Code of the District of Columbia

§ 38–2602. Responsibilities.

(a) Within one year of the Officer’s appointment, but not later than October 2001, and except as provided in § 38-2604, the OSSE shall assume the responsibilities listed in subsection (b) of this section. The transfer and assumption of responsibilities shall take place in accordance with the short-term plan to be submitted by the Officer to the Mayor for approval by February 15, 2001, or 5 weeks from the establishment of the OSSE, whichever is later.

(b) The OSSE shall:

(1) Have authority for all state functions for federally sponsored child nutrition programs in the District, including those sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture;

(2) Verify annual fall enrollment counts for all public and public charter schools pursuant to § 38-1804.02 and § 38-159;

(3) Formulate and promulgate rules for the documentation and verification of District residency for public and public charter school students, pursuant to §§ 38-302 and 38-303;

(3A) Beginning in May 2024, and annually thereafter, electronically publish for each public school and public charter school the previous school year's expenditures, based on the common financial reporting standards established by the Department of Education pursuant to § 38-191(b)(10), in a manner that permits the public to easily compare expenditures between individual schools and between local education agencies.

(4) Make recommendations for periodic revisions to the Uniform Per Student Funding Formula pursuant to § 38-2911;

(4A) Administer the common lottery system for admission to public schools in the District of Columbia;

(5) Conduct a study to be submitted to the Mayor and Council recommending additional functions to be assumed by the OSSE and a proposed transition plan meeting the specifications of § 38-2605;

(6) Oversee the functions and activities of the Higher Education Licensure Commission, established by § 38-1303, including acting as the state portal agency for the purposes of state authorization reciprocity;

(6A) Establish and administer licensure requirements for pre-kindergarten programs, pursuant to § 38-271.02(a)(3);

(7) Issue rules to establish requirements to govern acceptable credit to be granted for studies completed at independent, private, public, public charter schools, and private instruction;

(8) Prescribe minimum amounts of instructional time for all schools, including public, public charter, and private schools;

(8A) Prescribe standards for extended learning time beyond the regular school day for public schools, including public charter schools;

(9) Oversee the state-level functions and activities related to early childhood education programs, including the public education of the Early Intervention Services Program, in accordance with § 7-863.02;

(9A) Administer pre-kindergarten education, in accordance with § 38-271.02;

(9B) Conduct a residency audit, annually, to establish the number of in-District and out-of-District children enrolled in pre-kindergarten pursuant to Chapter 2A of this title [§ 38-271.01 et seq.];

(10) Provide for the education of children in the custody of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services;

(11) Formulate and promulgate rules necessary to carry out its functions, including rules governing the process for review and approval of state-level policies by the State Board of Education under § 38-2652, pursuant to Chapter 5 of Title 2 [§ 2-501 et seq.];

(12) Develop and adopt policies that come within the functions of state educational agencies under federal law, subject to the approval of the State Board of Education for those policies that are subject to board approval under § 38-2652;

(13) Conduct studies and pilot projects to develop, review, or test state policy;

(14) Repealed;

(15) Fulfill any other responsibilities consistent with the performance of the state-level education functions of the District of Columbia;

(16) Promulgate rules for the administration and implementation of the uniform per student funding formula, pursuant to Chapter 29 of this title;

(17) Have the authority to collect and dedicate fees for state academic credential certifications and general educational development testing as well as for any other state-level education function, as established by the Superintendent by regulation;

(18) Have the authority to issue grants, from funds under its administration (including the non-public tuition paper agency), to local education agencies (“LEAs”) for programs that increase the capacity of the LEA to provide special education services;

(19) By August 1, 2013, create a truancy prevention resource guide for parents and legal guardians who have children who attend a District public school, which shall be updated and made available upon request and, at minimum, include:

(A) An explanation of the District’s laws and regulations related to absenteeism and truancy;

(B) Information on:

(i) What a parent or legal guardian can do to prevent truancy;

(ii) The common causes of truancy; and

(iii) Common consequences of truancy;

(C) A comprehensive list of resources that are available to a parent or legal guardian, and the student, that address the common causes of truancy and the prevention of it, such as:

(i) Hotlines that provide assistance to parents, legal guardians, and youth;

(ii) Counseling for the parent (or legal guardian) or the youth, or both;

(iii) Parenting classes;

(iv) Parent-support groups;

(v) Family psycho-education programs;

(vi) Parent-resource libraries;

(vii) Risk prevention education;

