Frequently Asked Questions
This page contains the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) by SIG participants. Click on the question to see the answer. If you have additional questions or need clarification, please do not hesitate to contact our office.
RESOURCES (Go to Top)
RQ1: Can we have the SIG Kick-Off Powerpoint?
A: Yes, you can download it here. If you would like something customized for your school, please contact Darlene Torres, SIG Support Specialist, (213) 241-4829.
RQ2: Where can I find the contact info for the SIG staff?
A: To see our contact info, please go to the home page of our website: https://achieve.lausd.net/Page/12858
RQ3: What is the CDE’s website for SIG?
RQ4: Where can I find the SIG Federal Guidance?
ACCOUNTABILITY (Go to Top)
A: SIG has district, state, and federal reporting requirements similar to other federal programs. Just so schools are not overwhelmed, we will send out notices as needed. However, please keep in mind the following program evaluation requirements:
RFA ► Reporting and Accountability Requirements ► D. Program Evaluation
All SIG recipients will be responsible for fulfilling the following program evaluation requirements:
i. Report annual accountability data to the CDE including, but not limited t
a. Fiscal information on the use of grant funds provided under ESEA Section 1003(g).
b. Measures to demonstrate implementation of the research- and evidence-based strategies identified in the sub-grant application.
c. The number and percentage of students who score proficient in reading/language arts and mathematics, as measured by the state’s annual assessments, both overall in the LEA and for each school receiving funds through this application.
In lieu of California Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) scores, LEAs and schools should use multiple local measures to evaluate how SIG goals are being met. These local measures may include, but are not limited to, the following: district ELA, math and other subject benchmark assessments; curriculum-imbedded assessments; performance measures imbedded in supplemental technology-based instructional programs and applications; local pilot measures for Common Core standards being implemented in classrooms; and other valid and reliable assessments of reading acquisition skills, writing skills, and math skills, and meaningful performance assessments of student learning. This may include other State assessments, where available, such as the Smarter Balanced interim assessments.
ii. Respond to any specific data requests from the ED.
iii. Utilize annual student achievement goals and student achievement data to evaluate the effectiveness of improvement strategies identified in the SIG sub-grant application for purposes of local monitoring and continuous improvement efforts.
iv. In addition, the CDE will review the performance of participating schools on the nine leading indicators identified by ED in SIG Guidance on the ED Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/legislation.html (see the 9 indicators below)
For those indicators for which the CDE does not currently collect data, the CDE will require that funded LEAs include this information in their annual reports for this program if applicable. Refer to SIG Guidance on the ED Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/legislation.html (Outside Source) for a complete listing of metrics and indicators.
AQ2: What are the 9 indicators? (Go to Top)
As mentioned, schools will be held accountable to the 9 indicators as well as student achievement in ELA and Math. See Federal Guidance below:
Federal Guidance ► H-27. What are the leading indicators that will be used to hold schools receiving SIG funds accountable?
The following metrics constitute the leading indicators for the SIG program:
- Number of minutes within the school year;
- Student participation rate on State assessments in reading/language arts and in mathematics, by student subgroup;
- Dropout rate;
- Student attendance rate;
- Number and percentage of students completing advanced coursework (e.g., AP/IB), early-college high schools, or dual enrollment classes;
- Discipline incidents;
- Distribution of teachers by performance level on an LEA’s teacher evaluation system; and
- Teacher attendance rate.
See section III.A of the final requirements.
The following reporting metrics are new for the SIG program and must be annually reported by school in each SEA receiving a SIG grant:
- Which intervention the school used (i.e., turnaround, restart, school closure, or transformation);
- Number of minutes within the school year;
- Average scale scores on State assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics, by grade, for the “all students” group, for each achievement quartile, and for each subgroup;
- Number and percentage of students completing advanced coursework (e.g., AP/IB), early-college high schools, or dual enrollment classes; and
- Teacher attendance rate.
An LEA must monitor each Tier I and Tier II school that receives SIG funds to determine whether the school:
(1) Is meeting annual goals established by the LEA for student achievement on the State’s ESEA assessments in both reading/language arts and mathematics; and
(2) Is making progress on the leading indicators described in the final requirements.
See section II.A.8 of the final requirements.
An LEA must establish annual goals for student achievement on the State’s ESEA assessments in both reading/language arts and mathematics that it will use to monitor each Tier I and Tier II school that receives SIG funds. See section II.A.8 of the final requirements. Annual goals that an LEA could set might include making at least one year’s progress in reading/language arts and mathematics; reducing the percentage of students who are non-proficient on the State’s reading/language arts and mathematics assessments by 10 percent or more from the prior year; or meeting the goals the State establishes in its Race to the Top application.
Note that the determination of whether a school meets the goals for student achievement established by the LEA is in addition to the determination of whether the school makes AYP as required by section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA. In other words, each LEA receiving SIG funds must monitor the Tier I and Tier II schools it is serving to determine whether they have met the LEA’s annual goals for student achievement and must also comply with its obligations for making accountability determinations under section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA.
