Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
G. School Support and Rural Programs
School Support and Rural Programs (SSRP) administers a number of formula and discretionary programs and also administers, or has the lead within the OESE on, flexibility provisions and initiatives and on activities related to consolidated State plans and reports. The programs and initiatives administered by SSRP are mainly authorized by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended.. The programs are:
- Enhancing Education Technology State Grants (ESEA Title II, Part D)
- Innovative Programs State Grants (ESEA Title V, Part A)
- Rural Education Achievement Program (including the Small, Rural School Achievement program and the Rural and Low-Income School program) (ESEA Title VI, Part B)
- Equity Assistance Centers (Civil Rights Act, Title IV)
- School Renovation State Grants (Department of Education Appropriations Act for FY 2001, Section 321)
- Territories and Freely Associated States Education Grants (ESEA Section 1121(b))
The additional initiatives and activities administered by SSTP are:
- Funding Transferability for State and Local Educational Agencies (Title VI, Part A, Subpart 2)
- State Flexibility (“State-Flex”) Authority (ESEA Title VI, Part A, Subpart 3, Chapter A)
- Local Flexibility (“Local-Flex”) Demonstration (ESEA Title VI, Part A, Subpart 3, Chapter B)
- Rural Flexibility Authority (ESEA Section 6211)
- Education Flexibility (“Ed-Flex”)(Education Flexibility Partnership Act of 1999)
- Consolidated Grants to the Outlying Areas (PL 95-134, Section 501)
- Consolidated State Applications and Reports (ESEA Title IX, Part C)
- Chicago litigation settlement
- Rural Education Information and Resource Center
Administration of these programs and initiatives involves the development of legislative proposals; the formulation of regulations, non-regulatory 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, 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.
SSRP is headed by a Director who reports directly to the Assistant Secretary and/or the respective Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and advises the Assistant Secretary, Deputy Assistant Secretaries, and other top officials of the Department on policy and administrative issues related to programs and initiatives in the office.
In administering the programs assigned to it, SSRP establishes cooperative relationships with other units within OESE, with other Principal Offices of the Department, and with other Federal agencies and governmental and nongovernmental offices as appropriate. For example, administration of the flexibility initiatives and the consolidated State applications and reports requires SSRP staff to work closely with staff who administer major ESEA formula grant programs in OESE, and the Office of English Language Acquisition. SSRP also employs the Department’s Coordinator for the Outlying Areas (pursuant to Section 220 of the Department of Education Organization Act, as amended); this responsibility requires frequent communication and coordination with offices throughout the Department.
SSRP is divided into three Program Groups:
Rural and Flexibility Program Group is responsible for the general improvement of education in rural school districts and in States and districts generally. The flexibility and consolidated application and reporting responsibilities assigned to this program group are critical ESEA mechanisms for providing States and school districts with the flexibility needed to meet the education needs and for holding those States and districts accountable for results.
School Support Program Group is responsible for administering programs that provide flexible, direct funding and technical assistance for school reform needed to ensure improved achievement for all students. These programs can help further the purposes of all other ESEA programs, including school improvement activities under Title I, Part A, teacher quality, technology, gifted and talented, adult literacy, magnet schools, and safe and healthy students programs.
Technical Assistance Program Group is responsible for administering programs that provide flexible, direct funding and technical assistance for school reform needed to ensure improved achievement for all students. These programs help further the purposes of all other ESEA programs, including school improvement activities under Title I Part A, teacher quality, instruction and technology, assessments and accountability, high schools, equity, and special education. This Group supports 21 comprehensive centers to ensure that the centers provide training and technical assistance, and professional development in reading, mathematics, and technology, particularly to school districts and schools that fail to meet their state’s definition of adequate yearly progress (AYP). This Group also provides technical assistance to Equity Assistance Centers, which are a resource for the Office for Civil Rights in working with school districts that have achieved unitary status. The Group utilizes the expertise and resources of the Comprehensive Centers and the Equity Assistance Centers to help identify challenges and issues related to rural education. The Rural Education Information and Resource Center serves as resource to State, local, tribal, and national entities in rural communities; coordinates with the Regional Educational Laboratories on budget requirements for rural areas; disseminates information to States, schools, communities, and rural education associations; and serves as the Department’s representative at National Rural Conferences. Additionally, the Group coordinates program monitoring activities and develops monitoring reports that result from virtual site visit meetings and provide technical assistance and guidance to SSRP staff.