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Priority for Services: Frequently Asked Questions


  1. What is the definition for Priority for Services (PFS)?

    As funding is not available to meet all needs of all migrant students, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, Section 1304.(d) established a PFS requirement. Recipients of Migrant Education Program (MEP) funds must first address the needs of migrant children that are failing, or at risk of failing, to meet the state’s challenging academic content and achievement standards, and whose education has been interrupted during the regular school year.

  2. What is the period of time that will be considered an interruption of the regular school year?

    Beginning with Fiscal Year 2007-08, if a student makes a qualifying move or withdraws from school at any time from September 1 of the current year to December 20 or January 1 to June 11 of the subsequent year, it will be considered an interruption of the regular school year.

  3. Is there a minimum number of days that constitute an interruption of schooling?

    The U.S. Department of Education’s Draft Non-Regulatory Guidance of October 23, 2003, provides an example of missing ten or more days of school as a significant interruption. However, the California Department of Education has not established a minimum number of school days to be missed.

  4. Do qualifying moves made during the summer term count?

    Only if the qualifying moves occur between the time period of August 15 of the current year to June 30 of the subsequent year.

  5. How will migrant education regions determine the dates for interruption of regular year schooling and how are they to report it?

    By using the school enrollment and withdrawal dates, and reporting it in Certificate of Eligibility (COEstar) database, the state licensed database application for the Migrant Education Program.

  6. If a student has an interruption of regular year schooling not related to a qualifying move, can that be included as PFS?

    No. PFS migrant students take precedence for migrant services over students who experience interrupted schooling that is not related to a qualifying move. To be counted as a PFS student, school interruption must be as a result of a qualifying move.

  7. Are moves made during the winter/Christmas break considered an interruption in education?

    If the move occurred after the last day of classes, and the student returned before classes resumed in January, and the student did not miss any instructional time, the student did not experience an interruption and cannot be considered as having priority for services.

  8. What constitutes at-risk of not meeting state standards?
    1. A student who scores at basic or below on either the mathematics or English-language arts section of the California Standards Tests (CSTs).
    2. A student who has not passed the mathematics or English-language arts section of the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE).
    3. A student who scores at intermediate or below on the California English Language Development Test (CELDT).
  9. What subject areas of the CSTs are included?

    Mathematics and English-language arts.

  10. Can migrant students be served if regions do not have CSTs assessment data, but students have had an interruption in schooling during the time frame specified in Question 2?

    Yes. Information from the CAHSEE and CELDT will capture the majority of the students that have not taken the CSTs. If a student has a need, the region may still serve them provided that PFS students are served first.

  11. If PFS students are receiving other categorical services, and their needs are being met, is there still a requirement for the migrant program to provide services?

    No, as long as the other services are documented.

  12. Are out-of-school youths and preschoolers included in PFS?

    No, because the Compulsory Education Law applies to children between the ages of six and 18 years. Preschoolers and out-of-school youths are not enrolled in compensatory education and therefore are not receiving instruction on the state’s academic and content standards. As a result, they do not meet the PFS criteria for failing or at risk of failing the state’s academic content standards.

  13. Once PFS students have been identified, how often should regions make this information available to local educational agencies?

    At a minimum, two times a year, once at the beginning of the school year, and once prior to summer school.

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Questions:   Migrant Education Office | 916-319-0851
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