May 26, 2017


Community Superintendents


High School Superintendents


Field Support Center Teams


School Principals



Raymond J. Orlando, Chief Financial Officer



Priority and Focus School Allocations


This memorandum provides funding for Priority and Focus schools.


Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, effective school year 2017-2018. Allocations of federal dollars must utilize funding methodologies mandated by the reauthorization.


Note all federal funding issued in FY 2018 is preliminary and subject to final allocation by the New York State Education Department (NYSED).


ESEA Flexibility Waiver

In FY 2013, the NYSED received a waiver granting schools in New York State additional flexibility with regard to the use of Title I funds.  The USDE approved New York State's ESEA flexibility renewal request for the 2016-2017 through 2018-2019 school years.  However, due to the enactment of ESSA, NYSED will be issuing guidance to transition from the provisions of the approved ESEA Flexibility Waiver to the new ESSA. This means that any identified Focus Districts are required to continue the implementation of interventions applicable to priority and focus schools during the 2017-2018 school year.


Allocation and Requirements

As per the ESEA Flexibility waiver, funds are to be reserved for Priority and Focus schools in support of allowable programs and activities approved by NYSED.  The Title I reserve is based on the Title I borough appropriation, the number of identified schools in need of improvement as per NYSED’s March 2017 accountability designation, and the resulting borough percentages (ranging from 5% to 7%).  For FY 2018, all five boroughs are identified as having a need under the new regulation, and the per capita for each borough is as follows.







Staten Island

Per Capita







Reserves for non-Title I Priority and Focus schools will be based on their poverty count as per the Title I student data in School Allocation Memorandum (SAM) #08, and the above borough per capita.

The allocation must support programs and activities detailed in the School Comprehensive Educational Plan (SCEP), and the allowable activities that appear in Appendix A.  Schools will also need to identify the allowable activities with each item scheduled in Galaxy, as indicated below.


School Comprehensive Educational Plan (SCEP)

All Priority and Focus Schools are required to develop a School Comprehensive Educational Plan (SCEP). The SCEP is aligned with the Framework for Great Schools and the NYSED Diagnostic Tool for School and District Effectiveness (DTSDE), and will inform the District Comprehensive Improvement Plan (DCIP).


The required school plans should be based on the findings and recommendations contained in the most recent NYSED Integrated Intervention Team (IIT) Review, NYCDOE Quality Review, Central Led Review (CLR), School Self-Reflection (SSR), and other needs assessments.


Parent Education (formerly Parent Engagement)

NYSED has updated the terminology for “parent engagement” to “parent education.”  The list of parent education allowable activities is the same as last year, and the list is included in the attached appendix under the Framework for Greater Schools: Strong Family-Community Ties (with DTSDE Tenet SOP References).


Priority and Focus schools will receive an additional Title I allocation for parent education activities. The set-aside is in addition to the parent involvement set-aside included in Title I SAM No. 08.  The primary objective of this additional set aside is to enable greater and more meaningful parent participation in the education of their children. NYSED, in consultation with the New York Comprehensive Technical Assistance Center, has identified Partnership Standards for School and Families which are aligned with the National PTA Standards for effective parent engagement.  Based on these consultations, NYSED has created a menu of allowable activities to meet the set-aside requirements, which focus on: 

·         Fostering Communication:

School and families engage in an open exchange of information regarding student progress, school-wide goals and the SCEP, and support activities.

·         Encouraging Parent Involvement:

Parents have diverse and meaningful roles in the school community and their children’s achievement.

·         Creating Welcoming Schools:

Creating a welcoming, positive school climate with the commitment of the entire school community.

·         Partnering for School Achievement:

Schools engage families in setting high expectations for students and actively partners with parents to prepare students for their next level.

·         Collaborating Effectively:

School community works together to make decisions about the academic and personal growth of students through school-wide goals.  Schools foster collaborations with community-based organizations to create a vibrant, fulfilling environment for students and families.


These Partnership Standards are also consistent with the sixth tenet of Family and Community Engagement of the DTSDE and the Framework for Great Schools Element for Strong Family and Community Ties.


For FY 2018, NYSED has determined that the provision under the ESEA Flexibility Waiver of using other resources to meet mandated set asides does not apply to the parent education reserve.  As a result, Title I Priority and Focus schools will receive a parent education allocation based on the amount of the DOE parent education set-aside requirement, which has its own county per capita, and the Title I weighted student count.







Staten Island

Per Capita







Non-Title I Priority and Focus schools will receive the same per capita through tax levy funds.  Since the allocation will be distributed to only the 292 identified schools, the reserve requirement is larger than the 1% Title I parent involvement allocation provided via Title I SAM #08.


Parent education funds must be scheduled and expended exclusively for parent education services.  Only the following titles are allowed for scheduling:


Object/Line Code



Parent Involvement (489)


Local travel


Pupil Transportation


Teacher Per Session


Bulk School Aide Per Session


Public School Choice

School districts must provide all students in identified Priority schools with the option to transfer to another public school in good standing, and provide/pay for transportation to the receiving schools.  A child who transfers may remain in the receiving school until the child has completed the highest grade in that school.


