Title I / ESEA ACT Handbook
What is Title 1?
Title 1 is a federal education program provided for by the re-authorized Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The law allows a school district to utilize its funds for extra teachers, materials and equipment, and services for eligible children referred for services. In Everett, all students in the City are eligible for services. However funding does not permit us to include every school. Therefore, elementary schools are selected to receive services based upon their poverty percentage.
Where does the money come from and how is it distributed?
Congress annually appropriates funds for Title 1. Once the amount available is voted upon, the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C. calculates the percentage due each state. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education then distributes a percentage to each local school district. These amounts are determined by the economic need of the area, namely, the number of children of low-income families living in each community.
What is the State’s role in the Title 1 Program?
The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education must review and approve each local educational agency’s (LEA) Title 1 program application. (The application may be part of a Consolidated Application addressing other parts of the No Child Left Behind Act.) The state supervises Title 1 Projects throughout the Commonwealth.
What is the local education agency’s (LEA) role? (The LEA is Everett.)
The LEA must see that the local program is operating according to current Title 1 law, regulations and guidelines. Compliance with law, regulations and guidelines must be reflected in the Title 1 program application filed by the LEA. The LEA is also responsible for helping students reach “proficiency” on the state’s high content standards, as reflected on state mandated assessment testing. Funds are to be used to enable schools to provide opportunities for children to acquire the basic and advanced skills in state content standards; particularly in language arts/reading and mathematics.
What are the major restrictions on use of funds?
All Title 1 schools must achieve comparability; a fiscal test involving the use of local and state funds to ensure that services in Title 1 schools are at least comparable to services in non-Title 1 schools. Once this is assured, Title 1 funds can be used to provide additional services. The Title 1 program must supplement – be in addition to – the regular public school program. It cannot supplant – take the place of – programs that must, by law, be offered and paid for by local and state funds.
How are funds allocated to schools?
All Title 1 schools receive funds in accordance with the Economically Disadvantaged rate, which is customarily determined by the proportion of children in each building receiving free and reduced lunches. All schools are then ranked according to poverty and funds are allocated by formula.
How are the schools chosen?
Target schools are determined each year by the percentage of low-income children residing in individual school districts. Each school receives an allocation established by formula, and must operate its program within the allocated budget. Schools are rank ordered by individual poverty percentage and selected from highest poverty to lowest poverty by percentage and includes as many schools as the funding allows.
How do you determine what students are eligible?
Any student who attends a target school may receive services. All Everett Public elementary schools have a school-wide program. The Everett parochial school has a Target Assisted Program.
How are the students chosen?
All students in school-wide programs are, by definition, in the Title 1 program. Students in Private/Parochial schools are selected by weighted multiple criteria on a referral form—students are placed on a rank-order list based on a point system. Students with the greatest number of points are considered first. (No student is taken without a referral form and entry on the rank-order list.)
How is the teaching staff chosen?
The Title 1 teaching staff in the public schools is employed by Everett Public Schools and work according to contract, but are paid by federal funds. Private/Parochial schools use Title 1 personnel employed by the Everett Public Schools.
Teachers hired to work in Title 1 must be “highly qualified” (i.e. Massachusetts certified) and Para-Professionals must now meet a more rigorous set of educational requirements also. Para Professionals must have completed two years of college or earned at minimum an associate’s degree, or must pass a state test prior to being employed.
How may a school use Title 1 funds?
In the Targeted Assistance Parochial Schools, Title 1 funds must be used to serve students identified as in greatest need based on the selection criteria.
In School-wide Programs, funds may be combined with other local, state and federal funds to serve the entire school population. Importantly, funds may only be used to supplement the total amount of funds that would, in the absence of Title 1 funds, be made available from non-Federal sources.
How should planning, design, and implementation of Title 1 programs occur?
Parents and teachers are consulted on the planning, design and implementation of the program for the following year. With the School Council, and in school-wide programs with the school support teams as well, Principals examine school profiles (including test results and other available data i.e. MCAS) and other available funds and allocate these for programs to prepare students to meet the challenging state academic standards.
Upon the approval of the Superintendent of Schools, the project design for the school district is submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for approval. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has the authority to recommend changes in the project proposal pertaining to the application of federal regulations.
What about the relationship between Title 1, Special Education and ELL? Can a student receive Title 1 services as well as these other services?
Yes. Special Education Laws require a school to provide services according to a student’s individualized education plan (IEP). Title 1 may provide services not covered by the IEP. Similarly, the school department is responsible for providing services to ELL (English Language Learner) students. Title 1 must provide additional services to ELL students in need of further assistance.
What are some of the principle elements of a school-wide program?
School-wide programs have greater latitude in expending Title 1 funds and have fewer operational requirements (e.g., maintenance of a rank-order list) than targeted assistance schools (TAS). To qualify as a school-wide program, a school must have at least 40% of the students who are Economically Disadvantaged in the current school year of application, and then must spend a year in planning.
The planning includes the establishment of a School Support Team with members from within the school and outside the school (e.g., Principals, assistant Principals, teachers, librarians, parents, special needs personnel, and bilingual personnel). The school plan must meet ten criteria, including completion of a comprehensive needs assessment. Each year, the School Support Team documents progress toward implementation of the plan, and updates the needs assessment to insure that the next year’s plan serves changing needs. The School Support Team should work closely with the School Council and may have overlapping memberships. (The school plan and Title 1 budget must reflect identified needs. Although allocations will change, planning should be based on the previous year’s allocation.) The Title 1 school-wide plan may, with some additions, also serve as the school improvement plan required by the Massachusetts Education Reform legislation. The school-wide plan should serve as the guide for annual activity at the school. Once developed, updating the plan should be a relatively simple task.
(Note: In school-wide programs, the designation of Title 1 teachers is intended to vanish. In this document, however, personnel paid through Title 1 continues to be referred to as Title 1 teachers to simplify communication.)
What is its purpose and function?
Title 1 parents can participate in workshops, informational meetings, classroom visits, parent/teacher conferences, and statewide seminars. The Title 1 Parent Component is comprised of parents whose children attend public and nonpublic schools and are receiving Title 1 services. It is not an exclusive organization, however. Any administrator, teacher or parent interested in the functions of the program is welcome to attend parent meetings. We also have a City Wide Parent Council that meets approximately 3 times per year. Parents from all school councils are eligible to sit on this Council. The Title 1 Director conducts these meetings to keep the parents in every school informed on such things as the District AYP, programs such as Literacy and Math.
What are some of the chief requirements of the Title 1 law regarding parent involvement?
Programs, activities, and procedures for the involvement of parents must be planned and implemented with meaningful consultation with parents of participating children. Principals are requested to place this on their agenda for their School Plans. An annual evaluation of the content and effectiveness of the parental involvement policy in improving the academic quality of the schools must be conducted, with the involvement of parents. This is completed during the year with televised meetings with the School Committee. Upon completion, Principals present key information to the parents regarding their child's academic performance which includes state mandated assessment testing results. One Percent (1%) of the funds must be spent on parent involvement in communities with grants above $500,000. Funds are to be used to build parent capacity in improving student achievement.
What is the non-public school program?
Title 1 law requires that the local education agency consult with nonpublic school personnel to fund services for educationally disadvantaged children in non-public schools who live within a Title 1 eligible school attendance area. Only students residing in Title 1 target areas and grade levels served by Title 1 in public schools are eligible.