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Frequently Asked Questions

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  1. What is the closing date of the application package?
  2. If our state wishes to use multiple surveys that together satisfy the absolute or competitive priorities, is that acceptable? For example, we want to collect safety data on one survey, and collect environment and engagement data on another survey.
  3. Do the eligible schools within all participating LEAs have to use the same survey instruments?
  4. At what point during the school year should we administer the survey?
  5. Can a school have more than one safety score?
  6. Who may administer the survey?
  7. How should we administer the survey?
  8. Does every student in a school have to be surveyed?
  9. Are we required to publish the data collected by our measurement system?
  10. By what point do the measurement system and the formula to generate school safety scores need to be operational?
  11. By what point do we have to begin implementing programmatic interventions?
  12. At what level must survey data and incident data be collected?
  13. How many LEAs and schools have to participate in an SEA’s proposed measurement system?
  14. Is there technical assistance available to help us develop our survey and implementation plan?
  15. What does a school’s safety score mean?
  16. How often is the survey to be administered during the grant period?
  17. Do I have to administer the survey in different languages?
  18. How will we fund the measurement system?
  19. Do we need to indicate if we are addressing the competitive preference priority and/or the invitational priority?
  20. Are there any funding restrictions for this program?

1. What is the closing date of the application package?

August 9, 2010

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2. If our state wishes to use multiple surveys that together satisfy the absolute or competitive priorities, is that acceptable? For example, we want to collect safety data on one survey, and collect environment and engagement data on another survey.

Grantees are free to use multiple instruments to satisfy the absolute or competitive priorities. However, the instruments used to collect data from eligible schools must be identical to satisfy data collection requirements.

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3. Do the eligible schools within all participating LEAs have to use the same survey instruments?

The student survey instruments will be used to generate school safety scores for each eligible school within a participating LEA and to collect performance data for the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). Therefore, the instruments used to collect the data must be identical. To satisfy both the program requirements and the absolute priority, eligible schools within participating LEAs must use the same student survey instruments. To satisfy the invitational priority—Family and Staff Inclusion in Needs Assessments Measuring Conditions for Learning--grantees are encouraged to use identical family and staff surveys when assessing eligible schools.

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4. At what point during the school year should we administer the survey?

The ideal time to administer the survey depends upon the instrument’s design. Grantees are strongly encouraged to consult with the Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center to determine the ideal time to administer their survey. However, to maintain school-to-school comparability, all schools must administer the survey at the same time during the school year. In addition, grantees are strongly encouraged to administer the survey at approximately the same time each school year to preserve year-to-year comparability.

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5. Can a school have more than one safety score?

At a minimum, each school must have a single safety score, derived from both survey data and incident data, to satisfy the requirements of the program. This score should facilitate school-to-school comparisons so that grantees can easily identify schools most in need of programmatic interventions. However, grantees may choose to develop a system of “subscores” to increase transparency or monitor progress in a variety of areas related to conditions for learning.

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6. Who may administer the survey?

If grantees choose a paper and pencil method of administering surveys, we strongly recommend that a state-level agency or a contract administer the survey to safeguard respondent privacy. While fiscal authority must remain with the state education agency, the survey may be administered by another state agency (health, justice, etc.)

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7. How should we administer the survey?

We strongly recommend that grantees invest in web-based or online survey administration to lower survey administration costs, data analysis costs, and to reduce time needed to analyze and report data.

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8. Does every student in a school have to be surveyed?

Within eligible schools surveyed, the survey must be administered to a representative sample of the students in grades 9 and above. While grantees may choose to administer the survey to all students in grades 9 and above, only a representative sample is required. Grantees are strongly encouraged to consult with the Safe and Supportive Schools technical assistance center to determine adequate sample sizes.

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9. Are we required to publish the data collected by our measurement system?

Prior to the beginning of each school year, grantees are required to publish the school safety score for each eligible school selected to implement programmatic interventions. For other eligible schools located in participating LEAs, grantees are required to publish school safety scores during the first and final years of the project period. Grantees are not required to publish any data beyond the school safety scores. However, should grantees choose to publish survey or incident data to help realize goals, objectives and outcomes, we recommend that grantees consult with the Safe and Supportive Schools technical assistance center or the Family Policy Compliance Office to ensure compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g; 34 CFR part 99.

