What is Title I?
Title I is a federal grant program designed to give educational assistance to students living in areas of high poverty. The Title I program originated in 1965 when Congress passed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and was reauthorized in 2001 with the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act. Title I is one of the oldest and largest federal programs supporting elementary and secondary education in existence, and over 90% of the school systems in the United States receive some sort of Title I funding.
The Title I program provides financial assistance through State educational agencies (SEAs) to local educational agencies (LEAs) and public schools with high numbers or percentages of poor children to help ensure that all children meet challenging State academic content and student academic achievement standards.
Title I is designed to support State and local school reform efforts tied to challenging State academic standards in order to reinforce and amplify efforts to improve teaching and learning for students farthest from meeting State standards. Individual public schools with poverty rates above 40 percent may use Title I funds, along with other Federal, State, and local funds, to operate a "schoolwide program" to upgrade the instructional program for the whole school. Each schools’ program must be based on effective means of improving student achievement and include strategies to support parental involvement.
Title I funds are allocated to each state, and the states in turn allocate funds to the local school systems based on poverty data gathered from many different sources. The local school system then determines schools eligible for Title I programs. In McDowell County, schools are ranked by percentages of students qualifying for the free or reduced price lunches under the National School Lunch Act. Once a ranking of schools has been determined, then schools with the highest percentages of free or reduced lunch students receive Title I programs. A school must have a percentage greater than or equal to the overall percentage for the entire school system to be eligible for a Title I program. Eligible schools are then served in rank order until funds are exhausted.
SCHOOLWIDE PROGRAM MODEL
Schoolwide Programs: Schools with 40% or more of their students living in poverty qualify to operate schoolwide programs. Schools using this model are not required to target or identify eligible students. The goal of schoolwide programs is to assist Title I students by improving the instructional program of the entire school. The components of a schoolwide program include:
A comprehensive needs assessment of the entire school
School wide reform strategies
Provision for instruction by highly qualified professional staff
Strategies for increasing parental involvement
Plans to facilitate transition from preschool to elementary school
Measures for including teacher input to improve student performance and the overall instructional program
Provision of assistance to struggling students