What is Title I?
Title I is a federal grant offered through the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 that provides financial assistance to districts and schools that meet certain criteria. The purpose of Title I is to provide financial assistance for resources and instruction to schools where economically disadvantaged students attend. This is not to say that only the economically disadvantaged receive support. Any student, regardless of their socio-economic status, can qualify for Title I (see “How does a student qualify…?” below for more). Specifically, Title I money helps students access the New Jersey Student Learning Standards (the NJSLS, formerly the CCSS) and Kinnelon’s rigorous curricula. Research shows that this assistance has the potential to increase student achievement. Funds can be used for programs, materials and services that supplement the services that would be provided in the absence of these funds.
There are two kinds of Title I funding: Schoolwide and Targeted Assistance. Schoolwide means the entire school qualifies for Title I support. This is reserved with schools with very high rates of overall poverty (over 40% of the total population). Targeted Assistance means that while there are enrolled students who come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds, it does not reach the level of a schoolwide program. Targeted Assistance dictates that the schools must actively seek out and provide additional resources, materials and instruction only for qualified students.
How does a student qualify for Title I services?
The teachers and administrators spend the late summer and early fall collaborating with each other to ensure only identified students are provided Title I services. Data is gathered from various areas including, but not limited to: benchmark assessments, teacher-created assessments, course grades, as well as teacher recommendations to form as complete a picture of the students’ academic performance as possible. Only when triangulation is achieved – at least three data points that lead toward support – is the student considered qualified.
How can parents become more involved with the Title I program?
Title I has a parent involvement mission which is designed to:
- Encourage parent involvement
- Support a collaborative partnership among schools, parents, and communities
- Improve student achievement
- Maintain reciprocal communication between parents and schools
As a parent of a student enrolled in a Title I program, you have the right to communication from the school. When your student has been identified for enrollment or exit, you will be notified by the school. You also have the right to refuse services. Finally, the school is responsible for holding a parent information meeting to inform parents and guardians of the program and its benefits. It is strongly encouraged that the parent or guardian becomes an active participant in the students overall education. Research clearly shows that a strong relationship between the school and the parents correlate to improved student academic performance.
If you have any questions about the Title I program in your child's school, please contact your child's school administrator.