GEPA

 

Section 427 of the General Education Provision Act

Section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA) requires U.S. Department of Education (Department) grantees, such as the Small, Rural School Achievement program (SRSA) grantees, to describe the steps the grantee will take to ensure equitable access to, and participation in, the Federally-assisted program by addressing the special needs of students, teachers, and other program beneficiaries. This provision allows applicants discretion in developing the required description. The statute highlights six types of barriers that can impede equitable access or participation: gender, race, national origin, color, disability, or age. Based on local circumstances, a local educational agency (LEA) should determine whether these or other barriers may prevent students, teachers, or other program beneficiaries from such access or participation in the Federally-funded project or activity.

A GEPA statement is submitted to the Department by an eligible LEA as part of the annual SRSA grant application. Each LEA eligible for SRSA funding will receive an email, directed to the LEA’s Authorized Representative each year containing a link to the LEA’s SRSA application. The Authorized Representative can complete the online application for the LEA by clicking the unique link included in the email. The application requires the Authorized Representative to submit the LEA’s GEPA statement. If an LEA submitted a GEPA statement as part of the prior fiscal year’s SRSA application, the GEPA statement will auto-populate into the current fiscal year’s SRSA application and the Authorized Representative can update the language if the statement is no longer consistent with the LEA’s planned activities under the SRSA program. However, if a GEPA statement was not submitted as part of the prior year’s SRSA application, or if the LEA is applying for the first time, the applicant will be required to provide a GEPA statement.
An LEA must only submit a GEPA statement once per year – this is done as part of the annual SRSA grant application process. It is not necessary for an LEA to inform the Department of changes made to its GEPA statement throughout the year. Further, if the information in the GEPA statement has not changed from one year to the next, the LEA is not required to make any changes to the previously submitted GEPA statement.
A GEPA statement must provide a specific explanation of:
  • the LEA’s proposed use(s) of SRSA grants funds;
AND
  • how the LEA will use SRSA funds in a way that addresses barriers to access and participation in SRSA programs by addressing the special needs of students, teachers, and other program beneficiaries, including barriers based on any federally protected categories, such as gender, race, national origin, color, disability, or age.
An LEA may use SRSA funds to pay for activities that are allowable under Title I, Part A, Title II, Part A, Title III, Title IV, Part A, and Title IV, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). SRSA funds must be used to supplement, and not supplant, any other Federal, State, or local education funds. To learn more about allowable uses of SRSA funds, please review the Uses of Funds Guide and the SRSA page on the REAP website. For additional questions related to cost allowability, please contact the REAP team directly at REAP@ed.gov.
There is not a minimum word count for a GEPA statement, although it may not exceed 1000 characters as part of the SRSA application. For example: The School District will use SRSA funds to upgrade laptops and instructional technology as part of a schoolwide technology upgrade. Special Education students and students who are English learners will receive additional instructional support to ensure they have access to technology tools and have the skills needed to utilize that access. Note that in only two sentences, this example statement provides both the LEA’s proposed use of SRSA grant funds and how the LEA will use SRSA funds in a way that addresses barriers to access and participation in SRSA programs.

See below for GEPA examples from current SRSA grantees:

Technology GEPA Examples:

  1. Our district will use SRSA grant funds to help with paying our testing coordinator along with digital learning academy classes. Our rural school district has a high poverty base and these funds will greatly help with the much needed outside technology classes that our small school cannot afford a one-site certified teacher. We will ensure that no student or teacher will be denied participation based on gender, race, national origin, disability or age.
  2. A majority of students in the school district are from low socioeconomic families, with over 50% available for Free/Reduced Lunch Program. As a result, we plan to use grant funds to integrate technology in all classrooms and on teacher professional development. Students who participate in supplemental programs and all other students in the district will have equal access to these resources. In addition, all teachers will have access to professional development, including those who serve at-risk students.
  3. Our district will use SRSA grant funds to purchase devices and other related items to support the upgrade to our technology and internet needs. Due to our number of low-income students/families, many students do not have the ability to use digital devices on their own. The district is committed to offering a technology rich educational experience for all of our students. These funds will also be used to provide professional development opportunities to our teachers, which they would not otherwise have. We will ensure that no student or teacher will be denied participation based on gender, race, national origin, disability or age.
  4. Our district will use SRSA grant funds to purchase computers and laptops as part of our school-wide technology upgrade. Due to a large number of our students in the district being from low socioeconomic families, the district will use grant funds to integrate technology in all classrooms. All students in the district will have equal access to these resources. We will ensure that no student or teacher will be denied participation based on gender, race, national origin, disability or age.

Professional Development GEPA Example:

  1. Our district will use SRSA grant funds to send staff to trainings to improve K-3 Early Literacy. The training is to ensure students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Staff will come back from the training and help other staff use techniques to ensure all students no matter gender, race, national origin, disability or age are denied help to ensure proper grade level reading. Staff will also be training to ensure all students feel safe and work on proper protocol for improvement of behavior and not disciplinary actions.
  2. Our district will use SRSA grant funds for professional development. Because a significant portion of our students are at or below the poverty level, we will provide funds for teacher training that will assist staff in understanding poverty and how to adapt teaching strategies so that poverty students and their parents will be more engaged in their learning. The goal is that through this strategy, students will learn more and perform better on assessments. We will ensure that no student or teacher will be denied participation based on gender, race, national origin, disability or age.

STEM GEPA Examples:

  1. Our district will use SRSA grant funds to strengthen its district-wide STEM initiative. Because we know that STEM-related classes tend to disproportionally attract boys, we are implementing outreach strategies to encourage more girls to participate in our STEM initiative.

Additional Staff GEPA Examples:

  1. Funds will be used for the salary for our district technology coordinator who provides tech support for our teaching staff and students. This includes servers, networking, personal computers, tablets, software and other technology for all students, including who may not have access to this type of equipment at home. We are committed to ensuring all students and teachers have all technology available to them; regardless of gender, race, national origin, disability or age.
  2. Our district will use SRSA grant funds toward our guidance counselor efforts to support our low-income families/special needs/ESL population. Time is allocated for her to work with these families to ensure communication between home and school with constant conversations through home visits, school meetings, phone calls, emails etc. addressing safety issues, supporting living conditions, attendance, interpreters, meeting IEP requirements, etc. We will ensure that no student or teacher will be denied participation based on gender, race, national origin, disability or age.
  3. Our district will use SRSA grant funds to hire additional art and music instructors, fund field trips, and make technology purchases. Because of the isolation of the island schoolhouse, it is necessary that the students receive exposure to a broad curriculum that brings them both personally and virtually in contact with instruction and experiences that all other students receive who are not being educated in such a unique environment. We will ensure that no student or teacher will be denied participation based on gender, race, national origin, disability or age.

School Climate GEPA Example:

  1. Our district will use the SRSA funds to increase safety and enhance the social emotional well-being of our students. Our district will focus on non-discrimination awareness programs for all sub-groups including gender, race, ethnicity, gender orientation and socio-economic status, through outreach to families and community members. Additionally, our district will initiate professional development in this area for all staff.
Last Modified: 05/12/2021