Migrant Education Program
Preliminary Guidance for Title I, Part C
Public Law 103-382

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Comprehensive Needs Assessment and Service Delivery Plan

As both an essential planning instrument and a tool for forging links to other programs and to state and local educational reform plans, the comprehensive needs assessment and service delivery plan forms the core of the new MEP. The requirements for such plans under Section 1306 clearly envision a process by which each state determines how best to fit services needed by migrant children into the state's comprehensive education reform plan developed under Goals 2000, or the plans developed by the state under other parts of the ESEA.

Needs Assessment Component

A comprehensive needs assessment is based upon the best available information regarding educational services and comprehensive services (e.g. health, dental, transportation, counseling) needed by migrant children in the context of helping them achieve the state content and student performance standards.

Example of a Process for Identifying Children to Serve

  • Identify children who meet the statutory definition of a migrant child and are expected to reside in the area (statewide or local) that the agency serves;

  • Establish objective, educationally related criteria for selecting children to be served following the service priorities contained in Section 1304(d);

  • Uniformly apply those educational criteria in selecting students to be served in each grade level and instructional area in which the project will focus;

  • Determine (1) the educational needs of the children to be served with enough specificity to enable the project to focus on the most pressing needs; and (2) the resources that will be necessary to meet these needs; and

  • Determine the focus of the program to be provided (i.e., instructional areas and/or grade levels) based on the best available information about the needs and characteristics of all identified children.

The comprehensive needs assessment is used to determine the general instructional areas and grade levels on which the service delivery plan will focus. However, since the approved application, whether program-specific or consolidated, is the basis for using MEP funds within the state, the SEA and its operating agencies must ensure that local procedures are consistent with state priorities. The only exception is where migrant funds are used to support a schoolwide program. Even when funds are used as part of a schoolwide effort, schoolwide programs must still meet the identified needs of migrant children that (1) result from the effects of their migrant lifestyle, or are needed to permit them to participate effectively in school, and (2) document that services to address these needs have been provided.

Although the SEA cannot delegate its primary responsibilities to the local operating agency, the local operating agency is free to develop local assessment procedures provided that they are consistent with state priorities. These assessments may identify such critical elements as the specific needs of children by grade levels, academic areas in which the project should focus, instructional settings, materials, staffing, and teaching techniques.

Both a statewide and local needs assessment should be conducted annually, since specific needs of the population being served through the MEP program may change from year to year. Consequently, SEAs and operating agencies should modify their programs to reflect changes in the educational needs of migrant children who, during the project period, actually reside in the areas served. SEAs should then update their applications to reflect these changes.

Service Delivery Component

The MEP's comprehensive service delivery plan is the vehicle by which a state and its local agencies (along with staff from other programs) plan and implement the coordinated and integrated services needed by migrant children in that state to meet the state's challenging content and student performance standards. The plan should provide the blueprint for actions to be taken by the state to provide a full range of services funded through the MEP and other sources to migrant children.

A comprehensive service delivery plan sets out clear goals to be achieved by the MEP and the outcomes expected of the migrant children in the state. A state's challenging content and student performance standards provide the basis for development of the program's goals and outcomes. The measurable goals established in the comprehensive state plan are the targets at which the state will direct services needed by migrant children to help them meet those state standards. The outcomes identified in the comprehensive state plan provide the means against which to assess the success of the state's efforts, including the degree to which they have leveraged services from other programs in the state. Information about the extent to which migrant children fail to meet the state's content and student performance standards can be used to redesign service delivery strategies for migrant children.

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Last Modified: 05/15/2009