Five Ways Schools Can Take Advantage of Title I Resources
- Community Planning
- Optimization of Existing Resources
- Professional Development
- Curriculum Design
- Parental Involvement
Title I resources are available to schools that have a need for financial and academic assistance due to high rates of poverty or low test scores. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 makes funding available to public primary and secondary schools that require assistance on a school-wide or targeted basis. Funding is contingent upon several key factors that Title I schools must consider when applying for funds. Parental involvement, teacher support, and yearly academic progress all play a vital role in determining the amount of funding a school will receive. Once awarded, funds can be used in a number of ways to improve students’ learning experience.
1. Community Planning
Title I Funding is meant to be used to improve access to educational resources for people in underserved communities, and one way that funds can be used is by creating new community resources for local families to share. Every community is different, and Title I support staff must work to identify the ways in which funding can be put to use in their community. Title I funds can be used to purchase new library equipment, technology resources, computers and electronic devices for students and community members. Successful community planning is a key factor in the Department of Education’s decision to initially award funding and continuing to fund Title I schools.
2. Optimization of Existing Resources
The resources currently available in Title I schools can be optimized to help students and community members access the tools they need to increase their chances of academic success. The same resources that schools would normally purchase with Title I funds can be improved by allocating additional funds to them when Title I assistance is awarded. Resources such as books, computers, printers, networking equipment, televisions, projectors, and whiteboards can be added to the resources currently available in Title I schools. School administrators can decide whether to make these resources available to members of the wider community and how to provide access.
3. Professional Development
Title I funds can be used to provide professional development resources for people in the community surrounding a school, according to the Coalition for Community schools. The No Child Left Behind Act specifically targets the families and communities of students who are at risk of academic failure. The motivation for the focus on communities is that academic success requires the support of parents and peers responsible for influencing the development of each student.
4. Curriculum Design
Revising and updating the academic curriculum can help students become engaged and achieve their full potential. Title I funds can be used to pay for teachers and administrators to revamp the current curriculum so that at-risk students are better able to accomplish academic goals. Connecting students to real-world problems may help them relate to the subjects they are studying in school.
5. Parental Involvement
Close communication between teachers and parents is one of the main goals of Title I assistance. Funds can be used to provide a gathering space for parents and create an opportunity for dialog between parents, students, teachers, administrators and support staff. The Title I program is based in part on the idea that early childhood education is crucial in setting students on a path for academic and career success.
Helping at-risk students achieve their full potential is an important goal for schools and communities where many families lack financial resources. Teachers and administrators in Title I schools should think about how they can effectively allocate funds awarded by the Department of Education.