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

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Interstate, Intrastate, and Interagency Coordination

"Districts need to be aware of what migrant students have already accomplished, to spare them needless repetition, and ensure that despite moves and changes, their educational experiences lead toward successful outcomes." (Educational Ref orm and Its Effect on Migrant Education: A Position Paper, Oregon Title I MEP, 1995)

Because migrant students move frequently, a central function of the MEP has always been to reduce the effects of educational disruption on migrant children in order to remove barriers to their educational achievement. The MEP has been, and continues to b e, a leader in coordinating resources and providing integrated services to migrant children and their families. MEP projects have also developed a wide array of strategies that enable schools that serve the same migrant students to communicate and coordinate with one another.

Coordination strategies to reduce the effects of educational disruption have included the following types of services between and among LEAs and states:

  • Developing credit accrual and credit exchange programs;
  • Coordinating curriculum development;
  • Exchanging teachers and teaching materials;
  • Implementing dropout prevention programs;
  • Exchanging information on health screenings and health problems that interrupt the student's education; and
  • Promoting the exchange of school records.

For the purpose of this guidance, coordination activities are described in greater detail under the subheadings "instruction," "assessment," and "records transfer."


School districts, with the help of SEAs, must design programs that address the needs of their students who move, whether the moves are made between two or more school districts within a single state or the moves are made across state boundaries. SEAs and LEAs are equally responsible for the children they both serve. Their programs should reflect collaborative strategies which are designed to build upon or reinforce the curricula of the school district(s) in which children who are served by both programs spend most of the school year so that there is some underlying coherence to the education of these children. Key to this strategy is identifying, to the extent possible:

  • Where each child is expected to spend most of his or her time in school; and

  • For secondary students, the graduation requirements of the "home base" school district or state.

In locations where mobile students reside only briefly, particularly when they are enrolled in summer or intersession programs, local operating agencies should consider planning their entire instructional programs around the content standards of the "home base" states or school districts.

Coordination and flexibility are especially important at the high school level, where differing graduation requirements in states or districts present roadblocks for migrant students who are trying to graduate. Schools that enroll migrant students for re latively brief periods of time could consider adopting procedures for granting them credits or partial credits, and adopting block scheduling or other innovative methods that allow migrant students to complete required coursework in an expedited manner. Home-base high schools--those from which migrant students plan to graduate--might consider adopting policies that ensure that full and partial credits awarded in other schools are accepted.

Examples of Interstate and Intrastate Projects

  • The MEP has established a single toll-free telephone number, 1-800-234-8848, that migrant families can call to reach the nearest migrant education program. Participating states are encouraged to inform parents about the numbe r so that mobile families can quickly find programs in which their children can be enrolled. Contact: Bob Thomas or Betty Anne Schwerd; Eastern Stream Center on Resources and Training (ESCORT); 305 Bugbee Hall; SUNY at Oneonta; Oneonta, New York 13820-4015; 1-800-451-8058.

  • Several states have initiated "teacher exchanges," in which teachers move along with their students, so as to provide greater educational continuity for the children during the summer months. For example, the Pennsylvania Migrant Education Program em ploys teachers from different parts of Mexico, Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico in various sites across the state each summer. The teachers bring a sense of familiarity and continuity to the migrant children's summer, inservice local migrant program and school district staff on the educational systems in Puerto Rico and Mexico, and promote connections across programs offered in different states so as to reduce the fragme ntation that occurs when a child's education is interrupted. Contact: Manuel Recio, Director; Migrant Education Program; State Department of Education; 333 Market Street, 7th Floor; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17126-0333; (717) 783-6467.

Examples of Interstate and Intrastate Projects

  • The Portable Assisted Study Sequence program (PASS) has been in operation in a number of states for more than a decade. PASS is a correspondence program which enables high school students to work on courses for full or partial credit on their own tim e schedules at any location. Participants work from portable learning packets that contain the coursework needed to meet high school graduation requirements. Students work with mentors who enroll them, issue the course work packets, provide tutoring and instruction, and administer tests. Students who participate in PASS programs work independently, and tailor their studies to the demands of family and work. Contact: Patricia Meyertholen; Chair of the Inte rstate PASS Committee; Director of Programs; Texas Education Agency; Division of Migrant Education; 1701 North Congress Avenue; Austin, Texas 78701-1494; (512) 463-9067.

  • Texas, in 1992, initiated Project SMART (Summer Migrants Access Resources through Technology) to provide instructional continuity through distance learning. The program provides instruction tailored to the Texas curriculum from the pre-school through high school levels. Televised instruction is provided through a San Antonio-based network. Students in school-based programs interact with the teacher through a special telephone line during the televised program. Students participating from home, who do not have the capability of interacting with the teacher during a telecast, can access a certified subject-area teacher based at Project SMART through a toll-free line. Contact: Patricia Meyertholen; Director of Program s; Texas Education Agency; Division of Migrant Education; 101 North Congress Avenue; Austin, Texas 78701-1494; (512) 463-9067.

Resources Available from the U.S. Department of Education

The Department's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) published a directory entitled the Directory of Public Elementary and Secondary Education Agencies 1992-93, which provides a current listing of local public school systems and other education agencies. This directory contains contact information, including the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of school districts throughout the country and can be useful in establishing contact between and among schools. The 1993-94 edition of the directory will be mailed out to all state migrant education programs in the fall of 1995.

Another resource to facilitate communication between high schools is the Pilot Standard National Course Classification System for Secondary Education, developed by NCES and available from the U.S. Department of Education. This system is useful t o states and school districts that want to grant credit for courses a student has completed in another state. The classification system provides standard codes and course definitions so that a participating school can quickly identify the equivalent cour se--for example, English 201--a student has taken at other participating schools. To obtain a copy of this publication, call NCES at (800) 424-1616 and request publication number 95-480.


