Schoolwide Programs: Comprehensive Needs Assessment

If your campus would like to operate a Title I, Part A schoolwide program, the comprehensive needs assessment (CNA) is the first step of a required, year-long planning process. A campus that already operates a schoolwide program can use this planning process to update or revise its existing campus improvement plan. An updated CNA, in particular, can help the campus identify how its needs have changed over time.

The CNA is critical to planning and implementing a successful schoolwide program. The purpose of the CNA is to identify your campus’s educational strengths and the areas that need improvement. This will help you prioritize the areas that most affect student achievement and guide the development of your campus improvement plan.

Developing the Comprehensive Needs Assessment

Your CNA should focus on academic and other information about all students on your campus, including economically disadvantaged students, students from major racial and ethnic groups, students with disabilities, limited English proficient students, and migrant students. This information must include student achievement in relation to state standards, and should also include the campus's current status regarding student needs, curriculum and instruction, professional development, family and community involvement, and campus context and organization.

There are five recommended steps you should take to conduct the CNA:

  1. Establish a schoolwide planning team. Your campus needs an effective team to lead the development of the schoolwide program. This team should organize and oversee the CNA process; lead staff in developing the campus improvement plan; and conduct or oversee the program’s annual evaluation. In addition to the principal or another knowledgeable instructional leader, the team might consist of campus and district administrators; teachers representing different grades and content areas; other professional staff on the campus, such as guidance counselors and curriculum specialists; parents and other community members; and students (in a secondary school).
  2. Clarify the vision for reform. Before the CNA begins, campus staff should discuss their vision for a reformed campus in terms of student success, and the difference between that vision and the campus in its current state. This discussion helps identify the strengths and challenges the campus must address to achieve meaningful change, improve student achievement, and attain the collective vision.
  3. Create the campus profile. All staff must understand the campus’s current state in order to understand the gap between the current campus and the campus after reform. A campus profile, which is a data-driven description of the campus’s student, staff, and community demographics, programs, and mission, can help identify the focus areas of the CNA and suggest critical areas that the team can address in the campus improvement plan.
  4. Identify data sources. The schoolwide planning team should gather and organize data in the identified areas of focus. Some of the necessary quantitative data, such as student achievement results, enrollment counts, dropout rates, and graduation rates is readily available. The team may also have to gather qualitative data by using written surveys or interviews, focus groups, or classroom observations.
  5. Analyze data. The team should conduct thorough data analysis to progress from gathering information to creating a campus improvement plan that accurately and realistically addresses the key issues facing the campus.

The schoolwide planning team should create a report or other document that summarizes the data it gathered and used, the conclusions it drew from the analysis, and the needs it identified.

Additional Guidance from TEA

Additional guidance about Title I, Part A schoolwide programs is available at the following web pages:

Schoolwide Programs
This is the home page for Title I, Part A schoolwide programs, and provides general information about choosing to implement a schoolwide program, eligibility, and basic requirements.

General Information about Schoolwide Programs
This page describes the general purpose, goals, and fundamental principles of Title I, Part A schoolwide programs.

Schoolwide Programs: Campus Improvement Plan
This page provides detailed information about the required campus improvement plan, including the required accounting and program components.

Schoolwide Programs: Annual Evaluation Plan
This page provides detailed information about the required annual evaluation plan, including recommended steps to follow.

Choosing a Consolidation Option for Schoolwide Programs
This page contains a chart showing the differences between the three ways you can consolidate funds in schoolwide programs.

Fiscal Issues Related to Operating a Schoolwide Program
This page describes various fiscal issues related to operating a schoolwide program, including adequate documentation, appropriate accounting structures, and specific fiscal requirements such as set-asides, supplement not supplant, and time and effort.

Additional Guidance from USDE 

This page summarizes the information and requirements given by the US Department of Education. The source documents are available at the links below:

Section 1114 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA)

Designing Schoolwide Programs, Non-Regulatory Guidance, March 2006 (Word, 452 KB, outside source)

Title I, Part A Fiscal Issues, Non-Regulatory Guidance, February, 2008 (Word, 995 KB, outside source)

Federal Register, July 2, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 127)

Contact Information 

For more information about Title I, Part A schoolwide programs, please contact Anita Villarreal in the Division of Federal and State Education Policy at

For more information about the TEA federal flexibility initiative, please contact Terry Reyes in the Office for Grants and Federal Fiscal Compliance at