ESEA- No Child Left Behind

President Bush made a commitment to ensure that all children receive a high quality education so that no child is left behind. And just one year after the President first took office, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) passed overwhelmingly with support from Republicans and Democrats in Congress. NCLB has led to higher standards and greater accountability throughout the Nation's school systems. Here are some key facts and terms that you should know about how this historic law helps your child:

The Facts About No Child Left Behind

  • Funding: No Child Left Behind gives school districts more money. In fact, President Bush and Congress are spending more money than ever before on the education of America's children.

  • Flexibility: No Child Left Behind gives states and school districts more control and more flexibility to use resources where they are needed most. Principals and administrators will spend less time filling out forms and more time helping your child learn.

  • Accountability: No Child Left Behind holds schools and school districts accountable for results. Schools are responsible for making sure your child is learning.

  • School District Report Cards: No Child Left Behind gives parents report cards so they can see which schools in their district are succeeding and why. With this information, No Child Left Behind gives parents, community leaders, teachers, principals, and elected leaders the information they need to improve schools.

  • Public School Choice: No Child Left Behind may let you transfer your child to another public school if the state says that your child's school is "in need of improvement." Your school district may pay for transportation for your child. Contact your child's school district to find out if your child has this opportunity.

  • Extra Help with Learning: No Child Left Behind may also provide your child with free tutoring and extra help with schoolwork if the state says your child's school has been "in need of improvement" for at least 2 years. This extra help is often referred to as Supplemental Educational Services. Contact your child's school district to find out if your child qualifies.

  • Parental Involvement: No Child Left Behind requires schools to develop ways to get parents more involved in their child's education and in improving the school. Contact your child's school to find out how you can get involved.

  • Measuring Knowledge: No Child Left Behind requires states to test your child in reading and math every year in grades 3-8. Your child will also be tested at least once in high school. The tests will help you, your child, and your child's teachers know how well your child is learning and when he or she needs extra help.

  • Scientifically Based Research: No Child Left Behind focuses on teaching methods that have been proven by research to work. There will be no more experimenting on children with educational fads.

  • Reading First: No Child Left Behind provides more than one billion dollars a year to help children learn to read. Reading First is the part of No Child Left Behind that is dedicated to ensuring all children learn to read on grade level by the third grade. Reading First provides money to states and many school districts to support high quality reading programs based on the best scientific research. Contact your child's school district to find out if its reading program is based on research.

  • Teacher Quality: No Child Left Behind provides funding to help teachers learn to be better teachers.


Terms Every Parent Needs to Know

  • Title I - This is the part of No Child Left Behind that supports programs in schools and school districts to improve the learning of children from low-income families. The U.S. Department of Education provides Title I funds to states to give to school districts based on the number of children from low-income families in each district.

  • State Assessments - This refers to the tests developed by your state that your child will take every year in grades 3-8 and at least once in high school. Using these tests, the state will be able to compare schools to each other and know which ones need extra help to improve. Contact your child's school or school district to find out more details about your state's tests.

  • Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) - This is the term No Child Left Behind uses to explain that your child's school has met state reading and math goals. Your school district's report card will let you know whether or not your child's school has made AYP.

  • School in Need of Improvement - This is the term No Child Left Behind uses to refer to schools receiving Title I funds that have not met state reading and math goals (AYP) for at least two years. If your child's school is labeled a "school in need of improvement," it receives extra help to improve and your child has the option to transfer to another public school, including a public charter school. Also, your child may be eligible to receive free tutoring and extra help with schoolwork. Contact your child's school district to find out if your child qualifies.

  • Supplemental Educational Services (SES) - This is the term No Child Left Behind uses to refer to the tutoring and extra help with schoolwork in subjects such as reading and math that children from low-income families may be eligible to receive. This help is provided free of charge and generally takes place outside the regular school day, such as after school or during the summer.

  • Highly Qualified Teacher (HQT) - This is the term No Child Left Behind uses for a teacher who proves that he or she knows the subjects he or she is teaching, has a college degree, and is state-certified. No Child Left Behind requires that your child be taught by a Highly Qualified Teacher in core academic subjects.

Parent Notification

English Language Learners Outreach

The McKenzie Special School District annually conducts a search for students who could benefit from English Language Learners (ELL) outreach services. Students are assessed regarding their English proficiency and an appropriate program is planned. Any parent of an ELL child requiring assistance in the interpretation of school forms should contact the school office. Assistance with forms will be provided by the English as a Second Language teacher or other appropriate individual. Additional information regarding ELL services may be obtained by contacting any of the schools or the Board of Education at 352-2246.

Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

Students' records maintained by the McKenzie Special School District are protected under Section 438 of the General Education Provisions Act. This statute governs disclosure of records maintained by educational institutions which receive federal funds. The statute provides that such institutions must provide parents of students access to official records related to the student and an opportunity for a hearing to challenge such records on the grounds that they are inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise inappropriate; that institution must obtain written consent of parents before releasing personally identifiable data about students from records other than a specified list of exceptions; that parents and students must be notified of these rights; that these rights transfer to students at certain points; and that an office and review board must be established. For more information, contact the Board of Education at 352-2246.