Under Title I of the ESEA, migrant students who participate in the MEP are to be included in statewide assessments used to measure how well students are achieving challenging content and student performance standards. States and districts that serve the same migrant students should coordinate to promote continuity between the standards and expectations that shape students' educational experiences and the state assessments used to measure such students' academic achievement.

Some states require each student to pass a competency test in order to receive a high school diploma. Those states should consider providing opportunities for migrant students either to take these tests at some other time during the school year when they reside in the state or to take these tests when they reside temporarily in other states.

Example of an Interstate Testing Project

Texas has developed partnerships with other states to provide instructional continuity in test preparation and administration so that migrant students may take the Texas State competency test (the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills, or TAAS) while they t emporarily reside in other states during the summer. Contact: Tomas Yanez; Director; Texas Migrant Interstate Program; P.O. Drawer Y; Pharr, Texas 78577; 1-800-292-7006.

Records Transfer

Schools exchange student education and health records to better meet the needs of mobile students when they arrive at a new school. These records help school staff enroll students, provide them with appropriate services, avoid redundant testing, develop a baseline for assessing progress, and help schools grant credit for completed coursework. Timely information can also help teachers make accurate assessments of student progress toward attaining state content standards and can be a useful tool when maki ng decisions regarding how to address student needs within the classroom. Such information on migrant students' educational backgrounds is important for all schools migrant students attend, and states have an obligation to make a student's records availa ble to any new school in which the student enrolls.

States and LEAs are currently in the process of moving from a single national electronic transfer system that was mainframe oriented, centralized, and proprietary, to a distributed environment for records transfer--one in which information can be exchange d among multiple state and local databases maintained at geographically dispersed sites across the nation. State MEPs may use program funds available under the MEP to conduct transfer activities beyond those required of state and local agencies. SEAs ma y develop and/or recommend that schools adopt strategies to ensure that when a migrant child moves from one school district to another, the new school will have quick access to that child's education and health records. Records transfer may be accomplish ed electronically, but need not be. Telephones, fax machines, and the mail are also used to transfer records for migrant students. Many state MEPs are addressing the crucial role played by various stakeholders in transferring records, including school personnel, parents and families, and migrant students themselves.

In providing guidance on transferring records, an SEA may decide what it considers "critical information" that should be transmitted to each new school a child attends. SEAs may also wish to examine the need to transfer historical information that goes b eyond a brief snapshot in time.

Examples of Student Record Transfer Activities

  • Several states have designed intensive campaigns to promote awareness of the importance of records exchange in both home-base states and in receiving states in which migrant students attend school. Training is provided to empower parents and school p ersonnel to become more effective agents in the exchange of records. As part of this training, states provide parents with tote bags for carrying records from school to school.

  • Some states with comprehensive student information systems are adapting their core student records to incorporate data elements unique to migrant students, thus allowing for migrant student records to be collected either at a central state database or at various distributed databases. (Integrating migrant student data into existing databases eliminates the need to input information into parallel data systems, and also provides a more complete student record.)

  • Disparate systems can communicate by using software programs that implement the SPEEDE/ExPRESS data protocols developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers, with supp ort from the Department's National Center for Education Statistics. SPEEDE/ExPRESS allows home-base and receiving sites to map data elements onto a set of common data protocols. Use of a common data protocol or language allows different record systems t o exchange information electronically, thereby increasing the compatibility of different student information systems and the efficiency with which student records are transferred.

FERPA Requirements


The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) is a federal law that is designed to protect the privacy of students' education records. (20 U.S.C. 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99.) It applies to education agencies and institutions that receive fund s under a program administered by the Secretary of Education. All public schools and local education agencies (LEAs) are subject to FERPA.

FERPA gives certain rights to parents regarding their children's education records. These rights transfer to the student or former student who has reached the age of 18 or is attending any school beyond the high school level. These students are called " eligible students." Parents and eligible students have the following three basic rights under FERPA:

  1. The right to have access to their education records;
  2. The right to seek to have the records amended; and
  3. The right to have some control over the disclosure of information from the records.

FERPA also requires that subject education agencies and institutions adopt a policy regarding how the agency or institution meets the requirements of FERPA (34 CFR 99.6) and notify parents and eligible students annually of the above rights under the law ( 34 CFR 99.7). The Family Policy Compliance Office in the U.S. Department of Education has developed a model policy and model notification that will provide assistance to MEPs in drafting an appropriate FERPA policy.

Special MEP Considerations

Under 34 CFR 99.31(a)(3) and 99.35(a), FERPA permits the nonconsensual disclosure to authorized representatives of state and local education authorities ". . . for the enforcement of or compliance with Federal legal requirements which relate to [federally or state-supported education] programs."

Under section 1304(b)(3) of the ESEA, SEAs and their operating agencies have a requirement under the MEP to promote interstate and intrastate coordination of services, including the transfer of pertinent school records, for migratory children.

In implementing this MEP requirement, the nonconsensual disclosure of education records of migratory children, or personally identifiable information from these records, to authorized local and state education officials is permissible under FERPA.

Disclosures of such information to persons other than local and state education officials (i.e., to health officials) may be necessary for SEA and local operating agency officials to carry out their interstate or intrastate coordination responsibilities u nder the MEP. However, any such disclosures can be made only after obtaining prior written consent from the parent or eligible student.

Any questions about the requirements of FERPA or the applicability of FERPA to the MEP should be directed to:

Family Policy Compliance Office
U.S. Department of Education
600 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-4605
(202) 260-3887

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Last Modified: 05/15/2009