Title I and IX Non-Discrimination Notice
Title I, Part A is a federal program that provides financial assistance to public schools with high numbers or percentages of lower income children as demonstrated by free and reduced lunch numbers. These funds help ensure that all children are making progress toward meeting state academic content and student academic achievement standards. North Carolina Virtual Academy (NCVA) receives Title 1 funding and is considered a “schoolwide program” due to its number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. As a charter school, NCVA does not apply for Title 1 funding as we would for a competitive grant. Because we qualify to receive federal funding, we apply to the Department of Public Instruction explaining how we proposed to use those funds to improve academic achievement for NCVA students. Currently, the grant uses funding for these major purposes: (1) increasing student engagement and (2) offering interventions in identified core content areas.
Parents’ Right to Know
Parents can request information about any teacher of their child. Under federal law pertaining to Title 1 schools, parents have the right to know:
- Whether a teacher has met state qualification and licensing criteria for the grade levels and subject areas in which the teacher provides instruction;
- Whether a teacher is teaching under emergency or other provisional status through which state qualification or licensing criteria have been waived;
- The degree or major of a teacher and any other graduate certificate held by the teacher and the field of discipline of the degree or certification.
In addition to the information that parents may request, a school that receives Title 1 funds must provide each individual parent a timely notice that the parent’s child has been assigned or has been taught for four or more consecutive weeks by a teacher who is not highly qualified. The notice and information provided to parents must be in an understandable and uniform format and, to the extent possible, provided in a language that parents can understand. This applies to all core academic subjects in a Title 1 school regardless if the school has a schoolwide or targeted assistance program.
NCVA is committed to providing an environment free from all forms of sex discrimination against students and employees. Discrimination includes any gender-based disparate treatment, harassment, hostile environment, violence, or retaliation as prohibited by state and federal law. This policy provides guidelines for addressing instances or alleged instances of school-related sex discrimination. NCVA reserves the authority to deal independently in matters involving alleged sex discrimination regardless of whether a complaint has been lodged in accordance with the complaint procedure set forth below.
Dissemination of Information
NCVA shall notify applicants for admission and employment, students, parents/guardians of school students, employees (including by materials related to admission and employment), that NCVA does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs or activities. The notification shall be made in the form and manner required by law.
- Sex Discrimination (Students). Sex discrimination occurs when a person, because of his or her sex, is denied participation in or the benefits of any educational program or activity. Sexual harassment, a form of discrimination, is conduct that: 1) is sexual in nature; 2) is unwelcome; and 3) denies or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from a school’s educational program or activity. Sexual harassment can be verbal, nonverbal, or physical.
- Sex Discrimination (Job Applicants and Employees). Sex discrimination occurs when a person who is qualified for a position at issue is subjected to an adverse employment action because of his or her sex. Sexual harassment, another form of discrimination, is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: 1) submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of employment; 2) submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or 3) the conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with the employee’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment.
- Retaliation. Retaliation, another form of discrimination, is a hostile act taken against a person who complains of sex discrimination or who assists in a discrimination investigation.
Information and Assistance
Any individual (“complainant”) who believes he or she may have experienced any form of sex discrimination, including retaliation, or who has witnessed such actions taking place, may receive information and assistance regarding NCVA’s policies and reporting procedures from the NCVA Title IX coordinator, identified below:
Complaint Investigation Guidelines and Procedures
The following shall serve as guidelines and procedures under normal circumstances of a complaint process. Deviation from any such provisions may be necessary in the discretion of the Title IX coordinator or NCVA legal counsel, but shall only occur when necessary, and in the most timely manner feasible under the circumstances. Any substantive deviation from the procedures below should be documented as to its nature and cause. Specific timeframes indicated below are noted in bold font (in addition to section headers). In instances involving clear risk of serious harm or injury, all necessary action shall be taken immediately or as soon as possible to protect interested parties and/or NCVA.
- Informal resolution. Any member of the school community who believes he or she is subject to or witnesses any unwelcomed behavior that may not amount to actual discrimination or retaliation, is encouraged, if feasible, to reasonably attempt to resolve the matter informally, promptly, and discreetly, by communicating directly with the person(s) causing the perceived unwelcomed treatment.
- Formal Complaint. Any member of the school community (“complainant”) should report the matter to NCVA’s Title IX coordinator, or alternatively, a school counselor, supervisor, or the head of school. The complainant, with assistance as needed, should complete a Sex Discrimination Complaint Form (“complaint form”). A formal complaint should be filed promptly, and at least within fourteen (14) calendar days of the first date of the alleged sex discrimination. However, failure to file a complaint by such time shall not preclude later filing of a complaint and/or initiation of an investigation into sex discrimination.
