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Summary of Changes to Parent & Family Engagement within Title I, Part A

By Kirsten Carlile, ESEA Program Specialist, ESEA Programs Office
Tuesday, November 22, 2016 - 10:43am

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) moves Section 1118, Parent Involvement, to Section 1116, now titled Parent and Family Engagement within Title I, Part A. Under ESSA, Section 1116, many of the program requirements and allowable activities remain the same, while placing a stronger emphasis on the need for districts and schools to more actively engage with parents and family members.

Overview and purpose of Title I, Part A, Section 1116 in ESSA

Title I, Part A helps to provide local educational agencies (LEAs) with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families with funds to help ensure that these students are receiving the same quality education as all students, helping them to meet challenging state academic standards. Engaging with parents, families and communities is one, important aspect of this program.  Schools and LEAs must actively engage the parents and families of Title I eligible students in the development of state and local education plans, school improvement plans as well as Title II, III, and IV plans and applications.

Title I Parent & Family Engagement Policy

Many of the requirements around the Parent and Family Engagement Policy remain the same under ESSA. Under Title I, Section 1116, each LEA and school must have a written parent and family engagement policy developed jointly with, agreed on with, and distributed to parents and family members of participating children. This policy will be incorporated into the LEA’s plan establishing the expectations and objectives for meaningful parent and family involvement. Additionally, each LEA must coordinate and integrate parent and family engagement strategies with other relevant Federal, State and local laws and programs.

LEAs may receive Title I funds under Section 1116 only if that LEA conducts outreach to all parents and family members and implements programs, activities and procedures for the involvement of parents and family members.  These programs, activities, and procedures shall be planned and implemented with meaningful consultation with parents of participation children.

 LEAs and schools may rely on parent groups already established, but only if they represent the demographics of the school and parents of at-risk students. Advocates for the intended beneficiaries of this program need to be included, even if they have not historically been partners. Additional outreach may be required to ensure involvement of the necessary parents and advocates: surveys, home visits, evening/weekend meetings, child care or child activities during meetings, interpreters, personal invitations, partnerships with community health centers, etc.

Language regarding community consultation was added to this part of Title I, Part A under ESSA: LEAS must provide the coordination, technical assistance, and other support necessary to build the capacity of all participating schools within the LEA in planning and implementing effective parent and family involvement activities to improve student academic achievement and school performance, which may include meaningful consultation with employers, business leaders, and philanthropic organizations, or individuals with expertise in effectively engaging parents and family members in education.

LEA Title I, Parent & Family Engagement Fiscal Requirements

Each LEA must reserve at least 1 % of Title I funds to carry out parent and family engagement activities. No less than 90% of those funds must be distributed to Title I schools, with priority given to high needs schools. LEA’s with a Title I allocation of $5,000 or less are exempt from this requirement. New, under ESSA, parent and family engagement funds should be used to carry out activities and strategies including not less than 1 of the following:

  • Supporting schools and nonprofit organizations in providing professional development for LEA and school personnel regarding parent and family engagement strategies, which may be provided jointly to teachers, principals, other school leaders, specialized instructional support personnel, paraprofessionals, early childhood educators, and parents and family members.
  • Supporting programs that reach parents and family members at home, in the community and at school.
  • Disseminating information on best practices focused on parent and family engagement, especially best practices for increasing the engagement of economically disadvantaged parents and family members.
  • Collaborating, or providing sub grants to schools to enable such schools to collaborate, with community-based or other organizations or employers with a record of success in improving and increasing parent and family engagements.
  • Engaging in any other activities and strategies that the local educational agency determines are appropriate and consistent with the LEA’s parent and family engagement policy.

A ‘Promising Practices in Family and Community Partnerships’ webinar was presented on February 11, 2016. The beginning of this webinar outlines the changes to the Title I, Part A Parent and Family Engagement section under ESSA. To view webinar recording and power point, please visit: