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Federal Programs Department

The Federal Programs Department is responsible for the administration of various federal and state funded programs.  The funding, in most cases, is provided to the Local Educational Agency (LEA) to supplement those activities and programs already in place within the Huntsville City Schools System.

    Federal Programs Department Coordinator

    Towana Riggins Smith

    General Federal Programs Information
    Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

    The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015, and represents good news for our nation’s schools. This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. ESSA includes provisions that will help to ensure success for students and schools.

    The law:

    • Advances equity by upholding critical protections for America's disadvantaged and high-need students.
    • Requires that all students in America be taught to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers.
    • Ensures that vital information is provided to educators, families, students, and communities through annual statewide assessments that measure students' progress toward those high standards.
    • Helps to support and grow local innovations—including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators.
    • Sustains and expands this administration's historic investments in increasing access to high-quality preschool.
    • Maintains an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools, where groups of students are not making progress, and where graduation rates are low over extended periods of time.
    Programs Managed by Federal Programs

    Title I, Part A

    Improving Basic Programs Operated by State and Local Educational Agencies.  See Title I Schools below for more information.

    Title I, Part D

    Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk 

    Title II, Part A

    Preparing, Training, and Recruiting High-Quality Teachers, Principals, or Other School Leaders

    Title III

    Language Instruction for English Learners and Immigrant Students
    For more information view the ESOL information below.

    Competitive Grants

    (Programs based on the submission of yearly application for funds)

    Title IV, Part A

    Student Support and Academic EnrichmentTitle IV, Part B

    21st Century Community Learning Centers

    Title VI

    Indian, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native Education

    Title IX, Part A

    Education for the Homeless and Other Laws

    Title IX, Part A

    Children in Foster Care

    To learn more about the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA), including a complete description of all Title programs and special grants, visit the US Department of Education website.

    Parent & Family Engagement

    Parents Right to Know:

    At the beginning of every school year, Title I school districts must tell parents they have a right to request information about the professional qualifications of their children’s teachers.  For more information, view the Title I Schools section below which includes the Local Education Association (LEA) Title I Parent & Family Engagement Plan document.

    Procedure for Complaint Submission

    Alabama State Department of Education - Instructional Services - Federal Programs Section


    This document sets forth the process for resolving complaints presented by individuals or organizations to the Alabama State Department of Education (SDE). Such complaints may include information on how a school district, the SDE, or other entity has violated a federal law, rule, or regulation applicable to any “covered federal programs."

    Note: Before submitting a complaint about a school or school district, the SDE requires that all complainants first complete the grievance procedures established by the Local Education Agency (LEA), if applicable. This may involve contacting the local school district, expressing concerns to the appropriate board employee, and receiving information on how to proceed.

    Exception: As stated in NCLB Section 1120(b)(5) related to Private Schools and timely, meaningful consultations with LEAs, non-public school officials may apply for complaint relief directly to the SDE. This citation continues with the procedure, "Upon receipt of the formal written complaint, the SDE will notify the LEA of the complaint and request appropriate documentation."


    The procedures for resolving written complaints satisfy 20 USC 7844(3)(C) and 20 USC 7883 (Section 9503)(a-b), and offer parents and other stakeholders concerned with the appropriate delivery of services to children a simple, straightforward method for considering their claims of inappropriate action.

    For more information, visit the Alabama State Department of Education website.

    Title I Schools
    What Is Title I?

    Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged

    What is Title I?

    Title I, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, is the largest federal contribution to K-12 education. It consists of several funding streams for school districts and schools to supplement local educational programs and to help ensure that economically disadvantaged students are given the same opportunity to achieve state-defined academic standards as their peers.

    In exchange for financial support, schools, districts, and states are held accountable for raising academic performance of all students, narrowing the achievement gap between underachieving groups and their more advantaged peers, and enabling those most at risk to reach state academic standards.

    The goal of Title I is a high-quality education for every child, so the program provides extra help to students who need it most.  These are children who are the furthest from meeting the standards the state has set for all children.  Title I resources are directed to schools with high percentages of at-risk students.

    How Title I Works:

    The federal government provides funding to states each year for Title I.  To get the funds, each state must submit a plan describing:

    • What all children are expected to know
    • The high-quality standards of performance that all children are expected to meet
    • Ways to measure progress

    State educational agencies (SEAs) send the money to the school districts based on the numbers of low-income families.

    The Local Educational Agency (LEA) identifies eligible schools -- those with the highest percentage of children from low-income families, and provides Title I resources.

    The Title I school (this includes parents, teachers, administrators, and other school staff) works to:

    • Identify students most in need of educational help
    • Set goals for improvement
    • Measure student progress
    • Develop programs that add to regular classroom instruction
    • Involve parents in all aspects of the program
    Homeless Children & Youth Assistance
    McKinney-Vento Act
    What is McKinney-Vento?

    Homeless Children and Youth Assistance at Huntsville City Schools is funded under the McKinney-Vento Act.  The Act is designed to address the challenges that homeless children and youths have faced in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school. Under the McKinney-Vento Act, State educational agencies (SEAs) must ensure that each homeless child and youth has equal access to the same free, appropriate public education, including a public preschool education, as other children and youths.  For a more detailed look, watch UpClose: McKinney-Vento Program.

    Who is considered homeless?

