Federal & Specialized Programs

This page has been provided to guide our team and the public in gathering an understanding about our federal and specialized programs in Essex County Public Schools. The Federal and Specialized Programs Office is managed by the Senior Director of Teaching and Learning. 

The goals of federal and specialized programs are to:

References: Accreditation and Accountability // Office of School Quality // Office of Federal Programs [Virginia Department of Education]

The Virginia Department of Education produces annual School Quality Profiles for schools and school divisions within the state of Virginia.  School Quality Profiles provide information about student achievement, accreditation ratings, program completion, teacher quality, school safety, graduation rates, and other relevant data.  

To access the School Quality Profiles for Essex County Public Schools, Essex High School, James H. Cary Intermediate School, or Tappahannock Elementary School, select the Virginia Department of Education - School Quality Profiles website. 


The Federal Programs Office manages several grants aimed at supporting instruction for students through highly qualified faculty and staff.  These grants include Title I – Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged; Title II Part A – Improving Teacher Quality; Title III – Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students; Title V – Rural and Low-Income Program; and, pandemic relief funds (i.e., ESSER II, ESSER III). 


The purpose of this handbook is to provide an overview, information, and use of each of the grants managed by the Essex County Public Schools Federal Programs Office. 

Federal Program Grants Handbook 2023-2024

Types of grants managed by federal programs

Competitive/Discretionary Funding: A process of proposal selection based on the evaluation of a reviewer or team of reviewers. Funding is based on the merits of the application, and recipients are not predetermined (e.g., Project Lead the Way (PLTW), Recruitment and Retention (RARS 1.0, 2.0), NOAA-Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences B-WET Grants).

Formula Funding: Formula grants are given to pre-determined recipients. Non-competitive awards are usually allocated to eligible entities according to population and/or other census criteria, and all applicants who meet the minimum requirements of the application process are entitled to receive money.

Allowable Uses of federal Program GRANTS & PANDEMIC RELIEF FUNDS

ECPS Title I Brochure_2023-2024.docx
ECPS Parents Right to Know Notification (Annual Parent Letter)_2023-2024
ECPS Title I School-Parent Compact_2023-2024

specialized programs

English language learners (ELL)

Division Operational Definition of ESL: 

An English Learner in the Commonwealth of Virginia is classified according to the federal government definition as: 

(A.) who is aged 3 through 21; (B.) who is enrolled or preparing to enroll in an elementary school or secondary school; (C.) (i.) who was not born in the United States or whose native language is a language other than English; and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant;


(ii.) (I.) who is a Native American or Alaska Native, or a native resident of outlying areas; and (II.) who comes from an environment where a language other than English has had a significant impact on the individual’s level of English language proficiency;


(iii.) who is migratory, whose native language is a language other than English, and who comes from an environment where a language other than English is dominant;


(D.) whose difficulties speaking, reading, writing, or understanding the English language may be sufficient to deny the individual – (i.) the ability to meet the state’s proficient level of achievement on state assessments; (ii.) the ability to achieve successfully in classrooms where the language of instruction is English; or (iii.) the opportunity to participate fully in society. 

ESL Goals and Objectives


If the Home Language Survey indicates that English is not the dominant language in the home environment, ECPS will screen the student for English language development. School counselors or ESOL teachers have two choices when screening for language proficiency:

1. If the student has been enrolled in a Virginia public school, staff will contact the previous school for an ACCESS or WIDA score and ELD level for placement in the ECPS ESOL Program. Students that transfer in from a WIDA state (found on the WIDA website: www.wida.us) will use their ACCESS or WIDA score and WIDA level for placement in ECPS.


2. If the student is newly arrived, or does not have an ELD level assigned by a Virginia school division or other WIDA state based on the ACCESS score or WIDA screener,  ECPS staff will screen the student using the World Class Instructional Design and Assessment (WIDA) assessment or the Kindergarten MODEL. The results of the entry assessment will be used to determine if the student qualifies for language instruction programs. This screening must take place within two weeks of the student's enrollment. Please check with the sending school to see if the student was screened with the WIDA screener before leaving the school. If so, ask that the WIDA screener results be sent. VDOE requires the WIDA to be given only one time per calendar year. If the sending school did not administer the WIDA, then administer it to the newly enrolled student. 

Placement of EL Students 

Students identified as needing ESOL services will be placed in a language instruction program based on English language proficiency level and grade. ESOL students are placed at the grade level appropriate for their age. 

online education

Any student enrolled in any online course or virtual program offered by the school division shall be enrolled in a public school in Virginia as provided in VA Code §22.1-3.1. The student's parent or guardian shall give written permission prior to the enrollment of the student in any full-time virtual program offered by the school division.

A student who resides in Essex County will not be charged tuition for enrolling in any online course or virtual program offered by the school division.  However, tuition may be charged to students who do not reside within the boundaries of the school division.

Essex County Public Schools offers high school students online curriculum options through Virtual Virginia or Edgenuity. Virtual Virginia and Edgenuity are service providers authorized by the Virginia Department of Education. Permission to enroll in online instruction must be obtained through the student’s guidance counselor and school principal.  Students may be scheduled in an online learning course due to a lack of availability or scheduling conflict within the school. 

Information about Virtual Virginia is available at: https://www.virtualvirginia.org/

Information about Edgenuity is available at: https://www.edgenuity.com/

virginia preschool initiative (vpi)

The Virginia Preschool Initiative distributes state funds to schools and community-based organizations to provide quality preschool programs for at-risk four-year-olds unserved by the federal Head Start program. The purpose of the grant is to reduce disparities among young children upon formal school entry and to reduce or eliminate those risk factors that lead to early academic failure. To obtain state funding, localities must develop a written local plan for programs that includes:

Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) Handbook 2023-2024

How are children selected?

Children are selected based on the guidelines set forth by the state. The students are screened by a qualified teacher using the assessment tool identified by the state. We offer one VPI class; therefore, we may have a waiting list. The teachers will advise parents of the students selected to participate in the class. 

what is the cost?

There is no cost for students and families participating in the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) programs. 

what are the hours?

The VPI classrooms use the same school day hours and calendar as the school in which they are located.