January 2020, Volume 6

New Year's Resolutions...Bah Humbug

Personally, I gave up on New Year's Resolutions when I turned 40. I figured four kids was enough stress and didn't need to add to it by making resolutions I knew would fall to the wayside, usually by January 2.

However, I did decide to set goals, both short- and long-term. Goals I've been able to get behind and achieve. What's the difference you may be asking? For me, a resolution was something to say I wanted to do without outlining any steps, a wish. A goal is something I can create steps to achieve--my progress monitoring--and continue moving forward until completed.

Just One Thing is a framework I've become interested in recently after hearing an interview on the radio and the Just One Thing philosophy was a point of discussion. Essentially my take away was it is committing to completing one important item each day, personal or professional, big or small, that when finished, anything else accomplished for the day is icing.

In the end, we should pick what will work for us individually, then stick with it. However you choose for you, I wish you luck in all you seek to achieve in 2020!

Here is what you'll find in this issue:

  • A New Year's Resolution Idea for Federal Programs Administrators
  • Upcoming 2020 Initial Consultation Meeting Tips and Tricks
  • School Year 2018-2019 Title I Distinguished School Awards
  • Title Con 20/20 Update
  • Upcoming 2020 Initial Non-public School Consultation Meeting Tips and Tricks
  • Important Upcoming Deadlines
  • Twitter Accounts to Follow
  • Links to other IDOE newsletters
  • Archived #INspirEDgrants

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Welcome to a new year!


A New Year’s Resolution Idea for Federal Program Administrators

The New Year is upon us and with it comes the joy of selecting a personal New Year’s resolution which will inspire the majority of us to live our best lives (for at least two-three weeks). If this sentiment resonates with you on a personal level, a professional New Year’s resolution may be for you! The possibilities for professional betterment those last 49-50 weeks of the year are endless! Because all resolutions are more likely to be kept when support is present, a collaborative endeavor is the most likely type of resolution to be successful.

How does the idea of a federal grants self-audit sound? A collective resolution to conduct a federal grants self-risk assessment is an excellent opportunity to enhance communication, team spirit, and ensure your federal grants procurement process operates like a well-oiled machine!

Tiffany Kesslar, Partner at Brustein & Manasevit, PLLC, suggests the following seven-step process.

Step 1: Identify Areas to Assess

An LEA will want to review prior audit/monitoring findings, ongoing corrective actions and other compliance areas that auditors will test. The most common audit violations arise from issues pertaining to Time & Effort, Supplanting, Untimely Obligations, and Unallowable Costs.

Step 2: Review Documentation

Once high risk areas have been selected, review all relevant documentation associated with said areas. Kesslar states, “A reviewer cannot reconstruct what has happened without documentation. An auditor or monitor has only documentation to tell the story.” Ask yourself, “What story does my documentation tell?” Are your policies and procedures clearly stated?

Step 3: Staff Interview

Identify staff relevant to those high risk areas. Consider program specific staff, procurement personnel, those responsible for inventory, and your accounting team.

Step 4: Identify Risk

Prioritize those identified areas of risk that are most likely to occur and have the highest impact. Just make sure not to ignore the lower risk, lower impact areas! Tiffany identifies the following as variables worth considering: personnel experience, lack of personnel, reorganization, new technology, new grants, change in laws or regulations, and/or lack of documentation.

Step 5: Mitigation / Corrective Action

If your self-audit reveals findings, draft your corrective action plan (CAP). Do not wait for an auditor, or monitoring team, to press the issue. An approvable CAP contains specific measurable objectives, timelines, and clear lines of responsibility. Be sure staff mentioned in a CAP are included in discussions and the drafting of the plan!

Step 6: Monitoring

Once a CAP is in place, monitor at regular intervals that align with CAP deadlines, or before any upcoming monitoring or audit visit. Are your CAP objectives being met or progressing? If not, revision is necessary!

Step 7: Repeat

Self assessment is the gift that keeps on giving year after year!

Happy New Year from your Indiana Department of Education Title Grants and Support Team!

Upcoming 2020 Initial Non-public School Consultation Meeting Tips and Tricks

First, and foremost, I want to take a moment to wish you a Happy New Year, as well as a warm welcome to 2020. With the beginning of a new year, so many new adventures and experiences await us, such as resolutions, goals, and the beginning of Title Services Consultation Season. I do want to remind you of the theme for this next year is the Five Ps of Partnerships between Local Education Agencies (LEAs) and Non-Public Schools (NPSs).