    Children and youth who are:

    • sharing the housing of other persons due to loss of housing, economic hardship, or a similar reason (sometimes referred to as doubled-up);
    • living in motels, hotels, trailer parks, or camp grounds due to lack of alternative adequate accommodations;
    • living in emergency or transitional shelters;
    • abandoned in hospitals; or
    • migratory children who qualify as homeless because they are living in circumstances described above.
    Parents’ and Students’ Rights
    • Receive a free, appropriate public education.
    • Enroll in school immediately, even if lacking documents normally required for enrollment.
    • Enroll in school and attend classes while the school gathers needed documents.
    • Enroll in the local school; or continue attending their school of origin (the school they attended when permanently housed or the school in which they were last enrolled), if that is their preference and is feasible. If the school district believes that the school selected is not in his/her best interest, then the district must provide the student with a written explanation of its position and inform the student of his/her right to appeal its decision.
    • Receive transportation assistance to and from the school of origin, if requested.
    • Receive educational services comparable to those provided to other students, according to the students’ needs.

    To apply, visit the McKinney-Vento Program Application.

    Dispute Resolution Procedure
    The school must adhere to the following procedures:
    1. The school must complete the Initial Challenge of Enrollment Form at the time of enrollment. The original copy of the form should be forwarded to the HCS homeless liaison.  Additional copies of the form should be distributed as follows: 1) parent/guardian/unaccompanied youth; 2) Student Support Services Department; and 3) the originating school should retain a copy for documentation purposes.
    2. The school must provide the parent/guardian or unaccompanied youth the Parent Appeal Form and the contact information of the HCS homeless liaison.
    3. It is the responsibility of the school to forward both forms to the HCS Homeless Liaison within three (3) business days, so that determination can be made at the district level.
    The district must adhere to the following procedures:
    1. The district (i.e. the HCS Homeless Liaison and the Student Support Services Department) must complete an investigation to determine if the student is entitled to enrollment and supportive services under McKinney-Vento
    2. The district must complete the Final District Decision Form within three days of receiving the Parent Appeal Form and notify the parent/guardian/unaccompanied youth in writing.
    3. The district must advise the parent/guardian/unaccompanied youth that the district’s final determination may be appealed to the Alabama State Department of Education within three days.
    4. The district must inform the parent/guardian/unaccompanied youth that the district’s homeless liaison is required to assist him/her in filing such an appeal (if requested).
    5. The district must provide the appeal form to the parent/guardian/unaccompanied youth to send to the Alabama State Department of Education.

    The student must remain enrolled and provided with transportation (if feasible) until the district makes a final determination and for a maximum of 10 days after the determination to give the parent/guardian/unaccompanied youth the opportunity to appeal to and receive a decision from the Alabama State Department of Education. 

    Other Programs
    English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)
    Effective immediately, the HCS ESOL Department's Spanish message line is 256-963-9829.
    Please note this is a general, non-emergency line for families requiring a Spanish interpreter.
    This line is not an IT help desk or homework help line.

    Huntsville City Schools’ program goals are based on established principles of language development outlined in WIDA’s document “The Cornerstone of WIDA’s Standards: Guiding Principles of Language Development” as well as federal and state legal and educational guidelines. For more information, visit the WIDA website.

    HCS strives to create a learning environment that encourages students’ pride in their cultural heritage, and provides the cognitive and affective support to help them become successful members of our society.

    This program, beginning in kindergarten and continuing through high school, will provide each English language learner (ELL or EL) the opportunity to be successful in academic areas and to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing proficiency in order to be successful in all classes.

    Educational Goals:
    1. Equal access to understandable instruction in all academic areas
    2. Meaningful participation in all district programs
    3. Increased English proficiency
    4. Mastery of subject matter content
    Objectives to be Implemented:
    1. Identify and assess all students whose native or home language is something other than English within ten days of enrollment.
    2. Provide instruction to all students who have trouble understanding, speaking, reading, or writing English.
    3. Assess and monitor the academic progress of language minority students in the school district with an ongoing evaluation process.
    4. Help students develop the skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing through an English language development instruction.
    5. Provide an opportunity for multilingual students to interact with their English-speaking classmates.
    6. Create a learning environment that will provide for cognitive and affective needs.
    7. Exit students from the program when they achieve an overall composite score of 4.8 or better on ACCESS for ELLs.
    8. Monitor students for two years after exiting the program.
    9. Support curriculum and instruction of the regular classroom as appropriate to the English proficiency level of the student.
    10. Provide staff development to principals, counselors, teachers, and other school personnel in instructional and assessment strategies that address cultural and language needs of ELs.

    Contact Us

    ESOL Program
    200 White Street
    Huntsville, AL 35801
    Phone: 256-963-9814

    Native American Indian Education (NAIE)

    The Native American Indian Education Program was created by the U.S. Department of Education to meet the unique and culturally related academic needs of the American Indian and Alaskan Native students.  The program provides cultural enrichment and educational support to all Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Alaskan Native students. Huntsville City Schools Native American Indian Education Program is made available to schools primarily through a Title VI, Part A grant by the Indian Education office of the U. S. Department of Education.  

    How Do I Get Involved?

    For students to participate in the Native American Indian Education program under the Federal Government Title VI, Part A Eligibility, the student's parent/guardian must complete the Student Eligibility Form: 506- Form. Completing this form enables your student to be counted for funding under this program.

    NAIE Parent Committee

    Every Title VI. Part A program must have a parent advisory committee. The input of all parents of children enrolled in Huntsville City Schools NAIE program is encouraged. The parent committee is an invaluable resource of information by either direct knowledge or connections with other Native American members and/or educators in the Huntsville metropolitan area. The unique knowledge of parents about their own traditions and culture can be used in planning activities for students.  If you are interested in joining the parent committee, please email the program coordinator.

    Native American Indian Education 506 Form

    Parents of Native American Indian students are required to fill out the Indian Student Certification Form 506 in accordance with the Indian Education Act.

    PDF iconNative American Indian Education 506 Form.pdf

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