What Is Title I?
Title I is one of the largest federal aid programs for school districts in the United States. Begun in 1965 under President Lyndon B. Johnson as part of his “War on Poverty.” Title I today, is part of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). This legislation grants federal funds to schools with large numbers of children in poverty, to provide extra educational services that help students achieve at higher levels. Specifically, the objective of the Title I program is to enable all students to meet state and local student performance standards and for schools to achieve other school accountability goals as set forth by the Indiana Department of Education.
How Does Title I Work?
The federal government provides Title I funds to Indiana each year. To obtain the funds, Indiana must submit a plan describing the academic standards children are expected to meet (i.e. Indiana Academic Standards and in the very near future Indiana Common Core Academic Standards) and how academic progress will be measured (Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress- ISTEP+). Indiana then allocates Title I funding to school corporations. The amount of money a school district receives is based on census data indicating the proportion of low-income children. Districts with the highest percentage of children from low-income families receive the most money. School corporations target the Title I funds they receive, to schools with the highest percentages of children from low-income families. In addition, under Title I, participating public school corporations are required to provide supplemental educational services for eligible private school students.
How Big Is Title I?
Nationwide, more than 50,000 public schools, approximately 12.5 million students, receive Title I funds. Title I funds may be used for children from preschool to high school. However, 65% of the students served are in grades 1-6 while another 12% are in preschool and kindergarten. In Indiana, 97% of school corporations receive Title I funding. In Scott County School District 2, Title I funding is used at all four elementary schools (Johnson, Lexington, Scottsburg, and Vienna-Finley) for the students in grades K-5.
What Happens At A Title I School?
Administrators, teachers, and Title I staff work to:
School-wide Title I Programs
Schools with poverty rates of 40% or higher, are eligible to implement a school-wide Title I program. The purpose of a school-wide program is to improve student achievement throughout the entire school. Individual students are not identified as eligible to participate. Rather, every child will benefit from the added services and programs that a school-wide Title I program can offer. All school staff focus on upgrading the entire educational program and improving the achievement of all students, particularly those who are low-achieving. In addition, a school improvement plan must be developed and implemented with the involvement of parents, teachers, principals, and administrators. Essentially, a school-wide program helps a school do more for all of its students.
What Role Do Parents Play?
Parental involvement is a critical component of Title I legislation. Schools receiving Title I funding are obligated to implement programs, activities, and procedures for the involvement of parents in school-related programs. Schools may also provide opportunities for parents to increase their knowledge and skills related to their children’s education. Such programs, activities, and procedures must be planned and implemented for parents of participating children.
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