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WFIS reached out to Julie Chace, Program Specialist at OSPI to ask what private schools should expect from the districts with changes in the ESSA.  

In addition, to Julie’s responses to our questions that immediately follow, she shared an outline of the responsibilities of the new “Private Schools Unit” at OSPI below.  

WFIS: What will be different for private schools in the interactions with districts?

  • Private schools should expect open two-way communication with districts with the goal of reaching an agreement on how to provide equitable and effective programs for eligible private school children.
  • Districts should use the updated Affirmation of Consultation form for 2017–18, that now provides private schools an opportunity to indicate their belief that timely and meaningful consultation DID NOT occur, or that the program design is not equitable with respect to eligible private school children. Districts must submit this document to OSPI. One Affirmation of Consultation form is used to reflect that consultation has resulted with all the ESSA programs and Perkins the private school has indicated they wish to participate in.
  • There is a new tool available for Title I, Part A equitable services that serves as a record of the agreed upon services as a result of the consultation between private schools and districts. This tool includes detailed scope and sequence information about the equitable services agreed upon by both the district and private school. Districts must submit this document to OSPI.
  • Districts’ ESSA program applications will not be approved for access to funds until an Affirmation of Consultation is submitted for each participating private school within the district’s boundaries.
  • Districts are now required to report to the state the amount of funds for each federal program the private school will participation in. Private schools will be able to view these amounts in the Private Participation in Federal Programs application in EDS.

WFIS: What do you, as the Ombuds, need the private schools to do to help with the Title Funds distribution process?

Districts require private school student enrollment data to complete two steps that determine the level of Title I, Part A equitable services.

  1. First, the district must identify if private school students will generate an amount to fund equitable services by identifying the number of low-income private school students who would have attended a Title I public school, if not in the private school.
  2. Second, the district must identify who will receive equitable services based on all students who would have attended a Title I public school, if not in the private school, and based on the students’ academic needs.

Private schools can help expedite the determination and delivery of Title I, Part A equitable services for eligible private school students for the 2017–18 school year by completing the following.

  1. Identify the private school low-income students by completion of a family income survey or an approved identification method agreed upon by both the district and the private school. Data should be reflective of 2016–17 school year student enrollment.
  2. Identify private school student addresses. Include students who reside within the boundaries of the district, and from other school districts. To ensure all eligible students are identified, reach out to your resident district to let them know you have students from other districts to assist you with the contact with outside districts.

WFIS: How are you available to help the schools?

See the Private Schools Unit details outlined below.  Our office will directly email private schools as information and procedures are updated.  OSPI is also in the process of updating our website to reflect the most up-to-date information and resources on private school participation in federal programs.

OSPI’s Private Schools Unit for Federal ESEA Programs

Since the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in 1965, school districts have been required to provide equitable services to private school students, teachers, and in some cases, other education personnel, and parents under a number of ESEA programs. OSPI is establishing a Private Schools Unit to support the work of federal ESEA programs. This unit will include the responsibilities of the Ombuds detailed in ESEA, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

The unit will consist of a team of two people: Julie Chace and Mary Jo Johnson. This team approach allows for more consistent coverage and responsiveness to the needs of private schools and districts.

OSPI Private Schools Unit will be responsible for:

• Serving as the initial point of contact for questions and concerns regarding equitable services for Federal ESEA programs. This includes:

o Title I, Part A

o Title I, Part C

o Title II, Part A

o Title III, Part A

o Title IV, Part A (not yet funded)

o Title IV, Part B 21st Century

• Offering up-to-date technical assistance on the consultation process for districts and private schools, including the written Affirmation of Consultation forms (all federal ESEA programs) and the Record of Agreed Upon Services for Title I, Part A Equitable Services.

• Disseminating relevant federal program communications and information to private schools and districts throughout the year.

• Serving as an ESEA Federal Program liaison for private schools through communication with OSPI’s Private Schools Advisory Council, Washington Federation of Independent Schools, and the Archdioceses of Seattle and Spokane.

• Coordinating the process for completing the Private Participation in Federal Programs application in EDS, including training. The application includes:

o Private Schools intent to participate in federal programs.

o The district’s log of contact with private schools regarding their intent to participate.

o The submittal of Affirmation of Consultation (all federal ESEA programs) and the Record of Agreed Upon Services for Title I, Part A Equitable Services.