Title I of “No Child Left Behind” provides federal assistance to school districts to help fund high quality, challenging instructional programs for children in schools that have highest concentrations of poverty.
Title I is a federal program that provides opportunities for the children served to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to meet challenging state content standards. Resources are distributed to schools where needs are the greatest, in amounts sufficient to make a difference in the improvement of instruction. Title I coordinates services with other educational services, and to the extent feasible, with health and social services programs. Title I provides greater decision making authority and flexibility within the schools and for teachers. However, greater responsibility for student performance in the exchange made for this flexibility.
Title I schools within the district are selected based on information obtained from the March, 135th Day Attendance Count, and the percentage of students who are on free and reduced lunch. A poverty index for the district is determined and the schools are ranked from highest to lowest poverty. Schoolwide programs may use funds or services in combination with other Federal, State, and local funds it receives, to upgrade the entire educational program within the school. Schoolwide programs are eligible to use funds to support systemic reform and instructional improvement. All students attending school at a Schoolwide Title I site may use materials and/or be serviced by personnel funded through Title I.
Allocation of Funds
The amount of funds allocated to each Title I school is based on a per poverty student enrollment allocation. The district Title I allocation is, in turn, allocated to schools based on the number of poverty students in each Title I school as determined by the previous March free/reduced lunch report from School Food Service. Allocation may change from year to year, depending on a change in the number of students receiving free or reduced lunch within each school and/or a change in the district’s allocation.
A school-level planning team must be assembled in each Title I school to give input on the use of all Title I expenditures. The required planning team representatives must include, but are not limited to: 1-principal, 2-teachers, 2-additional staff members, 2-parents, 1-student services worker, 1-district administrator, 1-technical assistance provider, 2-community members, and, if the school is a high school, 1-student. The planning team should meet regularly throughout the year to discuss the implementation of the current plan and to decide on changes or additions to the plan for the next school year. The planning team should be given an agenda and sign-in attendance sheet for documentation purposes. The Title I committee chairperson will need to take notes in order to keep track of adjustments that need to be made to the plan.
The law requires that in each Title I school, a comprehensive needs assessment should be conducted in order to identify the needs of the students. The plan developed at each school must reflect needs identified by the needs assessment and programs designed to meet these needs. The needs assessment should: 1.) discuss discrepancies between what exists and what students need in order to achieve, 2.) describe present conditions and areas of weakness, 3.) provide a reason for areas where the greatest need exists, 4.) contain at least 3 years of test data, 5.) use additional data received from attendance reports, teacher surveys, parent surveys, etc. A needs assessment will not only identify areas that need to be addressed by the Title I plan, but will act as a basis for building a priorities list on which subsequent plans can be based.
Once the areas of greatest need have been determined, research-based strategies must be selected to address them. The South Carolina Curriculum Standards should be used as a basis for deciding which instructional strategies should be selected. Each activity included within the Title I plan must have a documented hard copy of the research supporting the use of that strategy. Only the best and most effective research-based instruction should be included to address the needs of the students within the Title I school.
Parent involvement is a critical portion of the Title I plan. Every Title I school is expected to include a certain percentage of the total allocation toward improving parent involvement within the school. Each school must also develop a parent involvement policy, outlining expectations and opportunities for including parents in the education of their children. Parents must be included on the planning committee and should be notified of all activities implemented through Title I. Parents must also be offered the opportunity to give feedback on the plan. Click here for more information.
Documentation is a necessary but often time-consuming part of implementing the Title I plan. Coordinator of Federal programs' staff works with the school staff on a routine basis to design a system to most effectively document efforts. Regularly occurring monitoring visits by independent and/or SDE auditors ensure the school followed all legal requirements for planning and implementing the written plan. Activities listed within the Title I plan must have written documentation to show that the strategies are implemented as defined in the school plan. While documentation can be cumbersome, it can be quite beneficial to future planning. Documentation can show the progress of instructional strategies and whether or not they were successfully implemented supporting adjustments made in subsequent plans. The agenda, sign-in sheet and minutes from the planning team meeting need to be sent to the Office of Federal Programs for documentation purposes.
Evaluation of Adequate Progress
Following the implementation of a Title I plan the State Department of Education will determine whether a school made adequate academic progress from the prior year based on the school’s most recent PACT test results. The second year a school does not make adequate progress a school is designated as being in School Improvement, resulting in the development and implementation of a school improvement plan and the offering of school choice. The school must make adequate progress for two consecutive years to lose the designation as in School Improvement.
Monitoring of Highly Qualified Paraprofessionals
The No Child Left Behind Act requires that all instructional teacher aides at Title I schools meet one of the following three requirements:
Associates Degree from an accredited college,or,
60 hours toward a Bachelors Degree at an accredited college, or,
Score of 456 or higher on the ETS ParaPro Test.
The Office of Federal Programs monitors newly hired teacher aides to ensure that one of these requirements are met.
All Title I schools are assigned a Title I Coordinator, to assist in the writing and implementation of the Title I plan. Regular site visits are made by the Title I Coordinator to ensure that the plan is being successfully implemented and documented by the school. The Title I Coordinator assists the principal through written and oral feedback on activities funded through Title I. Extensive training on the writing, implementation, and documentation of the Title I plan is provided, by the Office of Federal Programs, for the principal. Training and ongoing staff development, funded through Title I, is also provided. The Director of Federal Programs is always available to answer any questions that a principal may have about the Title I program.