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10. By what point do the measurement system and the formula to generate school safety scores need to be operational?

The project period may be broken into two phases: a planning phase, and an implementation phase. The planning phase may occur during the first 12 months of the project period, while the implementation phase begins at the beginning of the second year of the project period. During the planning phase, grantees will have time to build LEA participation to the required minimum (a representation of at least 20% of the state’s total student enrollment), select a survey instrument, develop a school safety score formula, develop the criteria used to select eligible schools to implement programmatic interventions, and collect baseline performance measures (to satisfy the Government Performance and Results Act, or GPRA), and other planning tasks as needed to achieve the goals, objectives, and outcomes stated in their applications. Before the end of the planning phase, grantees must submit the following to the OSDFS: the completed school safety score formula, the criteria used to select eligible schools to implement programmatic interventions, a list of participating LEAs representing at least 20% of the state’s total student enrollment, and baseline GPRA performance measures.

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11. By what point do we have to begin implementing programmatic interventions?

Grantees may use the first year of the grant as a planning period, and are not required to implement programmatic interventions during this time. Starting in the second year of the grant, grantees are required to use at least 80% of program funds to implement programmatic interventions in the eligible schools selected.

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12. At what level must survey data and incident data be collected?

School-level data collection will be necessary so that grantees are able to understand the needs of each school and to identify schools most in need of programmatic interventions. All incident data and survey data must be collected in manner that allows for school-level disaggregation.

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13. How many LEAs and schools have to participate in an SEA’s proposed measurement system?

To be considered a participating LEA, each LEA must agree to collect student survey data from all eligible schools during the first and final years of the project period, and to collect student survey data from all eligible schools selected to implement programmatic interventions during each year of the project period. To satisfy the program requirements, a state must have LEA participation representing at least 20% of the state’s total student enrollment. The number of LEAs needed to meet the program requirement may be larger in states with smaller LEAs, and may be smaller in states with larger LEAs.

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14. Is there technical assistance available to help us develop our survey and implementation plan?

OSDFS will establish a Safe and Supportive Schools technical assistance center to train grantees in survey methodology, review implementation plans.

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15. What does a school’s safety score mean?

A school’s safety score uses both survey data and incident data to rate the physical and emotional safety of the school setting. The score must enable grantees and education stakeholders to easily distinguish safe schools from schools requiring improvement.

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16. How often is the survey to be administered during the grant period?

At a minimum, the survey must be administered four times during the grant period: once per year during the project period.

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17. Do I have to administer the survey in different languages?

The survey must be administered to a representative sample of the students in ninth grade an above within eligible schools surveyed. Grantees are strongly encouraged to offer student surveys in range of languages to ensure that language barriers do not bar student participation in the data collection. Grantees are encouraged to consult with the Safe and Supportive Schools technical assistance center to determine how best to survey different school populations.

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18. How will we fund the measurement system?

During the planning phase, or the first year, of the project period, grantees may use program funds as appropriate to develop state-level data collection capacity, including, but not limited to: developing, adopting, or adapting valid and reliable survey instruments; establishing data analysis and reporting materials and procedures; improving the knowledge and skills of project personnel to meet the needs of the project; consulting with LEAs and schools; administering the survey; and other tasks as needed to fulfill achieve the goals, objectives, and outcomes of the project and to satisfy program requirements. During the implementation phase of the project, the costs of maintaining the measurement system will fall significantly. Grantees are able to use up to 20% of program funds during the implementation phase to administer the survey each year, and to maintain the measurement system, and, to provide technical assistance to LEAs and schools.

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19. Do we need to indicate if we are addressing the competitive preference priority and/or the invitational priority?

Yes. Please clearly indicate in your application abstract that you are applying for the competitive preference priority, and/or the invitational priority.

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20. Are there any funding restrictions for this program?

Yes Grant funds may not be used for construction, except for minor remodeling needed to accomplish the purposes of this program, or for medical services, drug treatment, or rehabilitation except for pupil services or referral to treatment for students who are victims of, or witnesses to, crime or who illegally use drugs.

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Last Modified: 07/09/2010