High Impact Use of Funds – The state of Montana has the responsibility to provide stronger support and technical assistance and support to districts to ensure federal funds are leveraged to achieve local goals. Although ESSA offers a broad menu for uses of funds, Montana recognized the following as high impact, evidence-based investments.
High Quality Professional Development – This includes the implementation of high-quality, personalized, evidence-based professional development for teachers, instructional leadership teams, principals, or other school leaders that is focused on improving teaching and student learning. This professional development must be sustained, personalized, and job-embedded initiatives that address identified needs gaps rather than stand-alone, one-day, or short-term professional development. ESSA states this professional development may include training teachers, principals, or other school leaders to do the following:
- Effectively integrate technology into curricula and instruction,
- Use data to improve student achievement (ensuring individual student privacy under FERPA),
- Effectively engage parents, families, and community partners and coordinate services between school and community,
- Help all students develop the essential skills for learning readiness and academic success,
- Develop policy with school, local educational agency, community, or State leaders, and
- Participate in opportunities for experiential learning through observation.
- The complete definition of professional development should be referenced to ensure the district is not using funds for stand-alone, one-day, or short-term professional development.
- Leadership – Leadership development for teacher leaders, principals, and other school leaders, to include:
- Professional development to improve leadership capacity;
- Leadership residency initiatives
- Leadership preparation academies
- Leadership mentoring
Research shows that strong school leaders have a powerful multiplier effect, dramatically improving the quality of teaching and raising student achievement in a school. Principals account for 25% of a school’s impact on student achievement, which is significant for a single individual. Moreover, 97% of teachers list school leadership as essential or very important for their career choices–more than any other factor. The bottom line: school improvement simply does not occur without strong leadership, particularly in underperforming schools.
Supplement, Not Supplant – Title II, Part A funds must only be used to provide additional services, staff, programs, or materials that are not provided with State or local resources absent federal funds; federal funds cannot pay for resources that would otherwise be purchased with State and/or local funds.
ESSA Use of Funds – The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) clearly outlines the allowable uses of Title II funds (Sec. 2101) outlined in each category below.
Evaluation/Support Systems – ESSA supports the development and improvement of a rigorous, transparent, and fair evaluation and support system for teachers, principals, or other school leaders that is based on evidence of student achievement and may include student growth. It should also include multiple measures of educator performance and provide clear, timely, and useful feedback to teachers, principals, or other school leaders.
Effective Teaching of English Language Learners – ESSA supports the development of programs and activities that increase the ability of teachers to effectively teach English language learners.
Effective Teaching of Children with Disabilities – ESSA supports the development of programs and activities that increase the ability of teachers to effectively teach children with disabilities, including children with significant cognitive disabilities. This may include the use of multi-tier systems of support and positive behavioral intervention and supports.
Increased Knowledge/Ability to Teach Early Childhood – ESSA promotes the development and use of programs and activities that may be geared toward increasing the knowledge base of teachers, principals, or other school leaders on instruction in the early grades and on strategies to measure whether young children are progressing. This may include increasing the ability of principals or other school leaders to support teachers, teacher leaders, early childhood educators, and other professionals to meet the needs of students through age eight, which may include providing joint professional learning and planning activities for school staff and educators in preschool programs that address the transition to elementary school.
Effective Instruction of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) – ESSA supports the development and provision of professional development and other comprehensive systems of support for teachers, principals, or other school leaders to promote high-quality instruction and instructional leadership in science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics, and computer science.
Implementation of Formative Assessments – ESSA supports the training, technical assistance, and capacity-building in LEAs to assist teachers, principals, or other school leaders with selecting and implementing formative assessments, designing classroom-based assessments, and using data from such assessments to improve instruction and student academic achievement, which may include providing additional time for teachers to review student data and respond.
Supporting Students Affected by Trauma and/or Mental Illness – ESSA supports the provision of in-service training for school personnel in techniques and support related to identifying and supporting students affected by trauma or mental illness, including the use of referral mechanisms, partnerships with outside organizations, or addressing school conditions for learning such as safety, peer interaction, drug and alcohol abuse, and chronic absenteeism.
Identification and Support of Gifted Students – ESSA supports the provision of training to identify students who are gifted and talented, including high ability students who have not been formally identified for gifted education services, and implementing instructional practices that support the education of such students, such as the following examples:
- Enrichment, acceleration, and curriculum compacting activities.
- Dual or concurrent enrollment programs in secondary schools and post-secondary education.
Instructional Services Provided by Libraries – ESSA supports professional development intended to improve the instructional services provided by effective school library programs.
Training to Recognize/Prevent Sexual Abuse – ESSA supports the provision of training for all school personnel, including teachers, principals, other school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, and paraprofessionals, regarding how to prevent and recognize child sexual abuse.
Feedback Mechanisms to Improve Working Conditions – ESSA supports the development of feedback mechanisms to improve school working conditions, including through periodically and publicly reporting results of educator support and working conditions feedback.
Career Readiness Education – ESSA supports training teachers, principals, or other school leaders on strategies to integrate rigorous academic content and provide effective career/technical education and work-based learning to help prepare students for post-secondary education and the workforce.
Recruiting/Retaining Effective Teachers – ESSA supports the development and implementation of initiatives to assist in recruiting, hiring, and retaining effective teachers, particularly in low-income schools with high percentages of ineffective teachers and high percentages of students who do not meet the challenging State academic standards, to improve within-LEA equity in the distribution of teachers, such as the following examples:
- Providing expert help in screening candidates and enabling early hiring.
- Offering differential and incentive pay for teachers, principals, or other school leaders in high need academic subject areas and specialty areas, which may include performance-based pay systems.
- Teacher, paraprofessional, principal, or other school leader advancement and professional growth, and an emphasis on leadership opportunities, multiple career paths, and pay differentiation.
- New teacher, principal, or other school leader induction and mentoring programs that are designed to improve classroom instruction, student learning and achievement, and increase the retention of effective teachers, principals, or other school leaders.
Recruiting Individuals from Other Fields – ESSA supports recruiting mid-career professionals from other occupations, former military personnel, and recent graduates of institutions of higher education with records of academic distinctions who demonstrate potential to become effective teachers, principals, or other school leaders.
Reducing Class Size – ESSA supports the use of Title II funds to reduce class size to a level that is evidence-based, to the extent the State (in consultation with LEAs) determines that such evidence is reasonably available, to improve student achievement through the recruiting and hiring of additional effective teachers.
Carrying Out Other Evidence-Based Activities – ESSA supports carrying out other activities that are evidence-based, to the extent the State (in consultation with LEAs) determines that such evidence is reasonably available and identified by the LEA that meet the purpose of Title II.