- Appointment of Title IX Coordinator Designee. If the complaint implicates the Title IX coordinator, or for any other reason the Title IX coordinator should not direct the investigation due to a conflict of interest, unavailability, or otherwise, then the head of school, school attorney, or other person (“designee”) assigned by the school board chairperson shall serve in lieu of the Title IX coordinator. Whoever leads the investigation process will be considered the complaint “investigator” throughout. Any reference, hereafter, to the Title IX coordinator shall be understood to include any appointed designee by the school board chairperson. Any designee appointment should be made promptly, and at least within two working days from the time notice is given to the board chairman, of the need for such appointment.
- Consultation with Legal Counsel. If the investigator determines upon initial or subsequent consideration that a complaint appears to present reasonably credible allegations of sex discrimination or other matters of legal significance, the investigator shall inform the board chair, promptly. The investigator and/or board chair shall subsequently and promptly consult with NCVA legal counsel, then and beyond as necessary to ensure proper legal process and protection. In addition, if the complaint is made against an employee of K12, Inc., NCVA’s legal counsel shall promptly notify legal counsel for K12, Inc.
- Interim Measures. During a complaint investigation, the Title IX coordinator shall act (if authorized to do so) or recommend action to appropriate supervisory personnel or board chairperson (as necessary) to implement necessary interim measures to ensure that the complainant, NCVA, and/or others are protected during the investigation. This includes removing the complainant from any potential risk of harm or potential discrimination, or removing the alleged aggressor as necessary in a non-punitive manner pending the investigation (e.g., suspension with pay, change of assignment or placement). Such interim measures should be recommended and, if approved, taken promptly, and typically within one working day of notice of such need.
- Investigation. The investigator shall impartially and thoroughly investigate the complaint in a confidential manner and shall reasonably document such efforts. The investigation should begin promptly and no later than one working day within receipt of a properly filed complaint. Alternatively, if the investigator believes an external or other alternative investigator (e.g., the school attorney) should be appointed, he or she should upon such determination recommend immediately such appointment to NCVA’s board chairperson, who shall promptly determine whether to approve and carry out the recommendation at least within two (2) working days. The investigator shall meet with all individuals reasonably believed to have relevant information, including the complainant and the individual(s) against whom the complaint is lodged, and witnesses. All involved persons shall maintain confidentiality except as otherwise required by law. All relevant investigation efforts, evidence, and findings shall be properly documented and preserved. The investigator shall promptly conduct and complete the interview process at least within fourteen (14) calendar days of initiating the investigation.
- Investigative Determination. Upon completing the investigation, the investigator shall, after appropriate consideration and consultation, make a written determination (“determination”) that includes findings of fact, conclusions concerning the complaint’s validity, any recommended remedial actions (to the extent permissible under confidentiality laws), and other matters relevant to the complaint and investigation, including procedures related to the right to appeal the determination. The investigator shall provide copies of the determination to the parties and other interested persons, except to the extent confidentiality requirements preclude such disclosure. The investigation and the determination should be completed as early as feasible, and no later than twenty-one (21) calendar days from the investigation’s initiation.
- Corrective Action. If after an investigation, the investigator determines that there is reasonable cause to believe that sex discrimination or other misconduct has occurred, he or she shall take prompt and appropriate corrective action (if within the investigator’s authority) or recommendation to appropriate supervisors (as needed) corrective action to stop and prevent future misconduct. The investigator may also arrange for or recommend confidential counseling, training, discipline, suspension, and/or student expulsion or employee termination as is fitting for any offending person. Such action or recommendation shall be made at the earliest point feasible, considering factors such as degree of risk, nature of the conduct, and whether the determination is appealed.
- Right to Board Hearing. If any party involved in the investigation wishes to challenge the determination, that person may file, by submission to the Title IX coordinator, a written request for review by the school board (or a panel thereof) pursuant to applicable board hearing procedures in place at the time. A copy of such procedures and any applicable form(s) will be provided promptly to such party upon request. Such request for review shall be made no later than seven (7) days after receipt of the determination. Failure to request review in a timely and proper manner may preclude the right to a review hearing.
Other Guidelines and Procedures
- Retention of Investigative Records. Unless advised otherwise by legal counsel, NCVA will retain records relative to a NCVA-initiated investigation for the greater of a period of seven years or the minimum retention period required by law.
- Release of Investigative Records. NCVA will not release any investigative files, including interviews and findings unless authorized by legal counsel or otherwise legally required.
- Disclosures to Third Parties. No NCVA employee or agent involved in an investigation shall disclose any confidential matter associated with the investigation to a person not in a need-to-know position, except in consultation with legal counsel or as otherwise legally required.