided with meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children. [ESEA Title X, Part C, §722(g)(6)(A)(iv)]
Public notice of the educational rights of homeless children and youths is disseminated where such children and youths receive services under this Act, such as schools, family shelters and soup kitchens. [ESEA Title X, Part C, §722(g)(6)(A)(v)]
21st Century Community Learning Centers: A program or activity funded as part of a 21st Century Community Learning Center providing before and after school activities to advance student academic achievement must undergo periodic evaluation to assess its progress toward achieving its goal of providing high quality opportunities for academic enrichment. The results of evaluations shall be made available to the public upon request, with public notice of such availability provided. [ESEA §4205(b)(2)]
Waiver request: If a school district requests the U.S. Secretary of Education to waive any provision or regulation of the ESEA, it must provide notice and information about the waiver to the public in the manner in which is customarily provides public notice. [20 U.S.C. §7861(b)(3)(B)] [ESEA Title IX, Part D, §9401(b)(3)(B)(ii)]
Tennessee School for the Blind
District and School Parent and Family Engagement Policy
Parent-School Involvement Policy
On July 30, 2010, the Tennessee State Board of Education adopted new standards on parental involvement based on the Parent Teacher Association’s National Standards for Family-School Partnerships. Compliance with these standards will be evaluated, reported, and recorded on the Tennessee State Report Card. To comply with this initiative, the Tennessee School for the Blind has amended and jointly developed the current parental involvement policy through information gathered during annual meetings with parents to align with these standards. The Parental Involvement Policy will be distributed at various times throughout the year during registration, the Fall Unity Conference, and the Spring Transition Fair. The parental involvement policy is also posted on our website and in the Student and Parent Handbook. We recognize that a child’s education is a responsibility shared by both the parents and school during the duration of a student formal education. Visual impairment brings with it unique educational and vocational challenges, which can best be met by informed parents working with school staff who are informed of educating students with special challenges. Collaboration with the school and parents is essential to support student learning. Programs must reflect the specific needs of students and families in our statewide learning community.
Through the annual Unity Conference in the fall, the Transition Fair in the spring, and through statewide Outreach teachers, the Tennessee School for the Blind will provide:
- training for parents to support the school in the academic achievement of their child, and
- training for parents to support the school in the use of assistive technology devices.
Parents will be invited to a meeting each year during the Unity Conference to discuss pertinent topics concerning parental involvement and partnership with the Tennessee School for the Blind. In conjunction with this meeting, the Tennessee School for the Blind will:
- conduct a parent survey at the end of each school year to determine topics to be discussed at this annual meeting,
- discuss with parents how the school can provide support to the communities in which the they reside, and
- review and revise with them the current parental involvement policy.
Engaging families is essential to improved student learning and achievement. Tennessee School for the Blind fosters and supports active parent/family involvement by implementing innovative methods to enhance and maintain parent contact and involvement, some of which include:
- Regular two-way, meaningful and positive communication between home and school. (All information given to parents in print media is provided in Braille, large print, or on audible format upon request).
- Tennessee School for the Blind maintains a website, , which contains links to resources, contact information, calendar of school events, announcements, and a photo album of student activities.
- Parents receive information regarding school activities, challenges, and successes through newsletters in appropriate format.
- Students who possess and demonstrate appropriate skills are given an email account at no charge. Accessible computers are available to students during appropriate school times and in the cottages.
- A call from the student’s cottage is made to parents/guardians weekly to relay and gain information and to promote student/family contacts.
- TSB conducts annual statewide “Unity Conferences” providing current information, best practices, and adaptive technology updates; parents are strongly encouraged to attend.
- Every effort is made to promote parent participation in the IEP team process. If parents are unable to travel to campus, conference calls can be made to link the parent, LEA, and TSB. A visitor housing is available upon request for parents to reserve (space permitting) for school related visits.
- Parents are welcomed and encouraged to visit the school; their support and assistance is sought.
- The Student and Family Support Specialist/school counselor works with students and their families to promote good attendance, aid in successful school-to-work transition, and provide parents with community resource information.
- Responsible parenting is promoted and supported by TSB.
- Parent input is encouraged to promote student learning and achievement.
- Parents are partners in the decisions that affect students and families.
- The Outreach Program identifies parents of children suspected of needing special education services and are made aware of their rights guaranteed by federal and state statutes.
- The school sets expectations and creates a climate of mutual respect conducive to parent/family involvement.
The Tennessee School for the Blind, and the parents of the students participating in activities, services, and programs funded by Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (participating children), agree that this compact outlines how the parents, the entire school staff, and the students will share the responsibility for improved student academic achievement and the means by which the school and parents will build and develop a partnership that will help children achieve the State’s high standards. This school-parent compact is reviewed each school year.
