Program Activity and Review System (PARS21)


PARS21 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


July 2005


This collection of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) is based on email queries submitted by PARS21 users. The answers that were provided by PARS21 Technical Support personnel could help you answer your questions about the PARS21 system.


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Q: What is the purpose of the PARS21 reporting system?
A: The Program Activity and Review System (PARS21) was developed in 2004 so that grantees of two discretionary grant programs funded by the U. S. Department of Education (USDE) – the Even Start Family Literacy (ESFL) Program and the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21stCCLC) Program – could meet state and federal requirements for accurate and comprehensive reporting. Through PARS21, recipients of program funds (grantees) enter data over the Internet on staff, participants, activities, and outcomes for accountability and reporting purposes.

Q: What is the Even Start Family Literacy (ESFL) Program?
A: The ESFL program is a comprehensive family literacy program that is designed to help break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy by improving the educational opportunities of low-income families. The ESFL program – which is governed by Title I, Part B, Subpart 3 of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 – seeks to achieve this goal by integrating early childhood education, adult literacy or adult basic education, and parenting education into a unified family literacy program. (To learn more about the ESFL program, visit: http://www.state.nj.us/njded/titles/title1/even/)

Q: What is the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21stCCLC) Program?
A: The 21stCCLC program is an after-school academic enrichment program for children attending low-performing schools. Through the 21stCCLC program – which is governed by Title IV, Part B of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 – approved centers offer academic, artistic, and cultural enrichment opportunities to students and their families when school is not in session. (To learn more about the 21st CCLC program, visit: http://www.nj.gov/njded/21cclc/)








Q: How do I access PARS21?
A: Go to the NJDOE Homeroom page (http://homeroom.state.nj.us) and click the PARS21 link to access the PARS21 Welcome page. Anyone can view the Welcome page and access the hyperlinks that are available there to support use of PARS21. However, to login to PARS21, you must be a registered user.

Q: Who can login to PARS21?
A: Only the following individuals are granted user names and passwords to login and access PARS21:
  • NJ Department of Education (NJDOE) program officers
  • ESFL or 21stCCLC grantee project directors/coordinators
  • ESFL or 21stCCLC grantee site directors/coordinators (who are designated by grantee project directors/coordinators)
Q: How can I register as a PARS21 user?
A: This process is automatic. Once an ESFL or 21stCCLC grant is approved, an NJDOE program officer is assigned to the grant and enters information from the grant application into PARS21. After the NJDOE program officer enters the grantee project director/coordinator's contact information, PARS21 automatically issues the grantee project director/coordinator an email containing a PARS21 user name and password.

Q: I have not yet received a user ID and password. What should I do?
A: If you are the grantee project director/coordinator, send an email to PARS21@DOE.STATE.NJ.US. In your email, identify the grant program (ESFL or 21stCCLC), the name of the grantee, your name, and your position. An NJDOE program officer will provide you with a user name and password. If you are a site director/coordinator, you will automatically be emailed a user name and password after your grantee project director/coordinator enters your contact information. (When the grantee project director/coordinator begins using the system, a preliminary step is to enter information about sites at which grant programs will be conducted. As part of this process, the grantee project director/coordinator enters contact information for the site director/coordinator. Once this information is entered, PARS21 automatically issues the site director/coordinator an email containing a PARS21 user name and password.)

Q: I attempted to login to PARS21 by clicking the Login button on the Welcome page. But when I entered my information, I got a message that said my user name and password were not valid. What's wrong?
A: Your User name and password are both case sensitive. That is, you must enter them exactly as they appear in the email you received. For example, if your user name is BGonzalez, the letters 'B' and 'G' must be capitalized and the other letters must be typed in lowercase. When entering your user name and password, make sure Caps Lock is not accidentally selected.

Q: My password is hard to remember. Can I change it?
A: You cannot change your user name, but you can change your password from the Login page. Before logging in, click the words "change password" in the statement "Click here to change password," then complete the required fields.

Q: Do all users have equal access to PARS21?
A: The extent of an individual's access to PARS21 is determined by his/her role in the grant program for which s/he entering or reporting data:
  • NJDOE level: NJDOE program officers have access to all levels of PARS21 for all ESFL and 21stCCLC program grantees.
  • Grantee level: Grantee project directors/coordinators have access to information about all sites involved in the grant program for which they are responsible and may update contact information for partner agencies, collaborators, and site directors/coordinators as needed.
  • Site level: Grantee site directors/coordinators have access only to information about the specific program delivery site for which they are responsible.
Q: What is the role of the NJDOE program officer?
A: Before grantee project directors/coordinators and site directors/coordinators can access PARS21, NJDOE program officers must first enter critical information about approved grants. Once this information has been entered and grantees are using the system, NJDOE program officers are available to answer user questions and to modify or update grant information as needed. If you have a question or need help, email PARS21 at PARS21@DOE.STATE.NJ.US or contact your NJDOE program officer.

