The purpose of Title I, Part A is to provide all children significant opportunities to receive a fair, equitable, and high-quality education, and to close educational achievement gaps. 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.

The information on this webpage is included in the Title I, Part A Handbook. To request a PDF copy, please email the Office of Educational Improvement & Support.

Committee of Practitioners

Title I Policy Committee of Practitioners Title I, under the Every Student Succeeds Act, requires that the Office of Educational Improvement & 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
  • Parents
  • 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 Improvement & 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.

Comparability and Supplement, not Supplant

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 requirements 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:

  1. A local educational agency-wide salary schedule;
  2. Ensuring equivalence among schools in teachers, administrators, and other staff; and 
  3. 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.

Supplement, not Supplant

A district may use Title I, Part A funds only to supplement the funds that would, in the absence of Title I, Part A funds, be made available from non-federal sources for the education of children participating in Title I, Part A programs. In no case may Title I, Part A funds be used to supplant, or take the place of, funds from non-federal sources. ESSA 1118(b)(2) changed the way districts demonstrate compliance with the supplement, not supplant requirement. The district must demonstrate the methodology in which state and local funds are distributed to schools. Funds must be distributed in a Title I-neutral manner; the district cannot determine the amount of state and local funds allocated to a school based on the school’s Title I allocation. The supplement, not supplant methodology must be updated annually and kept on file at the district office. 

A method of evaluation must:

  • Reflect staffing allocation with real calculations and numbers to support it;
  • Account for distribution of state and local funds including staff, resources, and services in a Title I-neutral manner;
  • Be supported with documentation;
  • Include a narrative to clarify allocation steps.

Exemptions apply for districts with only one school, a single grade span per school, or those that serve all schools with Title I allocations. In these cases, a supplement, not supplant methodology is not required.


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 meet 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.

NDDPI has a US Department of Education (USED) approved alternative poverty method. This method uses a weighted formula (aggregate units) that includes census (15.5%), foster care (15.5%), free lunch (46%), and reduced lunch (23%) data to determine Title I eligibility and allocations for districts with a population under 20,000. Districts with 10 or more aggregate units are eligible for a Title I grant. The NDDPI will no longer honor Title I cooperatives or agreements. School districts should locally determine how to best meet Title I program goals and student outcomes.

Basic Grant:

  • 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).

Concentration Grant:

  • 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).

Targeted Grant:

  • 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 the 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.

Title I Aggregate Units Comparison 

Release of Census Data for 2023-2024

Each year the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) determines the eligibility status for Title I funding for the subsequent school year and sends information to each district. This year it is especially important to carefully read the following information due to the NDDPI’s announcement on December 6, 2022, that it is considering using the United States Department of Education (USED) method to determine Title I funds for the 2023-2024 school year for all districts, which would be a change from past practice.

The USED has now released the 2021 Census Data for review. The data includes the count of children ages 5-17 reported below poverty on the federal census. The USED uses the 2021 Census data to calculate Title I allocations for the 2023-2024 school year. Districts should review the North Dakota Census data and verify the accuracy of the boundary survey data on which the data are based. Districts may contact the Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates (SAIPE) Branch at the Census Bureau for further information about how to challenge census data. The challenge period for the US census data ends on March 15, 2023. See the USED memo for more details.

Currently, the NDDPI uses a complex weighted formula count of the census (15.5%), foster (15.5%), free lunch (46%), and reduced lunch (23%) data to determine Title I eligibility and allocations for those districts with a population under 20,000. This method focused heavily on the National Free/Reduced lunch Program (NFLP) forms.

The NDDPI has carefully reviewed draft calculations of both methods and was surprised to find most districts receive an increase in Title I funds using the USED method. It is important for districts to consider the following during the review of this information:

  • Title I provides financial assistance to districts for children from economically disadvantaged families to help ensure all children meet challenging state academic standards.
  • Title I funds are to supplement and invest in providing educational opportunities for students in low-income backgrounds. Investments must be evidence-based and evaluated regularly to show improved student outcomes.
  • The needs and landscape of ND have changed and evolved over the years.
  • The USED method has always been the formula used for large districts (over 20,000 population), with the concentration portion of the formula calculated by NDDPI.
  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, USED waivers were issued for the collection of free/reduced lunch forms for poverty data, prompting an awareness that this may not be the most accurate reflection of poverty for districts in ND.
  • This will affect some districts for Title I and Title IV eligibility (subsequent years) based on estimated calculations. Census counts over 10 determine Title I eligibility.
  • Title I cooperative or special agreements between districts will no longer be recognized by NDDPI.
  • Using the USED method should direct funding to the neediest student communities, provide relief of paperwork burden on the district, and simplify eligibility and allocation calculations.

A comparison chart is available estimating how this may impact each district. The chart includes current 2022-2023 Title I allocations (prior to any adjustments) and the estimated USED method if NDDPI received the same state allocation. Actual amounts will be determined in the spring when the USED releases preliminary and final Title I allocations. For more information regarding Title I eligibility, visit Title I Part A ( under Eligibility.

Before NDDPI makes a final determination, we value your feedback and encourage you to submit public comments on the use of the USED method by January 18, 2023.

For any questions regarding this information, please contact Stef Two Crow at 701-328-2287.