Highlights of Findings--June 2000
D. Recommendations for Department Staff
The comments made during the site visits and staff interviews suggest that some grantees are in need of more and better technical assistance about grant administration, particularly in the early years of a grant. A number of the case study respondents made comments on the dearth of accessible information on the development and implementation of various activities. Many grantees would benefit from greater access to assistance from the Department in designing and implementing program activities. The Title III grantees would also benefit from increased efforts by the Department to encourage grantee networking and to disseminate information concerning successful programs, beyond the periodic workshops currently held. Most of the Title III coordinators interviewed during the site visits said the Department initiated few interactions, and felt that this area offered room for improvement. Possible suggestions for the Department include the following items.
- Internet home page publication by the Department of descriptions of projects that have been identified as good practice.
- The establishment of regular Internet activity (grantee chat rooms or bulletin boards) around important areas of Title III activity, and perhaps led by an experienced grantee and/or technical experts on the topic from elsewhere in the Department.
- The adoption of measures to encourage the identification, sharing, and documentation of potentially exemplary practices in an active database.
- Departmental awards for programs with particularly successful efforts, as a way to highlight those schools that are innovating and excelling.
- A greater commitment to improving staff training, so that the Federal program staff will have in-house technical expertise in the fields where most Title III activities are concentrated (e.g., student support programs and information technology initiatives).
- Having the program officers call each grantee on a routine basis, for example every three months, and send out periodic newsletters.