The purpose of Title I A - Disadvantaged Children Meet High Standards 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.
Each LEA receiving Title I funds, regardless of whether it operates a Title I preschool program, must develop agreements and carry out the following coordination activities with Head Start and, if feasible, other early childhood programs (Title I Part A Section 1119(a) and (b)):
- Developing and implementing a systematic procedure for receiving records of preschool children;
- Establishing channels of communication between school staff and their counterparts to facilitate coordination;
- Conducting meetings involving parents, kindergarten or elementary school teachers, and Head Start teachers to discuss the developmental and other needs of children;
- Organizing and participating in joint transition related training of school, Head Start, and where appropriate, other early childhood education program staff; and
- Linking the educational services provided by the LEA with those provided by Head Start agencies.
An LEA must include on their report cards the number and percentage of students enrolled in preschool programs (Title I Part A Section 1111 (h)(1)(C)(vii)(II)(aa), (h)(2)(C)).
An LEA’s Title I plan must provide an assurance that the LEA will, if it uses funds to provide early childhood education, ensure that programs comply with the Head Start education performance standards.
Head Start Education Program Performance Standards address how programs must provide high quality early education and child development services, including for children with disabilities, that promote children’s success in school. The Head Start Program Performance Standards are the foundation on which programs design and deliver comprehensive, high-quality individualized services to support the school readiness of children from low-income families.
- All programs must provide high-quality early education and child development services, including for children with disabilities that promote children’s cognitive, social, and emotional growth for later success in school.
- A program must embed responsive and effective teacher-child interactions.
- All programs must implement:
- Research-based curriculum;
- Screening and assessment procedures that support individualization and growth in the areas of development described in the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework: Ages Birth to Five;
- Supporting family engagement in children’s learning and development;
- Delivering developmentally, culturally, and linguistically appropriate learning experiences in language, literacy, mathematics, social and emotional functioning, approaches to learning, science, physical skills, and creative arts; and
- Delivery of high-quality early education and child development services, a center-based or family child care program must implement, at a minimum, the elements contained in §§1302.31 through 1302.34.
What qualifications would a teacher in a Title I pre-kindergarten program need?
- School districts who offer additional services to pre-kindergarten-aged students using Title I funds must have highly qualified teachers. Teachers must have one of the following to be considered highly qualified:
- B3 license
- Elementary education major and an early childhood endorsement
- Elementary education major and a minor in early childhood education
- Elementary education major and a kindergarten endorsement. A plan of study may be granted for the kindergarten endorsement, which will allow a teacher two years to complete the required coursework for the endorsement.
- K-8 license. The K-8 licenses are no longer issued by Education Standards & Practices Board. However, those who already have a K-8 license may teach pre-kindergarten.
- K-6 license. The K-6 licenses are no longer issued by Education Standards & Practices Board. However, those who already have a K-6 license may teach pre-kindergarten.
What qualifications would an aide/paraprofessional in a Title I pre-kindergarten program need?
- Aides/paraprofessionals would need to either have a valid North Dakota teacher license or hold a valid Title I Aide/Paraprofessional Certificate of Completion. To obtain a Certificate of Completion, an applicant can:
- Obtain an associate degree (or higher) from an institution of higher education
- Complete at least two years of study in an institution of higher education, or
- Meet a rigorous standard of quality, which includes an assessment of reading, writing, and math. North Dakota has three assessments on our state approved list.
- Aides/paraprofessionals must be under the direct supervision of a certified teacher, a Title I pre-kindergarten program staffed entirely by paraprofessionals is not allowed.
Title I Prekindergarten
- In order to initiate the Four-Year Old Program approval process, the interested school district must submit the SFN 1304 Four-Year Old Program Approval form along with the following items:
- A copy of the school board minutes documenting school board approval of the program
- A copy of the most recent fire marshal’s safety report
- Once the approval form and documentation are reviewed, grade level organization will be updated, and the program will be approved by the NDDPI and NDDHS to operate as a pre-kindergarten program for the school year requested in the approval form.
- Must meet at minimum, the Head Start Education Program Performance Standards, that are aligned to the North Dakota Early Learning Standards Birth-Kindergarten
Who is eligible?
- In a schoolwide program, all children in the attendance area of that school are eligible to participate.
- In targeted assistance schools, schools must develop a student selection process using multiple, educationally-related, objective criteria.
- Criteria should include teacher judgment, interviews with parents, and developmentally appropriate measures of child development.
- Using family income levels as one of the multiple student selection criteria is allowable; however, a school cannot identify a student for Title I pre-kindergarten services solely based on income.
