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Federal Programs Monitoring
Monitoring the use of Federal funds has long been an essential function of the Colorado Department of Education (CDE). CDE is committed to collaborating with local educational agencies (LEAs, including BOCES) to use the monitoring process as an opportunity to move beyond compliance and focus on what matters most – improving outcomes for students through implementation of effective practices. CDE aims to help schools and districts understand the requirements associated with accepting federal funds, develop the ability to self-assess against grant requirements, and best utilize these grant funds to improve services for students. Monitoring is an opportunity to identify the technical assistance and support LEAs need to leverage federal funds in support of better outcomes for all students.
Therefore, in addition to meeting statutory requirements for ESSER compliance, Colorado’s monitoring vision and mission include:
- Identifying and highlighting LEA areas of strength and effective implementation;
- Collaborating with LEAs to implement effective programs and practices to improve outcomes for students; and
- Identifying, disseminating, and learning from exemplary practices within Colorado.
Monitoring also formalizes the integral relationship between CDE and Colorado LEAs in implementing effective programs using Federal funds. It emphasizes, first and foremost, accountability for using resources to educate and prepare the nation’s students. A set of clear monitoring indicators clarifies for LEAs, and CDE monitoring personnel, the critical components of this accountability and provides a standard against which LEA policies, practices, and procedures can be measured. Monitoring enables CDE to gather accurate data about LEA and local needs, and use that data to design technical assistance initiatives and leadership activities. Thus, monitoring serves as a vehicle to help LEAs achieve high-quality implementation of educational programs and enable CDE to better advise and partner with LEAs in that effort.
CDE’s vision for monitoring is to help build awareness of the requirements associated with accepting federal funds, capacity to self-assess against the requirements of the grants, and enhance understanding of how school districts and BOCES can best utilize grant funding to improve services for students. Monitoring is an opportunity to identify LEAs’ effective practices already in place, identify technical assistance and support needs, and leverage Federal funds in support of better outcomes for all students.
With this in mind, CDE has designed the monitoring system to accomplish the following objectives:
- Focus on What Matters by ensuring LEAs are making progress toward increased student achievement and improved quality of instruction for all students through effective implementation of Federal programs;
- Reduce Burden on LEAs by combining and streamlining monitoring protocols for federally-funded programs and prioritizing LEAs selected to participate in the process based on a set of performance, fiscal, programmatic, and administrative selection criteria;
- Improve Communication with LEAs by strengthening their constructive partnerships with CDE through continuous feedback and assessment of the CDE monitoring resources, process, and system;
- Differentiate and Customize Support for LEAs by using the monitoring system to identify technical assistance to support LEA needs as well as areas in which LEAs are making progress or implementing exemplary programs, and can serve as a model or resource for other LEAs; and
- Ensure Basic Requirements Are Met by reviewing program and fiscal requirements, to safeguard public funds from waste, fraud, and abuse.
The responsibility for monitoring resides with CDE, mandated by ESEA statute, CARES Act, CRSSA Act, ARP Act, and Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards regulations, to assess program implementation.
CDE has worked with the Monitoring Stakeholders Workgroup, the ESSA Committee of Practitioners (CoP), and Regional Network Meeting attendees to develop a comprehensive program requirements document for use in Federal Programs monitoring. The program requirements are currently divided in three main categories:
- Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement
- Identification and Delivery of Services
- Fiscal Requirements
The program requirement, also known as the indicator, represents the statutory or regulatory requirement that must be monitored. CDE has outlined criteria for demonstrating compliance and created a list of examples of evidence that LEAs may collect or maintain to demonstrate compliance with each requirement. The lists are not exhaustive and not all of the listed documents have to be submitted. An LEA may choose to demonstrate compliance based on other processes or documents that pertain to the individual LEA. It is up to the LEA to determine what evidence best demonstrates compliance. Any given evidence could demonstrate compliance on multiple indicators. In such cases, it is only necessary to submit the evidence once.
ESEA Senior Consultant: Title IV