Title I is the largest federal education program. Its intent is to help ensure that all children have the opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach proficiency on challenging state academic content and performance standards. In December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) became law.
ESSA includes provisions that will help ensure success for students and schools. Below are just a few provisions of the law:
- Advances equity by upholding critical protections for America’s disadvantaged and high-need students.
- Requires –for the first time–that all students in America be taught to high academic standards that will prepare them to succeed in college and careers.
- Ensures that vital information is provided to educators, families, students, and communities through annual statewide assessments that measure student’s progress toward those high standards.
- Helps to support and grow local innovations–including evidence-based and place-based interventions developed by local leaders and educators–consistent with our Investing in Innovation and Promise Neighborhoods.
- Sustains and expands this administration’s historic investments in increasing access to high-quality preschool.
- Maintains an expectation that there will be accountability and action to effect positive change in our lowest-performing schools, where groups of students are not making progress, and where graduation rates are low over extended periods of time.
Title I began with the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, which provided federal funding for high poverty schools to help students who were behind academically and at risk of falling behind. In 2001, under President George W. Bush, ESEA was reauthorized as the No Child Left Behind Act, which continued a focus on at-risk students and ensuring that no student failed to succeed. In December 2015, Congress and President Barack Obama reached agreement on the most recent version of ESEA, the Every Student Succeeds Act.
Title I resources may be utilized to hire reading specialists, tutors, technology assistants, and additional teachers to reduce class size; purchase additional equipment, materials, and supplies; provide parent training sessions; extend the school day and provide professional learning.
Title I funding supports both Schoolwide programs and Targeted Assistance programs, depending on the level of students that receive free and reduced lunch price lunch. Schoolwide programs are in place in schools with poverty rates above forty percent. Targeted Assistance programs are in place in schools with poverty rates less than forty percent, but more than thirty-five percent.
All Title I schools undergo a rigorous planning, implementation, and evaluation cycle to ensure that these valuable resources continue to impact student learning in optimal ways. Schools must conduct a comprehensive needs assessment, identify and commit to specific goals and strategies that address school needs, create a comprehensive plan, and conduct an annual review.
- plan for comprehensive, long-term improvement
- serve all students with effective teachers and highly qualified paraprofessionals
- provide continuous learning for staff, parents, and the community
- use evidence-based pedagogy and practices to implement effective instruction for all students
- use inclusive approaches to strengthen the school’s organizational structure
- consolidate resources to achieve programs goals
- engage in continuous self-assessment and improvement
Components of a Title I School
- a comprehensive needs assessment that drives all aspects of school operations
- school reform strategies that are implemented to address the identified needs
- licensed and highly qualified paraprofessionals according to the criteria set by ESSA
- high quality and ongoing professional development
- strategies in place to recruit highly qualified teachers and place them in areas of greatest need
- parent involvement
- strategies to aid in the transitions between academic grade levels and between school levels
- assessments and instructional decisions are driven by data analysis
- specific instructional activities for students identified with greatest needs
- coordinated and integrated resources and services from federal, state, and local resources
Title I schools are required to notify parents of their rights to receive certain information. Parents may request information concerning the professional qualifications of their child’s teacher (s) including the degrees held, certifications held, and whether the teacher is certified in the area he/she is teaching. Title I schools must notify parents if their child has been assigned, or has been taught for at least four consecutive weeks by a teacher who is not licensed for the area in which he/she is assigned. Parents also may request information concerning whether or not their child is receiving instruction from teacher assistants, and if so, their qualifications.
Title I schools:
- Must be a part of developing a written parent and family engagement policy that is distributed to all parents and to the local community and announced at an annual meeting
- Have a right to be involved in the planning and implementation of the parent and family engagement program in their school
- Can receive materials and training for parents and staff to foster greater parent and family engagement
- Must have the opportunity to jointly develop, with school staff, a school-parent compact that outlines how parents, the entire school staff, and students will share the responsibility for improved student academic achievement and the means by which the school and parents will build and develop a partnership to help children achieve the state’s high standards
- May receive information on the level of achievement of their child
- May provide input on the school’s parent and family engagement policy