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School and Staffing Survey (SASS)



3. KEY CONCEPTS

Because of the large number of concepts in SASS surveys, only those pertaining to the level of data collection (LEA, school, teacher, library) are described in this section. For additional terms, the reader is referred to glossaries in SASS reports.

Local Education Agency (LEA). A public school district, or LEA, is defined as a government agency employing elementary- and secondary-level teachers and administratively responsible for providing public elementary and/or secondary instruction and educational support services. Districts that do not operate schools but employ teachers were last included in the 1999–2000 SASS. (For example, some states have special education cooperatives that employ special education teachers who teach in schools in more than one school district.)

Public School. An institution that provides educational services for at least one of grades 1–12 (or comparable ungraded levels), has one or more teachers to give instruction, is located in one or more buildings, receives public funds as primary support, and is operated by an education agency. Schools in juvenile detention centers and schools located on military bases and operated by the Department of Defense are included.

Private School. An institution that is not in the public system and that provides instruction for any of grades 1–12 (or comparable ungraded levels). The instruction must be given in a building that is not used primarily as a private home. Private schools are divided into three categories: (1) Catholic: parochial, diocesan, private order; (2) other religious: affiliated with a conservative Christian school association, affiliated with a national denomination, unaffiliated; and (3) nonsectarian: regular, special program emphasis, special education. The classification of nonsectarian schools by program emphasis disentangles private schools offering a conventional academic program (regular) from those that either serve special-needs children (special education) or provide a program with a special emphasis (e.g., arts and sciences).

Charter School. A charter school is a public school that, in accordance with an enabling state statute, has been granted a charter exempting it from selected state or local rules and regulations. A charter school may be a newly created school or it may previously have been a public or private school.

BIE School. A school funded by the Bureau of Indian Education of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior. These schools may be operated by the BIE, a tribe, a private contrac­tor, or an LEA.

Library Media Center. A library media center is an organized collection of printed, audiovisual, or com­puter resources that (a) is administered as a unit, (b) is located in a designated place or places, and (c) makes resources and services available to students, teachers, and administrators.

Teacher. A full- or part-time teacher who teaches any regularly scheduled classes in any of grades K–12.2 This includes administrators, librarians, and other professional or support staff who teach regularly scheduled classes on a part-time basis. Itinerant teachers are also included, as well as long-term substitutes who are filling the role of a regular teacher on a long-term basis. An itinerant teacher is one who teaches at more than one school (e.g., a music teacher who teaches 3 days per week at one school and 2 days per week at another). Short-term substitute teachers and student teachers are not included.

2A teacher teaching only kindergarten students is in scope, provided the school serves students in a grade higher than kindergarten.

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