(viii) Neighborhood family support organizations and collaboratives that provide assistance to families experiencing hardship;

(ix) Behavioral health resources and programs in schools;

(x) The Behavioral Health Ombudsman Program; and

(xi) The resources at each public school for at-risk students and their parents or legal guardians;

(20)(A) Oversee the functions and activities, as required, of Chapter 7C of this title [§ 38-771.01 et seq.], including ensuring the integrity and security of Districtwide assessments administered by a local education agency;

(B) At least 45 days before the start of the first Districtwide assessment of the school year, issue standards to obtain and securely maintain and distribute secure test materials, which shall at a minimum require that:

(i) An inventory of all secure test materials be maintained;

(ii) All secure test materials be secured under lock and key, or other equivalent security measures for electronic secure test materials with limited access;

(iii) Only authorized personnel have access to secure test materials; and

(iv) All authorized personnel are notified of their test integrity and security obligations before being permitted to access secure test materials or assist in the administration of a Districtwide assessment;

(C) Require each LEA to maintain and submit to OSSE at least 15 days before the administration of the first Districtwide assessment of the school year, a separate test security plan for each school and campus under the LEA’s control that at minimum includes:

(i) Procedures for the secure maintenance, dissemination, collection, and storage of Districtwide assessment materials before, during, and after administering a test, including:

(I) Keeping an inventory of all materials and identifying individuals with access to the materials;

(II) Accounting for and reporting to the OSSE any materials that are lost or otherwise unaccounted; and

(III) Accounting for and securing old or damaged materials;

(ii) The name and contact information for the test integrity coordinator and the test monitors at each school under the LEA’s control;

(iii) A list of actions prohibited by authorized personnel;

(iv) Procedures pursuant to which students, authorized personnel, and other individuals may, and are encouraged to, report irregularities in testing administration or testing security; and

(v) Written procedures for investigating and remediating any complaint, allegation, or concern about a potential failure of testing integrity and security;

(D) Approve a school’s test security plan at least 5 days before testing and make recommendations to amend the plan when necessary;

(E) Keep a copy of each school’s test security plan on file, which shall be made available to a member of the public upon request;

(F) Establish a standard for monitoring the administration of Districtwide assessments to ensure compliance with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies;

(G) Monitor Districtwide assessment administration procedures in randomly selected schools and in targeted schools to ensure adherence to all applicable laws, regulations, and policies, which may occur one week before the administration of a Districtwide assessment and during the administration of a Districtwide assessment;

(H) Establish a process by which to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations for the administration of Districtwide assessments for LEA students at nonpublic schools;

(I) Develop and distribute a testing integrity and security notification statement;

(J) At least 45 days before the first assessment of the school year, issue standards to train authorized personnel on testing integrity and security and require that attendance be taken at such training;

(K) Provide technical assistance to LEAs regarding testing integrity and security procedures;

(K-i) Collaborate with LEAs to ensure accurate reporting of any testing violation while preserving the privacy of involved students and staff;

(L) Establish standards for the investigation of any alleged violation of an applicable law, regulation, or policy relating to testing integrity and security, which standards shall:

(i) Identify the circumstances that trigger an investigation;

(ii) Require the initiation of an investigation even if only one circumstance is present; provided, that there appears to be egregious noncompliance; and

(iii) Require the investigation of any report of a violation of the laws, regulations, and policies relating to testing integrity and security;

(M) Cooperate with any investigation initiated by the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia or the U.S. Attorney’s Office; and

(N) Revoke, for a period of at least one year, any OSSE granted certification or license granted to an individual who is found to have knowingly and willfully violated, assisted in the violation of, solicited another to violate or assist in the violation of, or failed to report a violation of this paragraph, regulations issued pursuant to this paragraph, other applicable law, or other test integrity policy or procedure.

(O) For the purposes of this paragraph, the term:

(i) “Authorized personnel” means any individual who has access to Districtwide assessment materials or is directly involved in the administration of a Districtwide assessment.

(ii) “Districtwide assessments” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 38-1800.02(13); provided, that for the purposes of this paragraph, the term “Districtwide assessment” means assessments used only for accountability purposes.

(iii) “Local education agency” or “LEA” means the District of Columbia Public Schools system or any individual or group of public charter schools operating under a single charter.

(iii-I) “Secure test materials” means test materials that might contain or provide access to assessment content, such as information about test questions or answers, including test questions, passages, or performance tasks, answer documents, and used scratch paper.