As we begin this new year, LEAs should begin to reach out to any and all NPSs located within their attendance boundaries as well as those NPSs with students living within their boundary, but attending a NPS outside of it. Even if a NPS has declined services in the past, LEAs are still required to reach out and offer the opportunity to partake in this year’s consultation; click this link for resources.

I have been hard at work creating and editing documents to better assist in this process. One of these edits has been to the Affirmation of Consultation Form, which will now be a two-part document to help in preparing for the Initial Consultation Meeting--it adds a Letter of Intent to the existing document.

LEAs will send the full document to all NPSs located within their attendance boundary as well as those NPSs located outside the LEA, which have students living within their boundaries. Form A, of the larger document, will be completed and returned to the LEA in a timely manner (roughly 30 days), which asks preliminary information, as well as a decision to accept or decline services; if declined, consultation need not occur. Form B will be completed in-person at the Initial Consultation Meeting, but provided ahead of time for reading. Form B is due when the Federal Grant Application is submitted, NPSs may decide to decline after Consultation.

Formal, face-to-face meetings occur in mid-spring, but communication should be consistent throughout the year. The relationship between an LEA and NPS is an equitable partnership, thus here are some friendly reminders:

  • It is the LEA’s responsibility to reach out to all NPSs within their district (and for Title I, for NPSs outside the boundary, but enroll children who live in the LEA).

    • If a NPS does not hear from a particular LEA, do reach out and establish a connection, but responsibility lands with the LEA.

  • An LEA cannot predetermine any services prior to Consultation; however, the final decision is made by the LEA.

  • Services must start at the same time as the LEA’s services; if not, the LEA must accommodate for this delay.

  • All private school Federal Grant funds must be obligated in the fiscal year for which they were received. For example, Title II, A funds released in 2019, the LEA needs to obligate all of the equitable services July 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020. The carryover year should only be used for the LEA’s portion of the funds.

  • Update any paperwork, such as contact lists, complaint processes, etc., to include any changes in staffing.

  • Update fiscal reports and communicate remaining funds to be used, trying to avoid carryover.

Enjoy the rest of your January and never hesitate to reach out for assistance. As a friendly reminder, get excited for TitleCon 2020 - Creating a Vision for the Future, scheduled for April 14-16, 2020 in Plainfield, Indiana.

Andrew Mazur

Equitable Services Ombudsman



Positive, Productive, Proactive, Prolonged and Polite Partnerships for Public and Non-Public Schools - A. Mazur

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Title Con 20/20 Update

Website is Live

The Title Con 20/20 website went live on Friday, December 20, 2019. The website is the place to find the most up-to-date information on the pre-conference workshops, conference, keynote speakers, and so much more. Please check back often as it updated as planning continues.

Keynote Speakers Announced

The planning committee is extremely pleased to have the following educational leaders joining us this year:

Registration is Opening

Registration will open on Friday, January 10, 2020. Due to demand, we are opening it earlier than anticipated.

All registrations will be done via EventBrite for the first time. You may request up to five registrations at a time. Once registered, you will receive an e-mail confirmation with your ticket. You will need to save, flag or print your ticket as you will need access to the QR code on the ticket when you check in at Title Con 20/20.

If you have any questions, please contact your Federal Grants Specialist.

Hotel Reservations

The Embassy Suites will continue to add rooms at the conference rate as more reservations are made. The hotel will only open a certain number for each block of rooms, which they consistently monitor.

To reserve rooms at the Embassy Suites Plainfield, please use the following information:

  • Group block is for the nights of April 13-15, 2020.
  • Reservations must be made no later than March 19, 2020 using the following group code.
  • The unique three-letter group code is IDC.
  • Guests may call 800-362-2779, or visit this link, to make reservations. If booking online, please hit the continue button near the bottom of the page to continue making the reservation.
  • You will need to reference the group name or code, and dates to book reservations.

Important Upcoming Dates

Title Con 20/20

  • Registration opens January 10, 2020

Desktop and Onsite Monitoring

  • Notifications sent out January 2020

Full Calendar of dates for Title Funds.

Twitter Accounts to Follow

IDOE Newsletters

Many IDOE departments provide informational newsletters that might be of interest to you. Here is a link to all the newsletters in one place.


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