The purpose of Title I, Part A is to provide all children significant opportunity to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps. The Title I, Part A is an ESEA program intended to:
- Ensure all children have the opportunity to obtain a high-quality education and reach proficiency on challenging state academic standards and assessments,
- Provide funding to supplement educational opportunities for students in higher poverty schools,
- Provide professional learning for school staff, and
- Implement other strategies for raising student academic achievement.
Federal Law Guidance
Title I Policy Committee of Practitioners Title I, under the Every Student Succeeds Act, requires that the Office of Educational Equity & Support establish a Committee of Practitioners. The Title I law is very specific in outlining membership representation for the Committee of Practitioners. The Committee of Practitioners must include:
- Representatives from local educational agencies as a majority of its members
- Administrators, including the administrators of programs described in other parts of this policy
- Teachers, including vocational educators and higher education
- Members of the local school boards
- Representatives of private school children
- Pupil services personnel
It is the role of the Committee of Practitioners to “…review, before publication of, any proposed or final State rule or regulation” pertaining to Title I. Committee members are often asked to review and be aware of various issues in Title I, including standards development, the state assessment system, and other current issues.
When selected, committee members are asked to consider serving on the committee for at least a three-year period, basically to ensure consistency within the committee’s membership. However, agreeing to be on the committee only commits service for one year; each year the Office of Educational Equity & Support contacts each individual on the committee to verify membership for the upcoming school year.
The committee is asked to assist in selecting the recipients of several awards administered in the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction and review applications and reports before being submitted to the U.S. Department of Education.
Title I law requires school districts with more than one school attendance area for each grade span to meet Title I comparability requirements. The schedule for reviewing comparability requirement at the state department has been moved from spring to winter, so that if we encounter problems with comparability reports, there is still time to make changes before the school year ends.
Title I comparability requirements state that a school district may receive Title I funds only if state and local funds will be used in schools receiving Title I funds to provide services that, taken as a whole, are at least comparable to services in schools that are not receiving Title I funds. If the district is serving all schools under Title I, they may receive Title I funds only if they will use state and local funds to provide services that, taken as a whole, are substantially comparable in each school.
The comparability regulations include documenting compliance in the following three areas:
- A local educational agency-wide salary schedule;
- Ensuring equivalence among schools in teachers, administrators, and other staff; and
- Ensuring equivalence among schools in the provision of curriculum materials and instructional supplies.
Comparability reports are to be submitted and reviewed at the end of each school year. Meeting comparability is a prerequisite to receiving approval on your subsequent year’s consolidated application, which is processed during the summer. Demonstrating comparability is an annual requirement.
Previously, school districts were informed that they could develop and submit a policy to ensure that the comparability requirements were met on an annual basis. However, when the USDE released final fiscal guidance which addresses the comparability requirements and outlines new USDE expectations, the guidance states that all districts must actually perform the calculations necessary each and every year to demonstrate that all of its Title I schools are, in fact, comparable. Therefore, districts will need to submit actual documentation (not a policy) for each of the three comparability components listed above.
Title I law requires local education agencies with total enrollment of 1,000 students or more and having more than one attendance area, to rank schools based on the percentage of poverty and allocated funds to eligible buildings according to the number of low income students in each building.
In order to be eligible for a Title I building allocation, a school must be at or above the district poverty percent. Schools below the district percent are not eligible for Title I funding.
There are 4 levels of Title I grants: Basic, Concentration, Targeted and Education Finance Incentive Grants (EFIG). Each level has eligibility criteria that the school, Local Educational Agency (LEA) and/or state must met to qualify for the grant. The Title I funds are allocated through statutory formulas that are based primarily on census poverty estimates and the cost of education in the state.
An LEA must have at least 10 poverty children and;
Poverty children must exceed 2 percent of the LEA's school age population (age 5-17).
An LEA must have at least 10 poverty children and;
Poverty children must be greater than 15 percent of the LEA's school age population (ages 5-17).
An LEA must have at least 10 poverty children and;
Poverty children must be at least 5 percent of the LEA's school age population (ages 5-17).
Education Finance Incentive Grants (EFIG):
A state must rank well in comparison to other states in its effort to provide financial support for education compared to its relative wealth as measured by its per capita income;
A state must rank well in comparison to other states in its degree to which education expenditures among LEAs within the state are equalized;
An LEA must have at least 10 poverty children;
Poverty children must be at least 5 percent of the LEAs school age population (ages 5-17) and;
An LEA must target the Title I funds schools with the highest percentages of children from low-income families and;
Schools must focus Title I services on children who are failing, or most at risk of failing, to meet state academic standards (unless a school is operating a schoolwide program*); and
An LEA also must use Title I funds to provide academic enrichment services to eligible children enrolled in private schools.