Q: What is the role of the grantee project director/coordinator?
A: The grantee project director/coordinator can:
  • Access information about his/her grant
  • Add a site to the list of program delivery sites
  • Enter or change contact information for the grant program's partner agencies, collaborators, and site directors/coordinators
  • Record data about participants, staff, and activities for any and all sites associated with the program
  • Order reports for any and all sites associated with the grant project
Q: What is the role of the grantee site director/coordinator?
A: The grantee site director/coordinator can:
  • Access information about his/her program site
  • Record data on participants, staff, and activities associated with his/her site
  • Order reports for his/her site





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Q:I am a site director/coordinator for our grant program. I just moved. How do I change my contact information?
A: Only grantee project directors/coordinators can modify contact information for the site directors/coordinators associated with their grant programs. To learn how, go to the PARS21 User Manual. From the Table of Contents, jump to Chapter 3: The Role of the Grantee > Entering Site Information > Reviewing and Editing Contact Information.

Q: How do I remove a site director/coordinator from a PARS21 user account?
A: Only grantee project directors/coordinators can change the name and email address of a site contact person. The grantee project director/coordinator can only delete a site director/coordinator by changing the site director/coordinator's contact information to reflect a new site director/coordinator. To learn how, go to the PARS21 User Manual. From the Table of Contents, jump to Chapter 3: The Role of the Grantee > Entering Site Information > Reviewing and Editing Contact Information. When you are through, the PARS21 system will automatically issue a user name and password to the new contact person, and it will delete the user name and password of the former user.

Q: How do I edit the grantee project director's contact information?
A: Only grantee project directors/coordinators can edit contact information. They can edit their own contact information as well as the contact information for any sites, partner agencies, and collaborators associated with their programs. To learn how, go to the PARS21 User Manual. From the Table of Contents, jump to Chapter 3: The Role of the Grantee > Entering Site Information > Reviewing and Editing Contact Information.








Q: What is a "grant?"
A: For the purposes of PARS21, a grant is a financial award made by the ESFL Program or the 21stCCLC Program to a qualified recipient based upon statutory and/or department criteria.

Q: What is a "contract?"
A: Each year of a grant program is considered a contract. (For example, a three-year grant would consist of three "contracts.") Breaking a grant period into contract years provides a mechanism for tracking annual grant activity. For example, if the grant period is from October 1, 2005, to September 30, 2009, the first contract period might be October 1, 2005, to September 30, 2006; the second contract period might be October 1, 2006, to September 30, 2007; and so on for the duration of the grant.

Q: What is a "partner agency?"
A: A partner agency is an entity that, in cooperation with the grantee/lead agency, designs, executes, and expends financial or human resources on the grant program. The ESFL Program requires a partnership between at least one LEA or IHE and one or more of the other organizations listed below. The 21stCCLC Program encourages partnerships with any of these organizations as well as private organizations. Partners may include one or more:
  • Local educational agencies (LEAs)
  • Institutions of higher education (IHEs)
  • Public or private nonprofit agencies (NPAs)
  • Faith-based organizations (FBOs)
  • Community-based organizations (CBOs)
Q: What is a "collaborator?"
A: A collaborator is an agency that supports the goals of the grant by contributing materials, services, and other assets to the grant program. The use of collaborators allows for more efficient use of local resources and encourages cooperation among diverse organizations, thereby strengthening the quality and variety of services communities offer.

Q: What is a "site?"
A: The definition of a site varies with the two grant programs:
  • ESFL: A site is the location at which the program is administered – most often the location of the lead agency. As such, there is only one site.
  • 21stCCLC: A site is a location at which program activities are held. 21stCCLC programs may have multiple sites.
Q: What is an "entity?
A: An entity is an organization or institution that plays a role in an ESFL or 21stCCLC grant program. For example, an entity may be a school district; a school, college, or university; a nonprofit organization; or a for-profit organization. Within the grant program, it may function as a grantee/lead agency, partner, collaborator, and/or site.