Tennessee School for the Blind will:
- Provide high-quality curriculum and instruction in a supportive and effective learning environment that enables the participating children to meet the State’s student academic achievement standards as follows: Tennessee School for the Blind has Highly Qualified teachers who follow the Common Core State Standards. They use current techniques in the Education provided for deaf students.
- Hold parent-teacher meetings during which this compact will be discussed as it relates to the individual child’s achievement. Specifically: all children at the Tennessee School for the Blind are under an Individualized Education Program (IEP). IEP Meetings are held annually and at any time requested by any of the IEP team members.
- Provide parents with frequent reports on their children’s progress. Specifically, the school will provide reports as follows: parents receive copies of the IEP. Interim reports are sent home every four weeks and a report card is sent every nine weeks.
- Provide parents reasonable access to staff. Specifically, staff will be available for consultation with parents as follows: parents are always welcomed and encouraged on TSB’s campus. Parents may come and visit their student and student classes. IEP meetings are held at a convenient time for staff and parents. Parents of residential students are contacted weekly.
- Provide parents opportunities to volunteer and participate in their child’s class, and to observe classroom activities, as follows: parents have the opportunity to volunteer in all the school departments.
Additional Required School Responsibilities
Tennessee School for the Blind will:
- Provide information to parents of participating students in an understandable and uniform format, including alternative formats upon the request of parents with disabilities, and, to the extent practicable, in a language that parents can understand.
- Provide to parents of participating children information in a timely manner about Title I, Part A programs that includes a description and explanation of the school’s curriculum, the forms of academic assessment used to measure children’s progress, and the proficiency levels students are expected to meet.
- On the request of parents, provide opportunities for regular meetings for parents to formulate suggestions, and to participate, as appropriate, in decisions about the education of their children. The school will respond to any such suggestions as soon as practicably possible.
- Provide to each parent an individual student report about the performance of their child on the State Assessment in at least math, language arts, and reading.
- Provide each parent timely notice when their child has been assigned or has been taught for four (4) or more consecutive weeks by a teacher who is not highly qualified within the meaning of the term in section 200.56 of the title I Final Regulations (67 Fed. Reg. 71710, December 2, 2002).
Optional School Responsibilities
To help build and develop a partnership with parents to help their children achieve the State’s high academic standards, Tennessee School for the Blind will:
- Recommend to the local educational agency (LEA), the names of parents of participating children of Title I, Part A programs who are interested in serving on the State’s Committee of Practitioners and School Support Teams.
- Notify parents of the school’s participation in Early Reading First, Reading First and Even Start Family Literacy Programs operating within the school, the district and the contact information.
- Work with the LEA in addressing problems, if any, in implementing parental involvement activities in section 1118 of Title I, Part A.
- Work with the LEA to ensure that a copy of the SEA’s written complaint procedures for resolving any issue of violation(s) of a Federal statute or regulation of Title I, Part A programs is provided to parents of students and to appropriate private school officials or representatives.
We, as parents, will support our children’s learning in the following ways:
- Sign report cards.
- Ensure that the student gets to school each day, on time, and ready to learn
- Review homework assignments and offer assistance when needed.
- Demonstrate interest in the student’s well-being by attending school functions and supporting the student’s school activities.
- Make every effort to attend parent teacher conferences.
- Monitoring attendance.
- Make sure that homework is completed.
- Monitoring amount of television my child watches.
- Volunteering in my child’s classroom when applicable.
- Participating, as appropriate, in decisions relating to my children’s education.
- Promoting positive use of my child’s extracurricular time.
- Staying informed about my child’s education and communicating with the school by promptly reading all notices from the school or the school district either received by my child or by mail and responding, as appropriate.
- Serving, to the extent possible, on policy advisory groups, such as being the Title I, Part A parent representative on the school’s School Improvement Team, the Title I Policy Advisory Committee, the District wide Policy Advisory Council, the State’s Committee of Practitioners, the School Support Team or other school advisory or policy groups.
In signing a contract, the parent shall agree to maintain within the parent’s best efforts involvement with the parent’s child’s education to the extent required by the contract. If any obstacles or extenuating circumstances hinder and/or prevent me from a full commitment, I will offer an explanation to the appropriate administrator(s) or staff member(s).
Optional Additional Provisions
- Involve parents in the planning, review, and improvement of the school’s parental involvement policy, in an organized, ongoing, and timely way
- Involve parents in the joint development of any school wide program plan, in an organized, ongoing, and timely way
We, as students, will share the responsibility to improve our academic achievement and achieve the State’s high standards. Specifically, we will:
- Do my homework every day and ask for help when needed
- Read at least 30 minutes every day outside of school time
- Give to my parents or the adult who is responsible for my welfare all notices and information received by me from my school every day
Below is a sample of the Student-Parent-School Agreement you will be given during the enrollment of your child. Outlining the information presented in the school’s policy on Parents-School Involvement, this document will require signatures of all parties involved.