Further, note that the LEA should establish annual goals to cover all three years of implementation of the school intervention model, even if the second and third years will be funded out of continuation grants. (Modified for FY 2010 Guidance)
AQ3: Supplanting vs supplementing? (Go to Top)
SIG funding shall be used to support school improvement efforts by LEAs and their eligible schools funded by this sub-grant process. Sub-grant funds may be used for staff salaries, materials, services, training, equipment, supplies, evaluation, facilities, or other purposes, except as specifically limited by all applicable legal requirements including all regulations or statutes or by the SEA. Each eligible LEA that receives an award may use the funds to carry out activities that advance the SIG sub-grant priorities. Sub-grantees may only use sub-grant funds for their intended purposes. Any funds provided to LEAs for pre-implementation will be counted as part of their first year SIG award.
The SIG funds must supplement, not supplant, existing services and may not be used to supplant federal, state, local, or nonfederal funds. Programs may not use SIG funds to pay for existing levels of service funded from any other source. An LEA that commits to serve one or more Tier I, Tier II, or Tier III schools that do not receive Title I, Part A funds must ensure that each of those schools receives all of the state and local funds it would have received in the absence of the SIG funds. SIG funds may not be used for new construction, most transportation, class size reduction, or purchases not directly related to any components in the models. Please refer to Section I of the FY 2011 SIG Guidance on the Ed Web site at http://www2.ed.gov/programs/sif/legislation.html (Outside Source) for further information on allowable use of SIG funds.
AQ4: Where can we get clarification on the requirements for the restart model? (Go to Top)
A: The requirements for the restart model (and other models) are outlined in each school’s implementation plan. The State and the Feds will also hold you accountable to the metrics and indicators mentioned earlier, as well as the usual reporting requirements for federal programs.
BUDGET (Go to Top)
A: The approval rate is quite high because our office works closely with school sites to determine if the request is allowable, and the CDE also provides guidance on the requests and will ask for more information if needed.
A: We are still waiting for the final versions of the budgets forms. The spreadsheet posted on the CDE website is for pre-implementation. We will keep you posted.
Any revision to the plan must be consistent and in line with the initial intent of the approved plan. Also, a budget revision request is needed for any transfer of funds, regardless of the amount.
To request a budget revision, you must write a letter addressed to the CDE explaining the following:
- The reasons why the proposed change is needed
- How the proposed changes enhance the intent of the grant - i.e. improved student achievement
- Where the proposed additional funding is coming from, and how the reduction or elimination will not affect the intent of the grant in a negative fashion.
- How the proposed services fit in with the school's overall SIG plan.
For detailed information about the budget revision process, please go to the CDE SIG website and scroll towards the bottom. Also, let us know if you would like to see a sample letter.
Once you have completed the letter, please email it to our office (firstname.lastname@example.org) along with your revised budget narrative and implementation plan. Use
strikethroughto note deletions and then highlight any additions to the budget narrative and implementation plan. We will give you feedback and, if all is well, we'll forward your request to the CDE for further approval.
INCREASED LEARNING TIME (Go to Top)
A: Schools can decide the amount that is best for their program, however the Federal guidance recommends an additional 300 hours per year. To be competitive in this application process, your ILT should be substantial enough to impact student learning. Adding 5 minutes to each period, for example, is allowable but would not be looked upon favorably.
A: Our office can review your bell schedule and we can also get guidance from our CDE contact as needed.
IQ3: How have the cohort 1 schools structured their ILT and what models are being used around the country? (Go to Top)
A: To see a list of all SIG schools (cohort 1 and 2) and their ILT structures, please click here.
Please keep in mind that CDE and DOE have further defined the ILT requirements for cohort 2 schools so the cohort 1 models may not apply. Also, to learn about ILT models around the country, please see our ILT resource page. Here are some examples of ILT in action:
LAUSD Schools Level Additional Minutes Structure Carver MS Middle 42 min daily
- Carver Middle School added a 52-minute 7th period daily to provide intervention (this year they focused on Math, next year will be Language Arts ) to FBB and BB students.
- Enrichment was provided in the same period for those not needing intervention.
Gardena HS High 30 min daily
- Gardena High School extended the school day by 30-minutes a day. During this 30-minute block, teachers use Kaplan Test Taking Strategies curriculum to address vocabulary development, critical thinking, improvement in literacy, and those test taking strategies that address prioritizing and time management.
- School –Connect Curriculum has been implemented during the 30-minute advisory period. This advisory period provides the personalization needed to address individual students in the areas of test taking strategies, personal and academic guidance, positive behavior, college and career awareness, goal setting, self discipline and developing academic language skills. Small Learning Community (SLC) Lead Teachers and volunteers within each SLC focus on establishing guidelines and common practices for the advisory period to meet the needs of the students.
Maywood Academy High 60 min daily
- For the start of the 2011-2012 year, an additional sixty minute instructional period was added. This additional period (seventh period) was designed to provide additional instruction in English Language Arts and Mathematics in Grade 9. This intervention strategy will address the instructional needs of students performing below proficiency on CST and provide an opportunity to prepare for the CAHSEE. In grades 10-12 students were programmed into courses where they were deficient graduation credits.
