Helping California Establish Cross-Program Efficiencies and Clarity in Federal Program Monitoring

“We are evaluating the FPM process and putting new spins on it. Kudos to the flexibility on CA CC’s part in working with us at CDE. We are continually evaluating our process and going deeper to come out with some clear substantive goals and conclusions that can guide change in practice. Thank them for keeping us on track.”

— Staff member, California Department of Education

Goal

The California Department of Education (CDE) conducts Federal Program Monitoring (FPM) of the implementation of categorical programs operated by local educational agencies (LEAs), as required by Federal and State law and regulations. Through the FPM process, the CDE reviews a variety of programs including, but not limited to, Title I, Title II, Title III, Physical Education, Before and After School, Migrant Education, and Adult Education.

This process is extensive and time-consuming: a typical review involves an average of five to six programs; 30 days of preparation before the review; five days to conduct the review; and additional time to provide compliance assistance to resolve any findings incurred during the FPM review. The entire process of an FPM review from start to finish can take several months and involves several CDE staff members. Over the last decade, the CA CC has assisted CDE to move the FPM process to an online system for CDE and LEA staff, and recently to transition to a new, updated online statewide system. To further facilitate CDE’s effectiveness and reduce duplication of efforts for LEAs, CA CC has worked with CDE FPM staff to organize and lead a cross-agency stakeholder group to identify opportunities, and design and implement changes that address efficiency and coordination issues and needs within the FPM system. Changes include updates to processes and procedures, program instruments, especially item descriptions and instructions, as well as related evidence requests from CDE/FPM staff and LEAs engaged in the system.

Technical Assistance Activities

A series of stakeholder group work sessions has led to programs identifying duplications of evidence requests, clarifying and implementing common terminology and descriptions across instruments, improving monitoring process training for CDE and LEA staff, collecting and analyzing feedback from LEAs about the review process, and identifying possible solutions to resolution process delays and opportunities for coordination among programs.

Impact

  • The CDE cross-agency and stakeholder work will produce streamlined instruments for LEAs, resulting in information accuracy from less time to respond to items, less confusion, less redundancy, and an overall greater understanding of the accountability process.
  • CDE program offices will increase the levels of clarity in communications, and consistency in determining compliance.
  • CDE and LEAs can ensure that federal dollars are used appropriately to address the needs of identified students in successfully meeting college and career-ready goals.