What is Title I?
Title I is the largest single program of federal aid for elementary and secondary education. Title I, Part A, allocates funds to more than 90 percent of the nations’ school districts to offset the effects of poverty on the educational opportunities of low-performing children in high-poverty schools. Each state oversees the program for its own local educational agencies (LEAs). Each state educational agency (SES) plays a central role in setting standards and enforcing program requirements.
A Brief History of Title I
Title I began as “Better Schooling for Educationally Deprived Students,” as one component of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965, and was one of the major programs of President Lyndon Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” The ESEA has been reauthorized several times, and reauthorization in 2001 changed its name to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Title I now provides parents, advocates, and school communities with a tool for broader school improvements.
Title I: A Framework for Program Quality
The reauthorized Title I provides strong support for ensuring a quality education for students served by Title I funds. The law requires states to use the same high standards for these students as they do for all other students. It requires schools and LEAs to develop programs that will enable students to meet the standards. Further, the law calls for highly qualified professional staff to teach Title I students a challenging curriculum, and effectively designed educational assistance to students who are having difficulty achieving the standards. It gives parents the right to be involved in planning their children’s education, and to see that their children’s schools comply with the requirements of Title I.
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 enacted some of the most sweeping changes to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 since its inception.
Standards, Assessments, and AYP
Standards: The state of Indiana has adopted challenging academic content and student achievement standards that apply to all schools and all children in the state. These academic content standards specify what children are expected to know and be able to do.
Assessments: Indiana is required to administer a set of high-quality, yearly student academic assessments in mathematics, reading, and science. These assessments, known as ISTEP+, must be aligned with the academic standards and be taken by all students (including, with appropriate accommodations, student with disabilities or limited English proficiency). By regulation, children with the most significant cognitive disabilities may be assessed against alternate standards that better represent the highest achievement of which these children are capable. In Indiana, these students are assessed using the Indiana Standards Tool for Alternate Reporting (ISTAR). Limited English Proficient (LEP) students must be tested in the language and form most likely to yield accurate data to the extent practicable. However, LEP students must take their reading/language arts assessment in English if they have attended schools in the United States for three consecutive years. In addition, all LEP students must take an annual English proficiency assessment. In Indiana, the LAS Links is the assessment used for this purpose.
Adequate Yearly Progress: Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) designations for Indiana school corporations and schools are determined by student performance and participation rates on the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus (ISTEP+) assessments in English/language arts and mathematics; student attendance rates (for elementary and middle schools); and graduation rates (for high schools). Since 2002, NCLB has required public schools to make AYP for both the overall student population and any demographic group within the school that includes 30 or more students (often called subgroups). These student subgroups include: economic background, race/ethnicity, limited English proficiency, and special education. Schools must make AYP in every student group to meet AYP. The goal of NCLB is for all students to achieve proficiency in English/language arts and math by 2014.
Consequences for Not Making AYP: Improvement Status
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) includes formal consequences only for those public school corporations and schools that consistently do not make AYP and also participate in the federal Title I program. Title I schools have high percentages of students from low-income families and receive additional funding to help educate these students. After not making AYP for two consecutive years, Title I schools enter improvement status. Improvement Status consists of a series of interventions that become more extensive for each additional year that a Title I school does not make AYP. It takes two consecutive years of not making AYP in the same subject (English or math) to enter school improvement status and two consecutive years of making AYP in that subject to be removed from improvement status.
In July, 2008, Indiana was one of six states that received approval from the U.S. Department of Education to implement a Differentiated Accountability Model of school improvement. This gives Indiana the flexibility to vary the type and intensity of interventions applied to Title I schools in improvement, thereby targeting assistance to schools based on their level of need.
Indiana’s Differentiated Accountability Model divides Title I schools into two main tiers and accompanying interventions:
Focused Improvement – Schools that are closer to meeting AYP targets and/or are missing AYP in a relatively small number of areas (or cells). Focused schools must give parents the option to transfer their students to another school in the district (school choice), offer student tutoring services (supplemental education services), invest in teacher professional development activities, and revise the school’s improvement plan among other actions. Focused schools that fail to improve despite these interventions face additional consequences, called corrective action. Corrective action may include replacing relevant school staff, sufficiently extending the school day/year or hiring a full-time literacy/math coach or English language specialist.
Comprehensive improvement – Schools that are furthest from meeting AYP targets and are missing AYP in a significant number of areas (or cells). Comprehensive schools undergo many of the same interventions as focused schools but must do so on an accelerated timeline that also includes other, more intensive interventions. Comprehensive schools that still do not improve despite these interventions face mandatory restructuring.
For the 2010-2011 school year, students at Crestdale Elementary and Fairview Elementary are eligible for Choice Transfers or Supplemental Educational Services. Click the links for enrollment forms and a list of preferred providers.
Title I Program Design
Designation as a Schoolwide Program allows a school to use funds from Title I to upgrade the entire educational system of the school in order to raise academic achievement for all students. For a school to be eligible to initiate a schoolwide program, at least 40 percent of its students must come from low-income families. In the Richmond Community Schools, all nine of our elementary schools are currently designated as Schoolwide Program schools:
- Charles Elementary
- Crestdale Elementary
- Fairview Elementary
- Garrison Elementary
- Highland Heights Elementary
- C. R. Richardson Elementary
- Elizabeth Starr Academy
- Vaile Elementary
- Westview Elementary
Staff Qualifications and Professional Development
NCLB sets significant rules on the minimum qualifications for teachers and paraprofessionals. Teachers of “core academic subjects” must be highly qualified, which means that the teacher: has passed the state certification or licensing exam; holds a bachelor’s degree; and has passed a formal assessment or state evaluation or has done coursework in certain subject areas. A paraprofessional must have completed two years of higher education, earned an associate’s degree, or met a rigorous standard of quality and passed a formal state or local assessment. NCLB also increases the emphasis on professional development and includes a lengthy definition of what activities are permissible with Title I support.
NCLB views parents as central stakeholders in education programs. To ensure parents are properly included in the Title I program, the law mandates a written district parent involvement policy and school-parent compacts. At each stage of school improvement, parents must be notified and told how they can participate in the process.
Parent Concerns and Complaints
Richmond Community Schools strives to meet the needs of all families and students served through Title I. However, if at any time we have failed to meet your expectations, we want to know about it. A complaint may be submitted by an organization or an individual, and must be submitted in writing. If you believe that RCS violated any federal or state law, rule, or regulation, please contact Kathy Parker, Title I Program Administrator, at 765 973-3416.
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