CFDA Number: 84.310A
Program Type: Discretionary/Competitive Grants
Also Known As: PIRCs
Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs) help implement successful and effective parental involvement policies, programs, and activities that lead to improvements in student academic achievement and that strengthen partnerships among parents, teachers, principals, administrators, and other school personnel in meeting the education needs of children. Sec. 5563 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) requires the recipients of PIRC grants to: serve both rural and urban areas; use at least half their funds to serve areas with high concentrations of low-income children; and use at least 30 percent of the funds they receive for early childhood parent programs.
TYPES OF PROJECTS
Centers must include activities that establish, expand, or operate early childhood parent education programs and typically engage in a variety of technical assistance activities designed to improve student academic achievement, including understanding the accountability systems in the state and school districts being served by a project. Specific activities often include helping parents to understand the data that accountability systems make available to parents and the significance of that data for such things as opportunities for supplemental services and public school choice afforded to their children under Sec. 1116 of the ESEA. Projects assist parents to communicate effectively with teachers, principals, counselors, administrators, and other school personnel; and help parents become active participants in the development, implementation, and review of school improvement plans. Additionally, projects generally develop resource materials and provide information about high quality family involvement programs to families, schools, school districts, and others through conferences, workshops, and dissemination of materials. Projects generally include a focus on serving parents of low-income, minority, and limited English proficient (LEP) children enrolled in elementary and secondary schools.
The Parental Information and Resource Center (PIRC) program provides resources that grantees can use in pursuit of the objectives of the No Child Left Behind Act. In particular, this program provides an opportunity for grantees to focus on assisting the parents of children who attend schools identified for improvement, corrective action, or restructuring under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
The PIRC program supports school-based and school-linked parental information and resource centers that (1) help implement effective parental involvement policies, programs, and activities that will improve children's academic achievement; (2) develop and strengthen partnerships among parents (including parents of children from birth through age five), teachers, principals, administrators, and other school personnel in meeting the educational needs of children; (3) develop and strengthen the relationship between parents and their children's school; (4) further the developmental progress of children assisted under the program; (5) coordinate activities funded under the program with parental involvement initiatives funded under section 1118 and other provisions of the ESEA; and (6) provide a comprehensive approach to improving student learning, through coordination and integration of Federal, State, and local services and programs.
Funds for this program may be used to: (1) assist parents in helping their children to meet state and local standards; (2) obtain information about the range of programs, services, and resources available nationally and locally for parents and school personnel who work with parents; (3) help parents use the technology applied in their children's education; (4) plan, implement, and fund activities for parents that coordinate the education of their children with other programs that serve their children and families; (5) provide support for state or local educational personnel if their participation will contribute to the grant's activities; and (6) coordinate and integrate early childhood programs with programs for school-aged children.
The statute requires that grantees use at least 50 percent of the funds received under a grant to serve areas with high concentrations of low-income families, in order to serve parents who are severely educationally or economically disadvantaged; and use a minimum of 30 percent of their awards to establish, expand, or operate early childhood parent education programs (Parents as Teachers, Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters, or another early childhood parent education program).