- During the additional sixty minute seventh period, students in Grades 9-12 are provided with access to enrichment courses to assure that they will be on track with A-G credits and passage of the CAHSEE. Students current with credits and passage of CAHSEE are also provided with enrichment through courses that include Music, Sociology, Psychology and access to on and off site college course work.
- Opportunities for teacher collaboration will be enhanced through the use of unassigned days and extended hours for professional development. Professional development is content specific and will additionally support the departments and three Small Learning Communities. The extended collaboration time will address the development of refined curricular maps, formative assessments and targeted lesson plans. Additional District designed professional development will be implemented in support of the “teacher effectiveness” model.
IQ4: How is ILT defined in SIG? (Go to Top)
RFA: ► Program Guidelines ► B. Increased Learning Time (ILT) Guidelines for SIG
ILT means using a longer school day, week, or year schedule to significantly increase the total number of school hours to include additional time for:
- instruction in core academic subjects including English, reading or language arts, mathematics, science, foreign languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography.
- instruction in other subjects and enrichment activities that contribute to a well-rounded education, including, for example, physical education, service learning, and experiential and work-based learning opportunities that are provided by partnering, as appropriate, with other organizations; and
- teachers to collaborate, plan, and engage in professional development within and across grades and subjects.
The definition indicates that the ILT should occur in each of the three areas.
The ED provides further guidance on ILT in its Education Data Exchange Network (EDEN) N167—SIG File. Specifications for submission of the SIG leading indicators are available as a Web document located at https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fo/r16/documents/sig3rfa.doc. The EDEN Submission System is an electronic system that facilitates the efficient and timely transmission of data from SEA to the ED. The data collected using this file specification are used to monitor and report performance on the SIG program. (Note: The “Inactive” watermark on this guidance means that data files cannot be submitted at this time; however, the guidance contained within the specifications has been finalized and approved by ED.) The guidance states:
What constitutes “all students had the opportunity to participate?”
All students had the opportunity to participate if there was no selection process for the activity. For example, an afterschool program available only to a subset of students in the school, such as those who are failing a course, would not be included.
Are minutes from an activity that was not available to all students included?
No, minutes are included only when the activity was available to all students.
Increased Learning Time
Increases should be reported relative to the prior school year.
All students must have the opportunity to participate in the ILT; it must occur in core, enrichment, and teacher collaboration; and it must represent an increase relative to the prior SY, which is 2009–10 for Cohort 1.
Question E-12 from the SIG Guidance also states that ILT is more closely focused on increasing the number of instructional minutes in the school day or days in the school year.
With respect to extending learning into before- and after-school hours, Question A-32 in the SIG Guidance states:
Extending learning into before- and after-school hours can be difficult to implement effectively, but is permissible under this definition, although the Department encourages LEAs to closely integrate and coordinate academic work between in school and out of school. To satisfy the requirements in Section I.A.2(a)(1)(viii) of the turnaround model and Section I.A.2(d)(3)(i)(A) of the transformation model for providing ILT, a before- or after-school instructional program must be available to all students in the school.
An afterschool program is available only to a subset of students in the school, such as those who are failing a course, would not be a form of ILT.
With respect to a minimum amount of ILT, Question A-32d in the SIG Guidance states:
Although research supports the effectiveness of increasing learning time by a minimum of 300 hours, the final requirements do not require that an LEA implementing either the turnaround model or the transformation model necessarily provide at least 300 hours of ILT. An LEA has the flexibility to determine precisely how to meet the requirement to establish schedules that provide ILT, and should do so with an eye toward the goal of increasing learning time enough to have a meaningful impact on the academic program in which the model is being implemented.
IQ5: I did not know CDE does not want us to use the term “advisory.” Why? What do you suggest? (Go to Top)
A: Advisory is a permissible activity but is considered part of creating community-oriented schools rather than increasing core instruction or intervention/enrichment time. Please contact Shelley Loftus from our office if you're not sure how to move forward with your ILT plan.
RFA: ► Program Guidelines ► A. School Improvement Strategies ► ii. Transformation Model ► d. Creating Community-Oriented Schools
- Provide ongoing mechanisms for family and community engagement.
- Partnering with parents and parent organizations, faith- and community-based organizations, health clinics, other state or local agencies, and others to create safe school environments that meet students’ social, emotional, and health needs.
- Extending or restructuring the school day so as to add time for such strategies as advisory periods that build relationships between students, faculty, and other school staff.
- Implementing approaches to improve school climate and discipline, such as implementing a system of positive behavioral supports or taking steps to eliminate bullying and student harassment.
PREPARING FOR SIG (Go to Top)
A: One of the key lessons we learned from cohort 1 is that for the SIG to be effective, all stakeholders need to understand the intent and benefits of the grant in addition to the added responsibilities. Each school is different so if you want some help thinking about a communication plan, we will gladly assist.
A: The same procedure as for regular payroll except using the SIG funding line. If you have any questions, please contact Gina Falcon, our administrative assistant.