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 a part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
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 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 how we will measure their academic progress. 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 the schools with the highest percentage 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 schools students.
How Big Is Title I?
Nationwide there are more than 50,000 public schools, approximately 12.5 million students, that 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.
What is a School-Wide Title I Program?
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 educational program provides, which will improve the achievement of all students, particularly those who are low achieving. In addition, a school must develop and implement the improvement plan 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 Happens at a Title I School?
Administrators, teachers, and Title I staff work to:
- Identify students most in need of educational help, regardless of income
- Measure student progress utilizing state and local standards
- Set goals for improvement
- Implement research-based instruction to supplement regular classroom instruction.
- Improve professional knowledge and skills through continuing education.
- Involve parents in all aspects of the school's Title I program.
How Are Schools Held Accountable?
Schools receiving Title I funds are evaluated each year by administrators, teachers, and parents using state and local assessments to determine if the school has made adequate yearly progress. If the program goals have not been met, program and school improvement plans are revised.
What Role Do Parents Play?
Parental involvement is a critical component of the 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. Parents can also find information and resources on the Parent Portal at the Indiana Department of Education as well as Indiana Partnerships Center.
How Can Parents Get Involved?
The more involved parents are in their child's education, the more success a child will have in school. We encourage all parents to become an active member in their child's education. You can become more involved by:
- Joining parent organizations
- Supporting school activities
- Volunteering at school
- Attending parent-teacher conferences
- Communicating with your child's teacher regularly by writing notes, telephone, or e-mail
- Sharing ideas with parent organizations, parent meetings, and your child's teacher are other ideas for parent involvement