Federal requirements mandate that State Educational Agencies (SEAs) provide technical assistance to districts, as well as oversee and monitor the implementation of compliant ESEA and IDEA programs. These responsibilities are some of the primary works of the office of consolidated planning and monitoring (CPM) at the Tennessee Department of Education (department). In order to meet the state’s responsibility, CPM designed and implemented a three-tier framework for monitoring ESEA and IDEA programs beginning in 2016-17.
While the basic premise of monitoring is compliance-oriented, the department recognizes that compliance is a minimum requirement. In order to expand the focus, we engage with district and school staff throughout the process in order to ensure the effective implementation of programs that maximize outcomes for students. CPM regional consultants, state project directors, and other department staff members participate in on-site monitoring visits and engage in rich conversations with our district partners and other stakeholders. This comprehensive monitoring framework extends beyond focusing solely on minimum legal requirements to include dynamic components and analyses designed to address equity and improve student performance.
Our multi-tiered monitoring framework aligns with the department’s strategic plan, Tennessee Succeeds; this work has a particular emphasis on empowering districts and focusing on all students. Through the monitoring process, our team members engage in conversations with district and school personnel that go beyond minimum requirements to include an analysis for ensuring positive outcomes for Tennessee students. In addition, results from the monitoring visits highlight districts’ needs, inform our technical assistance, feature districts’ noteworthy items, and promising practices.
The multi-tiered monitoring framework includes three distinctive levels: on-site, desktop, and self-assessment. A risk analysis of approximately 60 factors results in a designation of significant, elevated, or low risk, which determines which districts will be monitored annually. Districts with a designation of significant risk will be monitored on site and those with elevated risk will participate in a desktop monitoring; both monitorings can result in findings of non-compliance. Districts demonstrating low risk must complete a required self-assessment of their programs each spring; while this report does not generate findings of non-compliance, it does inform our work and drives the technical assistance to our district partners.
In addition to results-based monitorings, our division also conducts the following types of monitoring: focus, IEP reviews, coordinated Early Intervening Services (CEIS), IDEA discretionary grants, juvenile detention centers, and more.