North Dakota Schoolwide Programs provide services that enable all children in their buildings to meet high standards.

Schoolwide Program Checklist:

  • Based on one year of planning and built on schoolwide reform strategies rather than on separate add-on services.
  • Provides flexibility in spending federal, state, and local funds as long as the school engages in strategies that increase the amount and quality of learning time and help provide a high-quality curriculum for all children, according to a comprehensive school improvement plan or a schoolwide plan to help children meet North Dakota’s standards and graduate Choice Ready.
  • Focuses on results. The flexibility in the use of funds must result in increased achievement by student populations (economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, and students with limited English proficiency).
  • Meets at least one of the following qualifications:
    • A Title I school with 40% or more of its students living in poverty, regardless of the grades it serves
    • A Title I school under 40% poverty that receives a state waiver (see note below) or was served the previous school year as a schoolwide program, and the district wishes to continue services for a school that dipped below 40% poverty using the grandfather clause.
      • Note: The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction has the authority to allow a Title I school to operate a schoolwide program without meeting the 40% poverty threshold if it is determined a schoolwide program will best serve the needs of students in the school who are failing, or at risk of failing, to meet the challenging state academic standards. [ESSA sections 1114(a)(1)(B) and (b)(6)].
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Effective Schoolwide Programs

High-Poverty Schools and Effective Schoolwide Programs

  • High concentrations of poverty can negatively impact the academic achievement of all students at a school.
  • For the lowest-achieving students in the highest poverty schools to meet high standards of performance, the school’s entire instructional program, not just a separate Title I program must be substantially improved.
  • Educators in highly successful schools expect high academic achievement from every child.
  • When an entire school is the target of change, schools serving disadvantaged youth can achieve success.

Common Characteristics of Effective Schoolwide Programs

An effective schoolwide program brings all federal, state, and local resources together to improve the instructional program in order to impact student achievement. All federal, state, and local resources address the required components of a schoolwide program.

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Eligible Children and Needs Assessment

The school is not required to identify particular children. All children are to be provided the opportunity to meet academic expectations. The focus is on the instructional program instead of particular children.

As a part of continuous school improvement and schoolwide planning, the school conducts a needs assessment of all children in the school based on their performance toward meeting the academic expectations. The needs assessment should identify priority needs in student performance in the well-rounded subjects of English, reading/language arts, mathematics, science, world languages, civics and government, economics, arts, history, and geography. The priority needs identified must determine how resources are used.

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Paraprofessionals in a Schoolwide Program

In a schoolwide program, paraprofessionals may be used to assist with instruction to students. ESSA requirements apply to all paraprofessionals with instructional duties in a schoolwide program. Regardless of funding, all paraprofessionals with instructional duties must:

  • Have completed at least 48 semester hours of study at an institute of higher education, obtained an associate degree, or met a rigorous standard through an approved assessment.
  • Be included in professional development activities.
  • Be under the direct supervision of a teacher who has primary responsibility for providing instructional services.
  • The following is considered to be direct supervision of a teacher:
    • The teacher prepares the lessons and plans the instructional support activities the paraprofessional carries out, and evaluates the achievement of the students with whom the paraprofessional is working
      • Because paraprofessionals provide instructional support, they should not be creating lessons for whole group instruction or introducing new skills, concepts, or academic content to the whole class. 
    • The paraprofessional works in close and frequent proximity with the teacher.
      • A program where a paraprofessional provides instructional support and a teacher visits a site once or twice a week but otherwise is not in the classroom would be inconsistent with the requirement that paraprofessionals work in close and frequent proximity to a teacher. A program where a paraprofessional works with a group of students in another location while the teacher provides instruction to the rest of the class would also be inconsistent with the requirement that paraprofessionals work in close and frequent proximity to a teacher.
  • Not be pulled to be a substitute teacher in a classroom.

Paraprofessionals working in a schoolwide program may:

  • Participate in general professional development and school planning activities;
  • Provide one-on-one tutoring at a time when a student would not otherwise receive instruction from a teacher;
  • Provide assistance in a computer lab;
  • Conduct parent and family engagement activities;
  • Act as a translator; or
  • Provide instructional services to students under the direct supervision of a teacher.

Non-instructional Duties:

A paraprofessional in a Title I program may assume limited non-instructional duties as long as the amount of time spent is minimal.

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Ranking School Allocation

The district must allocate funds to school attendance areas identified as eligible and selected to participate in rank order based on the percentage of low-income students. The school allocation is determined by a per-pupil amount times the total number of children from low-income families in each school. Funds are allocated for use by the school, but it remains the responsibility of the district to ensure compliance of school expenditures.

Small districts with less than 1,000 students or only one school per grade span may use other methods to determine school allocations.

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Schoolwide Funds - Comingling

A schoolwide program school has flexibility in its use of Title I funds, even absent of comingling. Comingling, however, provides even greater flexibility.

Advantages of Comingling Funds in a Schoolwide Program
  • Flexibility to allocate all available resources effectively and efficiently.
  • A school is not required to meet most of the statutory and regulatory requirements of the specific federal programs included in the co-mingling, provided it meets the intent and purposes of those programs.
  • A school is not required to maintain separate fiscal accounting records by federal program that identify the specific activities supported by each program’s funds.
Using Other Federal Funds in a Schoolwide Program

The following are some examples of how funds from other federal programs may be utilized in a schoolwide program. The intent and purposes of the included programs must be met.

