Giving Parents Options: Strategies for Informing Parents and Implementing Public School Choice And Supplemental Educational Services Under No Child Left Behind
September 2007
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Support from the SEA

State education agencies (SEAs) can be an invaluable resource for district notification efforts and can provide assistance in a variety of ways. For instance, SEAs can provide districts with sample notices that have been assessed for readability and address how best to present information to parents. SEAs can supply districts with checklists of items that need or ought to be included in parent notices. SEAs also can consider providing districts with other materials or holding technical assistance meetings that address elements of parent notification and notice writing. SEAs should be sure to provide any technical assistance in a timely fashion so that districts may fully reap the benefits.

With respect to SES, an SEA should ensure that districts have timely and adequate information on the providers it has approved to serve students so that the districts can inform parents of these providers' characteristics.

SEAs can further enhance implementation by ensuring that their monitoring of districts in this area is thorough. In addition to looking at whether district notices contain all the elements required by law, SEAs could assess notices on the qualitative bases described above (i.e. readability, presentation, delivery). An SEA should clearly communicate its monitoring protocols to districts and set forth expectations for parent notices well in advance of the start of the school year.

Making it work

When assisting districts in notifying parents, SEAs are strongly encouraged to engage their Parent Information and Resource Centers (PIRCs). Funded under No Child Left Behind, PIRCs assist local school districts and nonprofit organizations in implementing effective parental involvement policies, programs, and activities, and often work to help parents understand school and district accountability data and opportunities for public school choice and SES. PIRCs could be particularly effective partners in state efforts to develop and disseminate parent notification materials and resources.

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Last Modified: 08/18/2008