(iv) “Test integrity coordinator” means an individual designated by a LEA to be responsible for testing integrity and security for the LEA in its entirety during the administration of a Districtwide assessment.

(v) “Testing integrity and security notification statement” means a notification developed by OSSE that:

(I) Sets forth requirements for ensuring integrity of Districtwide assessments pursuant to District law and regulation; and

(II) Notifies the recipient that knowingly and willingly violating a District law, regulation, or a test security plan could result in civil liability, including the loss of an OSSE granted certification or license.

(vi) “Test monitor” means an individual designated by a LEA to be responsible for testing integrity and security at each individual school subject to the LEA’s control during the administration of a Districtwide assessment;

(21) Implement and administer the CTE grant program established by § 38-2611 and administer the CTE Grant Program Fund established by § 38-2612;

(22) Administer the Healthy Schools Fund and fulfill its other responsibilities under Chapter 8A of this title [§  38-821.01 et seq.];

(23) Administer the Healthy Tots Fund fulfill its other responsibilities under Chapter 2B of this title [§  38-281 et seq.];

(24) Provide supplemental funding for early literacy programs targeting 3rd grade reading success through a competitive, multiyear grant program, subject to available funding, for eligible grantees who are early literacy providers that, at a minimum:

(A) Provide a full continuum of school-based, early literacy intervention services for all grades pre-K through 3rd consisting of developmentally appropriate components for each grade;

(B) Deliver the literacy program by professionally coached interventionists;

(C) Provide direct services each day that school is in session;

(D) Collect data on student progress monthly;

(E) Use an intervention model that is comprehensive and has been proven to be effective in one or more empirical studies; and

(F) Are not local education agencies;

(25) Procure, distribute, and maintain the undesignated epinephrine auto-injector supply and fulfill its other responsibilities as required by subchapter IV of Chapter 6 of this title.[;]

(26)(A) Develop and publish online written guidance to assist LEAs in developing and adopting policies and procedures for handling aspects of student mental and behavioral health. The written guidance shall include model policies for identifying, appropriately supporting, and referring to behavioral health service providers students with mental and behavioral health concerns, and model policies for suicide prevention, suicide intervention, and suicide postvention, especially for at-risk youth sub-groups.

(B) OSSE shall examine its guidance on mental and behavioral health in schools at least every 5 years and update its guidance as needed. Within 30 days of updating its guidance, OSSE shall notify LEAs of the update.

(C) For the purposes of this paragraph, the term:

(i) "At-risk youth sub-groups" means:

(I) Youth living with mental illness or substance-use disorders;

(II) Youth who engage in self-harm or have attempted suicide;

(III) Youth in out-of-home settings;

(IV) Youth experiencing homelessness;

(V) Youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning;

(VI) Youth bereaved by suicide; and

(VII) Other populations identified as at-risk of suicide in the most recent DC Youth Risk Behavior Survey results.

(ii) "Suicide intervention" means specific actions schools can take in response to student suicidal behavior, including:

(I) Student supervision;

(II) Notification of parents or guardians;

(III) Crisis-response protocols;

(IV) When and how to request an immediate mental health assessment or emergency services; and

(V) School re-entry procedures following a student mental health crisis.

(iii) "Suicide postvention" means planned support and interventions schools can implement after a suicide attempt or suicide death of a member of the school community that are designed to:

(I) Reduce the risk of suicide contagion;

(II) Provide support for affected students and school-based personnel;

(III) Address the social stigma associated with suicide; and

(IV) Disseminate factual information about suicide.

(iv) "Suicide prevention" means specific actions schools can take to recognize and reduce suicidal behavior, including:

(I) Identifying risk and protective factors for suicide and suicide warning signs;

(II) Establishing a process by which students are referred to a behavioral health provider for help;

(III) Making available school-based and community-based mental health supports;

(IV) Providing the location of available online and community suicide prevention resources, including local crisis centers and hotlines; and

(V) Adopting policies and protocols regarding suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention, school safety, and crisis response;

(27)(A) Develop and publish a publicly accessible online catalogue of all professional development or training programs offered by OSSE. For each professional development or training program, the catalogue shall include the following:

(i) Date, time, and location of program sessions;

(ii) A program description;

(iii) The number of seats available per session of the program;

(iv) Prerequisites for a particular session or program; and

(v) Instructions for registration.

