What is Title I?
Title I is a federally funded program designed to ensure that all children have an opportunity to access a high quality education. The goal of this federal program is to close the achievement gap for all students. There are two types of Title I programs: Targeted Assistance School programs and Schoolwide Title I programs. Schools are identified and authorized to implement one of these programs based on the percentage of students receiving free and reduced-price meals.
The Schoolwide program allows all students to be eligible for additional academic support. Federal funds are used to support and enhance the overall school program. Title I funds may be used to upgrade the entire school’s educational program so that the overall education of ALL children who attend the school can be improved. Currently, all Title I schools in Marion County operate as Schoolwide programs.
The Dream Bus - a Title I Project
The Marion County Dream Bus was a vision that started on the premise of a question asked of the Marion County Leadership Team. How do we prevent the “summer slide” phenomenon? What barriers will we need to eliminate so that learning continues throughout the summer months? Immediately a committee was established to study this problem and thus find a solution. A plan was developed to construct a mobile literacy unit that would travel to targeted neighborhoods to build family relationships, feed the hungry, and provide academic programs to students.
With a plan being developed it was time to communicate our idea to the community and with no surprise the community overwhelming supported the dream bus. Next we developed the timeline with collaboration from all stakeholders, including our Engineering Class, Carpentry Class, Graphic Design Class, and Journalism Class. The students from Marion County were very excited about this project and took a lot of pride in its design and development. Many hours were devoted to this project before, after and during school to get the old broken down bus brought back to life. The energy and dedication from the student workers was relentless and on April 14th the Dream Bus made its debut at the Annual Marion County Spring Summit. The crowd was electrified at the debut, with everyone taking a tour of the mobile unit. The student leaders were there to showcase their model and give details of the transformation. The sleek, modern interior along with the brightly colored exterior gave a presence of pride for our entire community, and we now were ready to begin our journey to help with summer learning. The proud accomplishments of our students that night has left a lasting impression of gratitude in my heart, and verifies that we have a talented, skilled work force in Marion County.
The dream bus started its engine on May 31 and was on its journey to visit 10 different neighborhoods per week throughout the summer. The song “Don’t Stop Believing” was played as the bus entered each neighborhood and excited children would run out of their houses to eagerly greet the bus. Each stop would be for 90 minutes, which gave time for relationship building, lunch and instruction. Over 692 students participated this summer with our dream bus with the only requirement being that each participant had to give a high 5 upon entering and a big hug as you depart. Quickly the dream bus was the talk of the town and truly brought hope and prosperity to the families of Marion County.
Future plans for the Dream Bus include participating in Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, Rotary Club Meetings, Football Games, Ham Days and Christmas Parades, Manufacturing Day, partnership with the public library, free screening with the health department, after school programs, family fun nights and extended classrooms on Saturday. This mobile literacy classroom will continue to bring our community together to celebrate the academic achievement of our students.
Title I Funding
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the purpose of Title 1 funding, “is to ensure that all children have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity to obtain a high quality education and reach, at minimum, proficiency on challenging state academic achievement standards and state academic assessments."
The basic principles of Title 1 state that schools with large concentrations of low-income students will receive supplemental funds to assist in meeting students' educational goals. Low-income students are determined by the number of students enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program. For an entire school to qualify for Title 1 funds, at least 40% of students must enroll in the free and reduced lunch program.
How parents can be involved in their child’s success?
- Attend family programs sponsored by Title I.
- Join school committees such as the School Improvement Team, Action Team, and Family Involvement Team.
- Work with schools to determine how parental funds for Title I are spent.
- Offer suggestions to schools and teachers for improvement and professional learning.
- Share responsibilities with teachers for your child’s success.
What is Title I Family Involvement?
Title I schools receive funding to provide family and community programs, including:
- Family Math or Reading Night
- Parent/Teacher Conference
- Student Data Night
- Read With Me Programs
- Title I and Academic Intervention Summer School
- Dream Bus Literacy Unit