Homeless Education

No Child Left Behind added to the existing McKinney-Vento Homeless Act by expanding upon those who qualify for services under the act and insuring that appropriate educational services are delivered to children experiencing homelessness. Policy 8.177 addresses homeless services for McKenzie students. If you believe that you may be living in homeless circumstances, you should contact the principal of your child's school or the Board of Education at 352-2246.

Instruction by "Highly Qualified" Teachers

All teachers in the McKenzie Special School District are properly certified by the State of Tennessee to teach the courses to which they are assigned. NCLB has introduced additional requirements for teachers to be considered "highly qualified" under the new legislation. All McKenzie teachers meet these requirements. The NCLB legislation requires school systems to notify parents of any situation where their child has been instructed by a teacher not meeting the "highly qualified" requirements for a period of four or more weeks.

Nondiscrimination Notice

The McKenzie Special School District does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, handicap or age in the educational programs and activities it operates, pursuant to the requirement of Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972 (Public Law 92-318), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Public Law 92-112), Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and the Age discrimination Act of 1975. For more information on compliance with the statutes and regulations, contact the Board of Education at 352-2246.

Notice of Schools Identified for Program Improvement

No schools in McKenzie have been identified for federal program improvement for the current school year.

Paraprofessional Qualifications

All paraprofessionals who work directly with students in a Title I school must meet specific No Child Left Behind quality guidelines. Specifically, each assistant must have either two years of college, an associate's degree, or pass a content-specific exam in reading, math and writing. All assistants employed by the MSSD and placed at MES are required to meet this standard.

Parents' Right to Request Information on a Teacher's Qualification

As a part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, school systems are required to notify parents of children in schools receiving Title I funds of their right to request information on the professional qualification of their child's teacher(s) and paraprofessionals. All teachers in the McKenzie Special School District are properly certified to teach in the school system. All paraprofessionals are also "highly qualified." Teachers' and paraprofessionals' qualifications are on file at the McKenzie Board of Education. Information regarding certification may also be obtained from the Tennessee Department of Education's web site at

Preschool Coordination

The McKenzie Special School District operates a preschool program for four-year-old children. The program is funded with state grant funds. The school system also provides preschool services through the special education department to eligible three- and four-year-old children. Efforts are made to coordinate all preschool services with other preschool programs such as Head Start. Preschool programs also coordinate with other federal programs such as homeless education and IDEA.

Release of Directory Information to Military Recruiters

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation requires school systems to release to military recruiters the same directory information that high schools normally make available to institutions of higher learning. Policies 8.156 and 8.158 define "directory information" and explain how the system will handle student records. To prevent directory information from being released to military recruiters and institutions, a written request must be submitted to McKenzie High School.

Right to Free Public Education Guaranteed by Law

Tennessee law guarantees the right to free and appropriate public education for all persons ages 3 to 21. The McKenzie Special School System is responsible for identification, evaluation and services to disabled students ages 3 to 21 who live within the city limits of McKenzie, TN. This includes, but is not limited to, children who attend private schools, home schools and daycare centers. McKenzie, TN, parents or guardians of children with disabilities not enrolled in school should contact the McKenzie Board of Education at 114 Bell Ave., McKenzie, TN, or phone 352-2246 to find out how to access these services.

Safe Schools

Policies 8.110 and 8.123 address the necessity for learning to take place in a safe environment. These policies are consistent with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) requirements for schools to be safe and drug-free. NCLB allows parents to exercise a school choice option if their child attends a school defined by the state as a "persistently dangerous" school. McKenzie does not have any school that has been designated as a dangerous environment.

Tennessee Comprehensive Systemwide Planning (TCSPP)

The TCSPP is the MSSD's annual district wide strategic plan.  It meets all federal, state and local education agency (LEA) requirements for budgetary planning and program area compliance. The TCSPP serves as a collaborative piece to ensure that the district continues to focus on student achievement and make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). A copy of this plan is available for viewing the McKenzie Board of Education.

Title I School-Wide Status

McKenzie Elementary School is a Title I school with schoolwide status. This means that this school may consolidate and use funds under Title I, together with other federal, state, and local funds, in order to upgrade the entire educational program for all students at the elementary school.

Plan for Hiring Teachers working with English Learners

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires school districts to develop a plan for hiring teachers working with English Learners. The following excerpt from the law states that districts are required to assess the English fluency of teachers working with English learners:

“TEACHER ENGLISH FLUENCY – Each eligible entity receiving a subgrant under section 3114 shall include in its plan a certification that all teaches in any language instruction educational program for limited English proficient child that is, or will be, funded under this are fluent in English and any other language used for instruction, including having written and oral communications skills.”   [3116 (c)]

All teachers of any language instruction program for English Learners (ELs) need to be fluent and competent in the four domains of language assessed by the English Language Proficiency Assessment: reading, writing, speaking and listening. If personnel have been previously hired without these skills, the district will offer help to build the needed fluency.

A teacher’s fluency in listening and speaking will be documented and evaluated during the interview process. One person will be assigned in the interview to be responsible for noting listening mistakes, miscues, grammar and syntax mistakes, and judge the level of fluency for both speech and listening.

Reading will be evaluated through the reading of the application and appropriate response that show understanding of the application process. Reading may be satisfied through the college transcript if from an English speaking university. The district may also use a shelf reading comprehension assessment.

Writing fluency will require a 15 to 20 minute writing sample during the teacher interview. The topic will vary. This sample will be done on site so that the interviewee will have no outside editing.