*Schools in which poverty children make up at least 40% of enrollment are eligible to use Title I funds for schoolwide programs that serve all children in the school.
Each year the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) determines eligibility status for Title I funding for the subsequent school year and sends information to each district.
Eligibility for a Title I grant requires a district to have a minimum formula count of ten. The formula count must exceed 2% of the district’s age 5-17 population. The formula count is a weighted unit consisting of 15.5% of the census poor count, 15.5% of the foster child count, 46% of the eligible free meal count, and 23% of the eligible reduced meal count.
In October 2020, the free and reduced meal and foster child counts were reported. The free meal count is a count of children eligible for free meals. The reduced meal count is a count of children eligible for reduced meal prices. A child must have an approved free or reduced meal application on file at their school district office in October 2020 to be counted. The department’s Child Nutrition and Food Distribution unit verifies the free and reduced meal counts which will be finalized January 2021.
The census poor count data is the count of children ages 5-17 reported below poverty on the updated federal census. The United States Department of Education (USED) has released the 2019 Census Data. Please review the USED memo which includes links to the census data located on the NDDPI website under eligibility. The North Dakota Census Data is available for your review. The district may contact the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) Branch at the Census Bureau for further information about how to challenge the census data (see USDE Census Memo for details). The challenge period for the census data ends March 8, 2021.
Using Title I Funds
Title I funds must carry out a variety of activities including, but not limited to:
- Developing and implementing plans to support and improve low-performing schools
- Providing services to homeless students
- Providing services to students in local institutions for neglected or delinquent children
- Ensuring the educational stability of students in foster care
- Developing policies and providing services to engage parents and families
- Providing services to eligible private schools
- Overseeing Title I interventions and services in Title I eligible schools
LEAs must reserve Title I, Part A funds for the following required activities:
- Services for students experiencing homelessness
- Services for children in local institutions for neglected students and delinquent students
- Parent and family engagement (required if the LEA receives $500,000 or more)
- Equitable services for eligible private school students (amounts depend on proportionate share)
Title I funds support eligible students using one of two models:
- A schoolwide model which supports high poverty schools with flexibility to implement comprehensive school improvement strategies, not limited only to add-on services for certain students. In a schoolwide program all students and staff may participate in Title I-funded activities. Schools may use Title I to support any reasonable activity designed to improve the school’s educational program so long as it is consistent with the school’s comprehensive needs assessment. Schoolwide programs allow a school to consolidate its federal, state and local funds to upgrade the entire educational program.
- A targeted assistance model, available to any Title I school that does not operate a schoolwide program. In a targeted assistance school, the school uses Title I funds to provide additional supports to specifically identified students struggling to meet state standards. Title I, Part A funds must be spent on supplemental activities to improve the academic achievement of eligible students.
Required program components for both schoolwide and targeted assistance models include:
- School level needs assessment
- Evidence-based interventions
- Stakeholder consultation
- Annual evaluation
Planning to Use Title I Funds
Dependent upon the school’s needs assessment, high impact funded activities may be used to support:
- High-quality preschool, full-day kindergarten, or transition from early learning services
- Recruitment and retention of effective teachers, particularly in high-need subjects
- Increased learning time (e.g., afterschool, summer school, or extended day programs)
- Providing professional learning to teachers, principals, school leaders, and paraeducators
- Evidence-based interventions to support at-risk learning (e.g., English learners)
- Activities designed to increase access and prepare students for success in high quality advanced coursework to earn postsecondary credit while in high school (e.g., Advanced Placement, early college high schools, and dual or concurrent enrollment programs)
- Career and technical education programs to prepare students for postsecondary education and the workforce
- Counseling, school-based mental health programs, mentoring services, and other strategies to improve students’ nonacademic skills that impact academic learning
- School climate interventions (e.g., anti-bullying strategies, positive behavior interventions)
- Equipment, materials, and training needed to compile and analyze student achievement data
- Evidence-based strategies intended to allow for early identification of students with learning or behavioral needs and to provide a tiered response based on those needs (including multi-tiered systems of support)
- High impact strategies shown to be effective at increasing family and community engagement
- Devices and software for students to access digital learning materials and collaborate with peers, and related training for educators (including accessible devices and software needed by students with disabilities)
- Programs to support improved economic, educational, health, safety, and other outcomes that address the issues of intergenerational poverty.
- District level administration of the Title I program which is necessary and reasonable
Supplement, Not Supplant
A district shall use federal funds received under Title I only to supplement the funds that would, in the absence of such Federal funds, be made available from State and local sources for the education of students participating in Title I, and not to supplant such funds.