Q: What is a "staff member?"
A: For the purposes of tracking grant activity through PARS21 only, staff are personnel who interact with ESFL and 21stCCLC participants to deliver the grant program. It makes no difference whether the staff member is paid with grant funds or other funds. Personnel who perform clerical duties are not considered staff for this purpose.

Q: What is a "participant?"
A: Participants include any individuals – adults and/or children – currently served through either the ESFL or 21stCCLC Programs.

Q: What is the difference between a "primary" participant and a "secondary" participant?
A: PARS21 is designed to capture data on all participants. In addition, the system can connect participants who belong to the same family. To do this, you must designate one family member as the primary participant, and then add additional family members as secondary participants. Secondary participants are considered "attached" to the primary participant for the purposes of linking families in PARS21. When adding a new participant, consider ESFL and 21stCCLC grant program guidelines to determine whether s/he should be designated as primary or secondary:
  • ESFL: The primary participant must be an adult.
  • 21stCCLC: Any family member can be designated as the primary participant.
Q: What is an "activity?"
A: An activity is any scheduled program – academic or recreational – that is funded and delivered as a result of an ESFL or 21stCCLC grant (for example, remedial education activities, sports activities, parenting education classes, ESL activities, family recreation activities, home-based education activities).

Q: What is a "session?"
A: A session is one meeting of an activity. For example, if an activity is offered every Friday evening for eight weeks, the activity consists of eight sessions, and every Friday night meeting constitutes a single session.

Q: What is an "outcome?"
A: Outcomes vary with the two grant programs:
  • ESFL: PARS21 collects outcome information for ESFL adult participants in four areas: Education/training, Adult education, High school, and Parenting (which includes outcomes related to home-based education and parent/child interactive time). PARS21 collects outcome information for ESFL child participants in one area: Early Childhood Education.

  • 21stCCLC: PARS21 collects outcome information for 21stCCLC student participants in two areas: State Assessment and Teacher Survey. This information is collected for students who attend the program for 30 or more days (federal requirement) or 70 or more days (state requirement) over the course of the program year; outcome information is not collected for 21stCCLC adult participants.







Q: How do I enter data?
A: The order in which you enter data about your grant program is significant. Information is hierarchical. For example, because all program information is site-specific, no information about program activities can be entered until the grantee project director/coordinator enters site information. Similarly, when entering information about activities, you must link each activity with staff and participants; therefore, information about program staff as well as children and adult participants must be entered first. For an overview of the data entry process, go to the PARS21 User Manual. From the Table of Contents, jump to Chapter 3: The Role of the Grantee > Data Entry Overview. Chapter 3 of the User Manual also details procedures for all levels of data entry.

Q: How do I know what data to enter?
A: Before entering data, it' a good idea to access, print, and photocopy PARS21 data entry screens for use as data collection templates. To learn how to do this, go to the PARS21 User Manual. From the Table of Contents, jump to Chapter 3: The Role of the Grantee > Step 1: Collecting Data.

Q:How often does data need to be entered into the PARS21 database?
A:Data should be entered as soon as possible after it is complete. As soon as a site is established, staff and participant information should be entered. Once staff and participant information is in the database, you can enter information about program activities; information about activity sessions and attendance should be entered at least monthly. Finally, outcome information should be entered as soon as participant outcomes are available.

Q: How can I ensure that my data entry proceeds smoothly and accurately?
A: Before entering data, download and review the Microsoft® Word version of the PARS21 User Manual (available on the Welcome page), paying particular attention to Chapter 1: Getting Started and Chapter 3: The Role of the Grantee. Next, verify that the grant information entered by the NJDOE is complete. (To learn how, go to the PARS21 User Manual. From the Table of Contents, jump to Chapter 3: The Role of the Grantee > Step 1: Collecting Data > Preparing to Enter Program Data.) Also, familiarize yourself with the user tips provided in the Preface to the user manual. Finally, when you are on screen, click the blue-and-white question-mark ("?") icon to get on-screen Help. Clicking the question-mark icon opens the PARS21 User Manual (.HTML version) to the section that is relevant to the PARS21 data entry page that is open on your screen.

Q: If I make a mistake, can I go back later and correct it?
A: Correcting errors or filling in missing information at a later date can be burdensome and confusing. It's a better idea to collect and enter complete and accurate information the first time. However, in the event of an error or a change in information, it is possible to edit some information you enter in PARS21; however, in some cases you cannot, and in other cases, an NJDOE program officer may have to make the change. For more information, go to the PARS21 User Manual. From the Table of Contents, jump to the Reviewing and Editing subheading for the applicable PARS21 data entry page.