  1. A secondary school may use funds received under the Perkins V Career and Technical Education (CTE) to support its schoolwide program if its program improves vocational education in the school (for example, by integrating academic and vocational education) and its program improves access to vocational education for special populations in the school.
  2. A schoolwide program school may use funds received under Title II, Part A, Supporting Effective Instruction to provide the school with a sustained and intensive high-quality professional development program for school staff in core academic subjects aligned with North Dakota’s content and performance standards, reflects recent research on teaching and learning, and incorporates methods and practices to meet the educational needs of diverse student populations.
  3. A school may use funds received under Title III, Language Instruction for English Language Learners and Immigrants, to support its schoolwide program provided the program implements a bilingual education or special alternative instruction program that reforms, restructures, and upgrades the programs and operations serving limited English proficient children and youth in the school.
Consolidating Federal, State, and Local Funds in a Schoolwide Program (Comingling of Funds)

By making systemic changes that blend services funded from a variety of sources into a comprehensive framework, schools have a better chance of increasing the academic achievement of all students. To encourage this approach and better leverage all available funding, a schoolwide program school has the flexibility to comingle funds from Title I and other federal education programs with state and local funds. [ESSA section 1114(a)(1), (3)]. By co-mingling funds in a schoolwide program, a school can more effectively design and implement a comprehensive plan to upgrade the entire educational program in the school as informed by the school’s comprehensive needs assessment. When a school comingles funds in a schoolwide program, those funds lose their individual identity, and the school may use the funds to support any activity of the schoolwide program without regard to which program contributed the specific funds used for a particular activity.

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Schoolwide Funds - Flexibility

A school operating a schoolwide program may use Title I funds for any activity that supports the needs of students in the school as identified through the comprehensive needs assessment and articulated in the schoolwide plan [ESSA section 1114(b)]. In designing and implementing the schoolwide plan, a school must implement strategies that: (1) provide opportunities for all children to meet challenging state academic standards; (2) use methods and instructional strategies that strengthen the academic program in the school, increase the amount and quality of learning time, and help provide an enriched and accelerated curriculum, which may include programs, activities, and courses necessary to provide a well-rounded education; and (3) address the needs of all students, but particularly those at risk of not meeting challenging state academic standards [ESSA section 1114(b)(7)(A)].

Potential Uses of Funds in a Schoolwide Program (based on a comprehensive needs assessment):


  • High-quality preschool or full-day kindergarten and services to facilitate the transition from early learning to elementary education programs.
  • Recruitment and retention of effective teachers, particularly in high-need subjects.
  • Instructional coaches to provide high-quality, school-based professional development.
  • Increased learning time (e.g., afterschool, summer school, or extended day programs).
  • Providing professional learning to teachers, principals, school leaders, and paraeducators.
  • Evidence-based interventions to support at-risk learning (e.g., English learners).
  • Activities designed to increase access and prepare students for success in high-quality advanced coursework to earn postsecondary credit while in high school (e.g., Advanced Placement, early college high schools, and dual or concurrent enrollment programs).
  • Career and technical education programs to prepare students for postsecondary education and the workforce.
  • Counseling, school-based mental health programs, mentoring services, and other strategies to improve students’ nonacademic skills that impact academic learning.
  • School climate interventions (e.g., anti-bullying strategies, positive behavior interventions, and supports).
  • Equipment, materials, and training needed to compile and analyze student achievement data to monitor progress, alert the school to struggling students, and drive decision making.
  • Evidence-based strategies intended to allow for early identification of students with learning or behavioral needs and to provide a tiered response based on those needs (including multi-tiered systems of support).
  • High impact strategies shown to be effective at increasing family and community engagement in the school, including family literacy programs.
  • Devices and software for students to access digital learning materials and collaborate with peers, and related training for educators (including accessible devices and software needed by students with disabilities).
  • Programs to support improved economic, educational, health, safety, and other outcomes that address the issues of intergenerational poverty.
  • District-level administration of the Title I program, which is necessary and reasonable.

Each school, in conjunction with district officials, has the discretion to determine the specifics of a schoolwide plan, including which methods and instructional strategies will be used, based on the school’s identified needs in its comprehensive needs assessment.

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Schoolwide Planning Year

North Dakota Schools participating in the Schoolwide Planning Year will provide services that enable all children in their buildings to meet high standards. Schoolwide programs are implemented after one year of planning.

Schoolwide Planning Year Information
Schoolwide Training
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Schoolwide Program Components

There are three core components required by statute for the effective implementation of a schoolwide program. Each component must be described in the schoolwide plan:

  1. Conducting a comprehensive needs assessment,
  2. Preparing a comprehensive schoolwide plan, and
  3. Annually reviewing and revising, as necessary, the schoolwide plan.
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Schoolwide Record-Keeping

The district should maintain records of the following items and have the documentation available in the event of an audit or monitoring. This is not meant to be an all-inclusive list but rather provides guidance when it comes to documenting a schoolwide program.

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Teachers in a Schoolwide Program

The focus of a schoolwide program is to raise the performance level of all students by improving the overall instructional program in the school through the integration of federal, state, and local funds. Regardless of funding, all teachers:

  • Must address identified needs through the comprehensive needs assessment; and
  • Assist the school in increasing the effectiveness of the staff, parents, community, and agencies in improving the school’s performance.