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Frequently Asked Questions: Equitable Participation of Private Schools in the Title III, National Professional Development Programs

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  1. Must a Title III, National Professional Development Program grant recipient provide for the equitable participation of private school teachers in programs and activities?
  2. Would sending letters to private schools inviting their teachers to participate in the program fulfill the requirements of private school consultation?
  3. Why are you suggesting that we work with our LEA partners in conducting the consultation process?
  4. How do we meet the requirement if we have recruited all teachers for which we have budgeted slots for the current year, and have no slots available?
  5. If there are no private schools that serve English learners within our LEA consortium service areas should we consult with private schools in other LEAs that may serve English learners?
  6. Our institution did not include a plan to serve private schools. Are we still required to consult with private schools to determine how their teachers might benefit from the program?
  7. Our program serves pre-service teachers only. Are we obligated to meet the requirements for equitable participation?
  8. If we are paying public school teachers a stipend for participating in professional development activities would we be required to pay participating private school teachers a stipend as well?
  9. Are charter schools private schools?

1. Must a Title III, National Professional Development Program grant recipient provide for the equitable participation of private school teachers in programs and activities?

Yes. Section 9501of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA),regarding the equitable participation of private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel, applies to this program. Among other things, this means that the grant recipient receiving financial assistance under the National Professional Development Program (NPD) must, after timely and meaningful consultation with officials of private schools located in the areas served by the grant, provide to teachers and other education personnel of those private schools professional development that is equitable to professional development provided with program funds to public school teachers (and other public school staff whom the program serves).

To meet its responsibilities for timely and meaningful consultation, applicants must consult with appropriate private school officials during the design and development of the program application on issues such as (a) how the professional development needsof private school teachers will be identified,(b) what services will be offered,(c) how, where, and by whom the services will be provided,(d) how the services will be assessed and how the results of the assessment will be used to improve those services,(e)the size and scope of the equitable services to be provided to the eligible private school staff and the amount of funds available for those services and (f) how and when the grant recipient will make decisions about the delivery of services, including a thorough consideration and analysis of the views of the private school officials on the provision of contract services through potential third-party providers. At all times, administrative direction and control over grant funds must remain with the grantee.

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2. Would sending letters to private schools inviting their teachers to participate in the program fulfill the requirements of private school consultation?

No. An offer of services by the grantee without an opportunity for timely and meaningful consultation does not meet the requirements of the law. However, one way to accomplish the consultation process is for the LEA to extend an invitation to officials of the private schools and convene a meeting with them during which LEA officials describe the program and allowable activities available to private school teachers, explain the roles of public and private school officials, address the specific needs of private school teachers, and provide opportunities for the private school officials to ask questions and offer suggestions. A consultation process that involves an LEA simply sending a letter to private school officials explaining the purpose of the NPD program and the LEA's intent to apply for funds is not adequate consultation. Likewise, a letter describing the services that an LEA intends to provide for private school teachers, without any prior consultation, is not sufficient to meet the consultation requirement.

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3. Why are you suggesting that we work with our LEA partners in conducting the consultation process?

In general LEAs have experience in conducting timely and meaningful consultation with private schools for a variety of ESEA programs. Their experience is valuable in helping to identify private schools with English learners whose teachers may benefit from the NPD program and in conducting the consultation process. It is important yo note, however, that the IHE, as the grantee and fiscal agent, understand is responsible for ensuring that equitable participation is provided that its LEA partners have taken appropriate steps to ensure that an effective, timely, and meaningful consultation process has taken place.

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4. How do we meet the requirement if we have recruited all teachers for which we have budgeted slots for the current year, and have no slots available?

Even if you have filled available slots for teacher participants for the current year, you must consult with private schools as soon as possible to determine if they may benefit from the services of your program as well consult about their participation in future years. In addition if teacher participant slots become available in the current year, you should consult with private school officials about the possibility of private school teachers filling those slots.

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5. If there are no private schools that serve English learners within our LEA consortium service areas should we consult with private schools in other LEAs that may serve English learners?

If there are no private schools that serve English learners within your LEA consortium service areas you would not be required to consult with private schools in LEAs that are not part of your consortium.

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6. Our institution did not include a plan to serve private schools. Are we still required to consult with private schools to determine how their teachers might benefit from the program?

The requirement for equitable participation of private school teachers in programs and activities would apply to your program, even if your institution did not include a plan to serve private school teachers in your grant application. Thus, you are required to consult with private school officials.

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7. Our program serves pre-service teachers only. Are we obligated to meet the requirements for equitable participation?

Your institution would not be obligated to meet the requirements for equitable participation if your program is designed to provide pre-service professional development to prepare aspiring teachers or other educational personnel and does not provide professional development for teachers or other educational personnel employed in LEAs. However, you could make private schools in the service areas of your LEA partners aware of the EL teacher preparation being supported by your NPD grant.

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8. If we are paying public school teachers a stipend for participating in professional development activities would we be required to pay participating private school teachers a stipend as well?

Yes, under the equitable services provision, you would be required to ensure that the programs and benefits that you are offering to public school teachers, to the extent appropriate, would also be offered to private school teachers. In addition, compensation to private school teachers must be provided directly to the teachers themselves and not to the private school.

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9. Are charter schools private schools?

Charter schools that operate under a public charter are not private schools. Private schools referred to in the equitable participation requirement are private, non-profit elementary and secondary schools, including religiously affiliated schools, and are not under Federal or public supervision or control.

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Last Modified: 07/25/2012