I too have experienced fluctuating Direct Certification #’s. :woohoo: Not only do some students fall off and then back on the list, but not all of my students are listed (My expectation is that the DC list would show ALL of my enrolled (and Fall 1 certified) students, not just 2/3’rds of them.
If you have a stable school (no adds, no exits) with say 1000 students, and 150 of them have been identified as Direct Cert in August, why would the same students drop OFF and ON the list throughout the year?
This could be happening because one of the reporting agencies doesn’t submit a monthly file (I am hypothesizing).
But I have to admit to the group that I remain confused over the validity and functionality of this Direct Certification list and why it changes so frequently.
To recap my strained understanding of the Direct Certification process:
1. The Direct Certification list is a list compiled by external agencies that supply the list of pre-approved students who are eligible to receive free lunch.
2. This list is usually updated every month, with the first report of the new academic year usually released around August 5th.
However, until you start your school year (e.g. August 28th) and begin enrolling students into CALPADS, the system won’t KNOW which students are YOURS until you have entered each as enrollments. Let’s say you complete this process in the first 20 days of school. So by October 1st or so, you’ve got all of your new students entered as enrollments in CALPADS. You would expect that the October 5th report would include ALL of these students. But it usually won’t because the October list is generated and submitted by external agencies to CALPADS well before this date.
Also, if you are at the 20th day of school and you have NOT sent the paper applications out, you are technically in violation of the law. So our process is this: Print out the August 5th list which will likely contain only the names of returning students. Enter those students into the system before school starts. Then, send paper applications home to everyone else. Enter the information into your SIS and then, in the rare case that a student does not return the paper application but shows up on a subsequent DC list, you can add those students to the program at that time.
3. Schools can add the students on this list as program records in their SIS system and do NOT need to send paper applications home to parents/guardians as students are ALREADY eligible.
4. If a student appears on the Direct Certification report at ANY time during the August 5th through November 1st (I could be off on this date), then they are eligible to receive free reduced lunch for the whole year AND they can be included as a CALPADS program record for the academic year and count in the Fall 1 certification numbers
5. Students who appear on subsequent direct certification reports (e.g. December through May) would still be enrolled in a program record in your SIS and receive free lunch when they do finally qualify, BUT SCHOOLS WOULD LIKELY NEED TO SEND HOME THE APPLICATION PAPERWORK ANYWAYS SINCE THE STUDENT IS A MID-YEAR TRANSFER AND WE WOULDN’T WANT TO WAIT 4 WEEKS UNTIL THE DIRECT CERT COMES AROUND AGAIN, RIGHT?
6. The numbers on the Direct Certification report from CALPADS must align to the numbers we submit through the CNIPS online program (a separate login page). The CNIPS program asks us to breakout the Individual PROGRAMS (cal works vs. cal fresh) and this info is designated as letters (“O” and “S”) on the Direct Cert report.
That’s the extent of my personal knowledge on this matter, now here’s my questions/suggestions.
1. Wouldn’t it be better to have the CALPADS report use “W” for calWorks and “F” for calFresh instead of “O” and “S”. Then at least I would know what I was looking at.
2. Should we retain back-ups of the August, September, October and November CALPADS Direct Certification reports since students drop on and off the different monthly lists? How else would we be able to justify a DC student when they no longer appear on the October or November lists but did appear on the August list? Well, there is the paper option, of course, but this was supposed to remedy that burden . . .
3. Can the CALPADS list also display case #’s or case manager’s phone numbers in case we have additional questions? Being told to “contact Los Angeles County Social Services” is not a viable option, as I can spend hours (days?) trying to locate some of this information.