Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the Title I program?
A: The purpose of the Elementary and Secondary Act Title I, Part A, is to provide financial assistance to local educational agencies [the school districts] serving areas with concentrations of educationally disadvantaged children from low-income families.
Q: What does “low-income status” have to do with children being educationally disadvantaged?
A: The concern and care for a child’s educational achievement and emotional well-being may not necessarily depend on family finances. However, economic disadvantage, resulting from temporary difficulty to generational poverty, can reduce the experiences and opportunities that support a child’s ability to succeed at school or impair a family’s ability to partner with the school or to support the child’s learning at home.
Q: How does the Thompson School District identify “concentrations of educationally disadvantaged children from low-income families”?
A: The district currently sets eligibility of a school to apply for federal fund at 40% of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program.
Q: What schools in the district receive Title I, Part A funds?
Q: How do title schools receive Title I, Part A funds?
A: Title school staffs, with parent participation and input, determine their greatest needs and set priorities for additional educational support for all students. From these needs, goals are set, effective strategies are selected to address particular needs and activities are planned to meet the goals. The plans developed by the staff with parent participation and input are submitted to the district for approval. These plans are checked, adjusted and updated through the year and serve as the basis for each title school’s request for additional funds in the district’s “Consolidated Application Grant”.
Q: What do schools do with these funds?
A: Title funds must be used to provide supplemental educational assistance, over and above what the district provides to all schools. Many title school students enter school less prepared to learn to read, write and do math or science. Title I funds allow a title school to hire additional staff to provide additional time for learning, often with the use of “supplemental materials” that the district may not otherwise provide. All of Thompson School District’s title schools operate under a “schoolwide” model which allows use of Title I funds to improve the entire educational delivery system of the school. This allows title schools to provide additional training for teachers to design and deliver effective lessons and units for “catch up” learning as well as the “year’s learning in a year’s time. By scheduling additional learning time for struggling students, title schools usually often open more opportunities to “get more than a year’s growth” with average and advanced students as well.
Q: What additional responsibilities do schools have for family involvement that non-title schools do not have?
A: Like most schools, title schools host “Family Learning Nights” to feature their reading, writing, math and science programs. Unlike non-title schools, federal regulations require much more parent participation and input in everything from notifying parents at annual meetings what rights they have to participate in the development of the schoolwide plan to special notices when a title school reaches “school improvement” status. See, “No Child Left Behind Program Improvement Checklist” for a table of the many federal requirements.
Q: How can parents and citizens see how the district’s title schools or any elementary schools are doing?
A: The best way is to go to the schools to look and ask about what you see in your child’s classroom and throughout the school. A new district effort, Response to Intervention (RTI), is underway to strengthen classroom instruction and student programming and support to increase student achievement. Response to Intervention requires “universal screening” to determine student strengths in reading and math and then deliver small group and intervention work to fill skill and knowledge gaps. Many of the same approaches used by title schools will be used across all schools, however without the additional federal funds and without the regulations.