Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
C. STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT AND SCHOOL ACCOUNTABILITY
Student Achievement and School Accountability (SASA) administers programs of financial assistance to State and local education agencies and to colleges and universities. Under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, SASA administers several Title I programs of supplementary instruction and other services. This includes the Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies and the Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children Who are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk programs. Under Title III of the ESEA, SASA administers the State Formula Grant Program for English Language Acquisition and Language Enhancement. SASA also administers the Education for Homeless Children and Youth program authorized by the Stewart B. McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (P.L. 100-77) and the State Assessment Grant and Enhanced State Assessment Grant programs authorized in section 6111 of ESEA.
These programs provide financial assistance to local and State education agencies and other organizations and institutions to support supplemental services for children in high poverty schools, limited English proficient children, institutionalized, neglected, and delinquent children, homeless children, as well as children enrolled in schools managed by the Bureau of Indian Education and tribal grant schools. The programs are designed to meet the special education needs of such children and to aid in their teachers' continued professional development to enable these children to achieve the State's high, challenging academic content and performance standards expected of all children attending public elementary and secondary schools.
SASA conducts an annual survey of local and State-supported institutions for neglected and delinquent children to determine their eligibility to participate in neglected and delinquent children's programs; determines allocations for State agencies; and collects data for use in computing LEA allocations.
SASA is headed by a Director and Deputy Director, who report to the Assistant Secretary and/or respective Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and advise the Assistant Secretary and/or Deputy Assistant Secretary on matters related to the programs administered by SASA. The Director promotes cooperative efforts among various governmental and community officials and groups and establishes cooperative working relationships across the principal operating components within the Department to support the effective implementation of these programs.
The Immediate Office of the Director for SASA is directly responsible for the oversight of all programs administered by SASA and for the administrative and management functions that support all units in SASA. Staff members, who report directly to the Director, have the primary responsibility for such administrative and management functions that include the general coordination of work within SASA's program groups, logging in and tracking incoming correspondence, and maintaining a file of all correspondence that is issued by SASA. The Director's Office is ultimately responsible for the development and clearance of all letters and reports issued by SASA. It is also responsible for carrying out special projects to ensure the law is implemented in a manner that results in success in school for every child.
In addition to the work carried out by the Director’s Immediate Office, SASA participates in legislation development, prepares information for budget appropriations, allocates funds and issues grant awards for the programs it administers, analyzes and processes waiver requests of program requirements submitted by States and LEAs, prepares and tracks program performance indicators, coordinates programmatic activities with other agencies, and responds to inquiries from the Congress, the press, and organizations, regarding the programs SASA administers.
SASA is divided into five Program Groups:
Policy Coordination Group is responsible for coordinating and developing policy guidance to clarify and implement the President's education policies as they relate to Title I programs administered by SASA. The work of the Policy Coordination Group informs State and local education officials and others about Title I requirements and how they are implemented. The policy group also manages the Title I formula grant allocation process, the grant award process, procedures for closing out grants, the waiver process, and the Title I requirements that focus on services to children in private schools.
Standards, Assessments, and Accountability Group is responsible for ensuring that States develop the academic standards and student assessment and accountability systems required by Title I to hold LEAs and schools accountable for the academic progress of their students. The group provides direct technical assistance to States, as well as specialized technical assistance through external experts for longer-term interventions for States with significant assessment and accountability issues. As part of its responsibilities, the group reviews and recommends approval or disapproval of annual State amendments to required Title I accountability plans and coordinates the peer review process for development and improvements to State assessment systems. In this role, the group manages the development and refinement of data definitions associated with the Title I accountability requirements and coordinates with the Policy Coordination Group in reporting these requirements in the annual Consolidated State Performance Report. The Standards, Assessment, and Accountability group also manages the process for awarding and monitoring the discretionary Enhanced Assessment Grants. The purpose of the group’s work is to help each State develop a comprehensive system of standards, assessments, and accountability that drives instructional improvements.
Technical Assistance and Monitoring Group is responsible for providing integrated technical assistance and monitoring at the State and local level that focuses on the effective use of Title I resources to improve classroom instruction for at-risk children, especially those children in schools that have been identified low performing. The technical assistance provided includes working with States to design, implement, and evaluate State systems of support for making Title I targeted assistance and schoolwide programs more effective vehicles for implementing instructional change and higher student performance. The group also conducts achievement-focused compliance monitoring on how States and LEAs implement their Title I, Parts A, B, and D and McKinney-Vento Homeless Education programs. States not fully compliant must take corrective actions to address identified concerns.
Title III State Formula Grants Group is responsible for the administration of the Title III State formula grant program. The group works collaboratively with the Office of English Language Acquisition and the other groups in SASA to develop policy guidance, monitor program compliance, ensure program accountability, and provide State and local educational agencies with technical assistance to develop and enhance their capacity for developing standards and assessment systems and providing high-quality language instruction educational programs for English language learners.
Audit Resolution Group is responsible for analyzing and resolving audits of SASA programs conducted by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Government Accountability Office or by State and local auditors under the Single Audit Act. The Audit Resolution Group also conducts preliminary investigations of complaints concerning SASA programs that come in through the OIG hotline.