Q:When entering staff information, which address should I use – the staff member's home address?
A: The staff address is an optional field. You may input any address that is useful to you.


Q:I am trying to enter our site information. But when I get to the Entity List page, I can't find the entity I need to assign as one of our program sites. Can I add a new entity?
A:No, only NJDOE program officers can add new entities into the system. First, go to the PARS21 User Manual. From the Table of Contents, jump to Chapter 3: The Role of the Grantee > Entering Site Information > PARS21 Contract Details Page, and follow the procedure for assigning program sites to a contract. If after using the search function you still cannot locate the required entity, send an email to PARS21@DOE.STATE.NJ.US. In your email, be sure to identify the grant program (ESFL or 21stCCLC), the name of the grantee, your name and position, and the exact name of the entity.

Q:The choices that are listed in the drop-down list for staff certifications do not match our personnel. Can we add other choices?
A:No, only NJDOE program officers can add new menu choices into the system. However, if you require a certification category that is not listed, send an email to PARS21@DOE.STATE.NJ.US. In your email, identify your grant program (ESFL or 21stCCLC), the name of the grantee, your name and position, the certification you would like to see added, and a rationale for the addition.








Q: How do I order PARS21 reports?
A: You can actually generate your own reports from within PARS21. PARS21 is capable of generating a variety reports for both the 21stCCLC and for the ESFL programs using information you entered into the system about your grant program. For report descriptions and procedures for generating reports, go to the PARS21 User Manual. From the Table of Contents, jump to Chapter 4: Ordering PARS21 Reports.

Q: How come there is no Reports button on my screen?
A: The Reports button only displays when you are working within a site. There should be no Reports button on the PARS21 Contract List page or on the PARS21 Contract Details page. After you click a site from the PARS21 Contract Details page, the Reports button displays in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

Q: After I click the Reports button, select a report, and click the Show Report button, I get a screen that says, "Log On to My New Jersey." What's going on?
A: To preserve the security of the report server, you must logout of PARS21 and login again by way of the My New Jersey portal when you want to generate system reports. Before you can do this, you must register with the My New Jersey portal and obtain an authentication code from PARS21. With the code in hand, you can access the PARS21 reports function and generate system reports. For procedures, go to the PARS21 User Manual. From the Table of Contents, jump to Chapter 4: Ordering PARS21 Reports > Accessing PARS21 Reports.









Q: Due to a problem with my system, I lost all memos sent to me from PARS21. Can you possibly forward them to me again? Thank you for your help.
A: On the Welcome Page, click the Notices to PARS21 Users hyperlink to view (.HTML version) or download (.DOC version) notices emailed to all users during the current year. In addition, late-breaking notices are posted at the bottom of the PARS21 Login page.

Q: Is there a User Manual available for PARS21?
A:Yes, the PARS21 User Manual is available from the Welcome Page. (To access the Welcome Page, go to http://homeroom.state.nj.us and click PARS21.) You can view it online as an HTML document, or download a version created with Microsoft® Word.

Q: Where do I go for help when I am using PARS21?
A: Click the Help icon – a white question mark framed in a blue-and-white circle – on any PARS21 data entry page. Whether you are browsing the Welcome Page, entering data, or generating reports, clicking the Help icon opens the PARS21 User Manual (.HTML version) to the section that is relevant to the PARS21 page that is open on your screen.

Q: My director is holding a meeting to discuss the inputting of program data using PARS21. Are there instructions we can print to hand out at the meeting?
A: You can download and print the PARS21 User Manual from the Welcome Page. Pay particular attention to Chapter 1: Getting Started and Chapter 3: The Role of the Grantee. Also, familiarize users with tips provided in the Preface to the user manual (Preface > Data Entry Tips and Preface > Screen Tips). You may also want to show users how to access Help when they are on screen.

Q: Is training offered in the use of the PARS21 system?
A: Training is offered periodically. Watch for electronic notices. If you are unable to attend a training session, you can always download a slide overview of the most recent PARS21 training presentation from the Welcome Page. (To learn how, go to the PARS21 User Manual. From the Table of Contents, jump to Chapter 1: Getting Started > PARS21 Welcome Page > System Documents.) Inform your NJDOE program officer if you feel you need training in the use of the system.

Q: Who can I go to with a question not answered in any of the support documents?
A: Technical support is always available by emailing PARS21@DOE.STATE.NJ.US.


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