Parents and education professionals have been hearing a lot about Title I lately. It is taking the school systems by storm, and the government promises that is a good thing for students and American education. Many are still in the dark about what Title I is and how it shapes the world of different academic areas, especially the dynamic and complex subject of mathematics. Here is an overview of what Title I means for math teachers.
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What is Title I?
It is first important to understand what it means to work for a Title I school overall. Title I is a federal grant that was created in response to the needs of underprivileged children and schools. The amount of funding a school receives is determined by the number of children whose parents sign them up for free or reduced-cost lunch. This gives parents some power over their school resources, and also ensures that the grant remains need-based. Since the grant is aimed at improving the academic performance of every child who struggles, schools that qualify for Title I must follow academic guidelines in order to maintain participation. Generally speaking, the guidelines allow teachers to be more creative in instruction so that they can provide each individual student with his and her unique needs. Below are the guidelines that Title I math teachers must follow.
First and foremost, the creators of Title I understand that while mathematics is pretty cut and dried, each student process the material differently and at a different pace. Some children are visual or auditory learners, while others must learn by doing. Some need bright colors and physical tools, while others need to write it out. Title I, therefore, requires that math teachers create individualized instruction plans. While this sounds like a lot of work at first, Title I makes it easier by providing the classroom resources. It is also important to remember that meeting children where they are helps them to learn faster, saving the time it takes to pull them aside later to review and remediate. The U.S. Department of Education provides detailed background information on the creation of this approach.
Integration of Technology
The way the world works becomes more digital every day, and the education system is not exempt from that shift. The creators of Title I knew that part of the reason children fell behind academically was due to lack of access to and knowledge about how to use technology. Title I math teachers are therefore required to integrate technology into their pedagogy. As with other Title I guidelines, there is a certain amount of freedom in how they accomplish this task. There are technological resources available for instructing, as well as the administrative tasks of teaching and improving communication with the school, the district, and the parents. A study out of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas investigates the integration of technology in elementary schools.
Outside the Classroom
The creators of Title I understood that students spend only a small portion of their lives inside the classroom. It was important to implement stronger systems outside the classroom to maintain learning and increase progress. Title I teachers must hold regular student conferences to check in on individual learning outcomes and make necessary changes to individualized learning plans. They must also hold regular collaboration meetings with parents. This is especially important in a dynamic subject such as mathematics. Title I also provides funding for after-school programs, which address parents’ need for after-school care and also provide students with structured homework assistance and extracurricular activities.
These Title I guidelines are structured so as to be evolutionary. Title I provides the funding for teachers to keep up with the ever-changing needs of their students. Title I Math teaches, in particular, are undergoing a vast array of changes, all with the intention of an individual student and districtwide achievement.