(B) By June 30 of each year, beginning in 2017, OSSE shall publicly release its catalogue of professional development and training programs offered for the upcoming school year, and it shall periodically update the catalogue as additional programs are added;

(28)(A) Beginning in school year 2016-2017 and continuing through school year 2019-2020, implement a pilot program at select District of Columbia public schools and public charter schools for collecting school climate data through school climate surveys.

(B) Pursuant to the pilot program, participating District of Columbia public schools and public charter schools, in conjunction with OSSE, shall annually issue a school climate survey to enrolled students in grades 7-10, school-based personnel, and the parents or legal guardians of enrolled students in grades 7-10.

(C) Based on the survey data obtained pursuant to the pilot program described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph, OSSE shall annually analyze school climate in the District and report its findings to the Mayor and the Council no later than October 1 following the school year in which the climate data was collected. Each annual report shall include an analysis of school climate data in light of participating schools’ student demographics, to be measured, at a minimum, by students’:

(i) Race or ethnicity;

(ii) Gender;

(iii) Status as an English language learner;

(iv) Status as a student with an individualized education program;

(v) Status as an at-risk student, as defined by § 38-2901(2A); and

(vi) Sexual orientation.

(D) By December 1, 2019, OSSE shall submit to the Council a plan to expand school climate surveys to all District of Columbia public schools and public charter schools serving any grade 6-12, beginning in school year 2020-2021.

(E) For the purposes of this paragraph, the term "school climate survey" means a comprehensive Internet-based survey platform designed to be implemented by local education agencies to collect data from students, parents, and school staff on 3 key domains of school climate:

(i) Engagement, including cultural and linguistic competence, relationships, and participation;

(ii) Safety, including emotional safety, physical safety, bullying and cyberbullying, substance use, and emergency readiness and management; and

(iii) Environment, including physical environment, instructional environment, physical health, mental health, and discipline;

(29) Have the authority to issue grants, from funds under its administration, to District of Columbia public schools or public charter schools, local education agencies, institutions of higher education, nonprofit organizations, and other education service providers to increase access to postsecondary and career education opportunities, including:

(A) Programs implementing career and technical education;

(B) SAT or ACT preparation programs;

[(C)] Dual enrollment programs; and

(D) Programs focused on a successful transition to college and careers;

(29A) Have the authority to increase access, promote retention, and improve District resident completion of postsecondary education in the District by:

(A) Awarding scholarships and financial assistance for tuition, fees, room and board, books, supplies, and other costs of postsecondary education, including:

(i) Dual enrollment programs;

(ii) Costs associated with gaining admission or increasing the chances of gaining admission to an institution of higher education in the District, including test preparation programs, standardized test fees, and application fees;

(iii) Programs designed to support students navigating the college process through completion; and

(iv) Funding if the cost of education prevents a student or prospective student from starting, continuing, or completing their postsecondary education; and

(B) Paying for the financial assistance described in subparagraph (A) of this paragraph through the issuance of direct vouchers or payments to institutions of higher education in the District;

(30) Provide schools the supports set forth in § 38-236.06;

(31)(A) Administer the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System ("YRBSS"), which shall include questions related to the sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression of respondents, to students in District public and public charter schools covered by the YRBSS each year in which the YRBSS is conducted.

(i) The OSSE shall give preference to modules or questions approved by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention related to the sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of respondents.

(ii) The OSSE may develop its own questions related to the sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression of respondents to add to the YRBSS.

(B) Publish a detailed report on the results of each YRBSS on its website, which shall differentiate the prevalence of health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services among the LGBTQ youth population and the general youth population.

(C) Provide schools and LEAs with their respective school-level and LEA-level aggregate data to a subset of high-priority questions from the YRBSS, as determined by OSSE in consideration of relevant stakeholder feedback; and

(32) Have the authority to issue grants, from funds under its administration, to non-profit and community-based organizations to increase access to, the affordability of, and the quality of child care in the District.

(c)(1) There is established as a special fund the Academic Certification and Testing Fund (“Fund”). All fees collected by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education for state academic credential certifications, general educational development testing, or any other state-level education function established pursuant to subsection (b)(17) of this section shall be deposited into the Fund.

(2) All funds deposited into the Fund, and any interest earned on those funds, shall be used for the purposes set forth in paragraph (3) of this subsection. Any unexpended funds in the Academic Certification and Testing Fund at the end of a fiscal year shall revert to the unrestricted fund balance of the General Fund of the District of Columbia.

(3) The Fund shall be administered by the State Superintendent of Education and shall be used to support the administration of state academic credential certifications, General Educational Development, and other state-level programs.