Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs
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Academic Improvement and Teacher Quality Programs (AITQ) administers several major formula and discretionary grant programs. These programs are authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
These programs provide financial assistance to State and local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, community and faith-based organizations, and other entities. Funding supports activities designed to recruit and retain a high-quality teaching staff for America's schools, to strengthen the quality of elementary and secondary education, including through after-school programs and the creation of smaller learning communities, to test and disseminate information on new approaches for improving educational results, to establish scientifically based reading programs for students enrolled in kindergarten through grade three, and to raise the educational achievement of at-risk students, such as Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native children and youth.
The administration of these programs includes the development of legislative proposals; the formulation of regulations, nonregulatory guidance, and policies; the formulation of program and operational budgets; the establishment of management goals and priorities; the provision of leadership and technical assistance to the education community on issues addressed by the programs (including through partnerships with private foundations and other non-governmental entities), the design and conduct of grant competitions; program monitoring; and technical assistance and guidance to grant recipients to promote program success and ensure compliance with statutory requirements.
AITQ is headed by a Director who reports directly to the Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education and advises the Assistant Secretary, Deputy Assistant Secretaries, and other top officials of the Department on policy and administrative issues related to programs in the office. The Director oversees the implementation of the Reading First program, a State-administered program that provides assistance to districts to establish scientifically based reading programs for students enrolled in kindergarten through grade three, and programs aimed at providing financial support and assistance to help reopen and rebuild schools in areas impacted by Hurricane Katrina.
AITQ is divided into four Program Groups:
The Academic Improvement Programs Group is responsible for oversight and dissemination of State-administered grants that provide services during non-school hours to students and their families for academic enrichment. The program group is also responsible for administering programs that improve the literacy skills of students through increased access to up-to-date school library materials, and programs that provide assistance to meet the unique educational needs of Native Hawaiians and Alaska Natives. (Acting Group Leader: Sylvia Lyles)
The High School Programs Group is responsible for oversight and administration of programs that improve the quality of educational programs and services for middle and high school students. The program group administers direct grants that: increase the participation of low-income students in both pre-Advanced Placement and Advanced Placement courses and tests; support the implementation of smaller learning communities in large public high schools; support effective, sustainable, and coordinated dropout prevention and reentry programs in high schools; and improve the reading skills of middle and high school-aged students who are reading below grade level. (Group Leader: Braden Goetz)
The Teacher Quality Programs Group is responsible for administering programs aimed at improving teacher and principal quality, including programs that support efforts to develop and implement performance-based teacher and principal compensation systems in high-need schools. The program group also administers programs and initiatives aimed at improving students' achievement in mathematics and science, and programs that enhance the ability of elementary and secondary schools to meet the special education needs of gifted and talented students. (Group Leader: Carol O'Donnell)
In administering the programs assigned to it, AITQ establishes cooperative relationships with other Departmental Principal Offices and with other Federal agencies and governmental and nongovernmental organizations as appropriate. For example, AITQ administers the Mathematics and Science Partnerships program cooperatively with the National Science Foundation and carries out joint activities in support of 21st Century Community Learning Centers with one or more private foundations. Administration of the Improving Teacher Quality State Grants program involves frequent interaction with other offices in the Department that administer programs that train and provide professional development to teachers.