- Children who participated in a Head Start or a previous Title I pre-kindergarten program at any time during the two preceding years, homeless children, and children in neglected and delinquent programs are automatically eligible for Title I.
How should a Title I pre-kindergarten program be coordinated with other pre-kindergarten programs?
- A school may include appropriate Title I activities as part of another public pre-kindergarten program. For example, Title I funds could also be used to complement or extend a Head Start program. Title I funds could be used to provide services to Title I eligible children who are not eligible for Head Start services. Title I could also be used to provide additional services to Head Start children who are also eligible for Title I services by extending the daily program for additional time or increasing the number of days or providing services for Title I eligible students at times Head Start is not operating.
- Districts that can collaborate with a local pre-kindergarten or Head Start have two options:
- Hire staff and work in a Head Start or locally run pre-kindergarten program or
- Purchase slots at a Head Start or locally run pre-kindergarten program.
- If this option is selected, the district needs to identify a pre-kindergarten liaison in the school district that is responsible for ensuring compliance with all the Title I regulations.
- Regardless of which option is selected, it is critical to remember that when Title I funds are used to support a Head Start or locally-run pre-kindergarten program, it becomes a Title I program and must follow all the Title I regulations.
How would Title I funds be used to fund a Title I pre-kindergarten program?
- A Title I school could use its building level Title I funds to operate a pre-kindergarten program, OR the district could reserve an amount to operate a Title I pre-kindergarten program for eligible children in the district or as a portion of the district.
- Title I funds could also be used in conjunction with other public early childhood education programs (e.g., Head Start) to operate a Title I pre-kindergarten program.
- A LEA’s Title I application must describe how it will use Title I funds to support, coordinate, and integrate services under Title I with other educational services such as Head Start and other public pre-kindergarten programs. Title I schoolwide plans must also include plans for the transition of children in those programs to elementary school programs.
- Title I funds in a targeted assistance school would only be able to fund pre-kindergarten services to those students identified in the pre-kindergarten student selection process.
- Generally, it is the responsibility of a local educational agency (LEA) and school to use information it already has available to identify at-risk children. However, if a LEA has no existing assessment data for pre-kindergarten children, Title I funds may be used for identifying these children.
What would be taught in a Title I pre-kindergarten program?
- Title I pre-kindergarten programs are encouraged to align their curriculum with the North Dakota Early Learning Standards Birth-Kindergarten.
- Title I pre-kindergarten programs emphasize learning through play, encouraging teachers to use constructive and imaginative play as intentional opportunities for children to develop their vocabulary, understanding and ability to think about the world around them. Selecting a Comprehensive Preschool Curriculum provides guidance in selecting a pre-kindergarten curriculum.
What type of oversight responsibility do SEA’s have for Title I pre-kindergarten programs?
- As the Title I grantee, the state educational agency (SEA) is responsible for oversight of all Title I programs, including pre-kindergarten programs supported with Title I funds.
- The North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) is required to monitor Title I pre-kindergarten programs for compliance. The Title I Self-Monitoring Guide provides guidance on monitoring pre-kindergarten programs.
What are the requirements for parental involvement?
- Title I LEAs and schools, to the extent feasible and appropriate, coordinate and integrate Title I parental involvement strategies and activities within the existing Title I program.
Must Title I pre-kindergarten programs meet the supplement not supplant requirement?
- Yes. Title I pre-kindergarten programs must still supplement and not supplant district responsibilities. The “supplement not supplant” regulation means that Title I funds and services must supplement and not supplant all regular school programming. In other words, a school may not use Title I funds to perform a service that would normally be paid for with local or state dollars.
If appropriate facilities are not available to house a pre-kindergarten program in the district or a school, how might pre-kindergarten services be provided?
- Pre-kindergarten services may be provided at any location that other Title I services may be provided, including public school buildings, public libraries, existing child care programs, community centers, privately-owned facilities (including facilities owned by faith-based organizations), the child’s home, and other appropriate settings.
- The cost to rent or lease space in privately-owned buildings is allowable if the space is necessary to ensure the success of the program, appropriate space is not available to the grantee, and the cost is reasonable.
Where can I get more information on Title I pre-kindergarten programs?
- U.S. Department of Education’s Title I preschool program guidance: Non-Regulatory Guidance Early Learning in the Every Student Succeeds Act
- North Dakota Department of Human Services Early Education Services in North Dakota
- North Dakota Head Start Collaboration Office
- Serving Preschool Children Through Title I Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965
- Early Childhood & Learning Toolkit