Expanded Learning Time (ELT)

Consistent with its approved ESEA Flexibility Waiver, NYSED requires that Priority Schools offer a minimum of 200 additional student contact hours as ELT in addition to the current mandated length of 900 hours of instruction per year (25 hours per week) in grades K-6, and 990 hours of instruction per year (27.5 hours per week) in grades 7-12. NYSED describes ELT activities as enriching educational experiences that happen outside of the traditional class­room and blend skill acquisition, relationship building and fun to foster academic and social-emotional growth in students. Summer learning, afterschool programming, and extended-day ELT models, when well-implemented, play a critical role in supporting students in all grades and ensur­ing that they graduate from high school, college and career ready.


NYSED’s standards for approval of an ELT program in a Priority School are as follows:

·         The program must ensure the integration of academics, enrichment, and skill development through hands-on experiences that make learning relevant and engaging.

·         The program must offer a range of activities that capture student interest and strengthen student engagement in learning so as to promote higher attendance, reduce risk for retention or drop out, and increase the likelihood of graduation.

·         The program must actively address the unique learning needs and interests of all types of students, especially those who may benefit from approaches and experiences not offered in the traditional classroom setting.

·         The program must contain components designed to improve student academic, social, and emotional outcomes, including opportunities for enrichment programs such as in music and art.

·         Instruction in any core academic subject offered in the program must be delivered under the supervision of a teacher who is NYS certified in that particular content area.

·         The ELT program may be either voluntary or compulsory. However, if the program is voluntary, its goal must be to serve at least fifty percent of eligible students.

·         In Priority Schools that receive School Improvement Grant (SIG) or School Innovation Grant (SIF) funding, an ELT program that is voluntary must be offered to all students with the goal of serving at a minimum fifty percent of students.

·         In Priority Schools that do not receive SIG or SIF funding, an ELT program that is voluntary must be offered to all students eligible for Academic Intervention Services (AIS), with the goal of serving at a minimum fifty percent of AIS-eligible students.


Important notes and additional information:

·         ELT Program Description:

All Priority Schools and Renewal Schools must complete the ELT Program Description section of their SCEP or RSCEP (Section VII) to demonstrate how they are meeting these requirements.

·         Supplemental Educational Services (SES):

The DOE no longer provides Supplemental Educational Services (SES). Priority Schools may choose to provide academic remediation or ELT from an array of contracted vendors. If a school chooses to contract with a vendor to provide ELT, they can use the Multiple Task Award Contract (MTAC) utility to get an appropriate vendor based on their needs.


Galaxy Requirements

As Priority and Focus funds are scheduled, schools will need to select one of the activity descriptions using the “Program” drop-down field in Galaxy. This will demonstrate compliance with allowable activities, as described in Appendix A:  List of Galaxy Program Dropdown and Priority and Focus (PF) Allowable Activities.  The scheduling of funds must be aligned with the corresponding goals and action plans for each Framework for Great Schools element as detailed in the SCEP.


As Title I appropriations do not include increases for collective bargaining, tax levy funds will be provided. Funding for collective bargaining will be placed in the TL CB School Staff allocation category. Refer to SAM No. 06 Collective Bargaining for School Based Staff for details.


The Priority and Focus School allocations, applicable to your school, will be placed in Galaxy using the allocation categories (AC) listed below and must be scheduled based on the Galaxy requirements associated with the AC in the table on the next page.


Allocation Categories

Galaxy Requirements

·         Title I Priority/Focus SWP

Items must be tagged with PF descriptions in the Galaxy Program dropdown.  The total amount of items tagged must be greater than or equal to the amount allocated. Note that any fund source that is conceptually consolidated can be tagged, however, the total of all items, regardless of conceptually consolidated AC used, must equal the allocation amount.

·         Title I Priority/Focus TA

·         Priority/Focus Schools (Non-Title I)

Title I Priority/Focus TA and Priority/Focus Schools (Non-Title I) – funds must only be used for PF allowable activities, and must be tagged using PF Program dropdown descriptions in Galaxy.

·         Priority/Focus Parent Education

·         (Non-Title I)

Items must be tagged with PF descriptions in the Galaxy Program dropdown with only allowable activities for PF Framework for Great City Schools Elements for Strong Family and Community Ties.  The total amount of items tagged must equal the amount allocated.

·         Title I Priority/Focus TA Parent Education

Items must be tagged with PF descriptions in the Galaxy Program dropdown with only allowable activities for PF Framework for Great City Schools Elements for Strong Family and Community Ties.  The total amount of items tagged must equal or exceed the amount allocated.

·         Title I Priority/Focus SWP Parent Education

Note that this allocation category cannot be conceptually consolidated.  Items must be tagged with PF descriptions in the Galaxy Program dropdown with only allowable activities for PF Framework for Great City Schools Elements for Strong Family and Community Ties.  The total amount of items tagged must equal or exceed the amount allocated.


Download a copy of the School Allocation Memorandum No. 37, FY 2018



Appendix A- Galaxy Program Dropdown and List of Priority and Focus Allowable Activities

Table 1 – Priority and Focus School Allocation Summary

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C:        Sharon Rencher