What is the Title 1 Program?
Title 1 is a federally funded program within Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that provides additional funds to schools with high numbers of children from low-income families. As a result of the conditions that often impact families who are poor (e.g., high mobility, unsafe communities, poor health), these children often fall behind in school and require additional resources to catch up and stay on track. Title 1 funds are used primarily to support teaching and can be spent for professional development, additional teachers to reduce class size, specialists in reading and math, paraprofessionals, and school reform programs.
ESSA is very clear about the importance of engaging families in the Title 1 program. Not only must parents be included in the planning and implementation of parent and family engagement programs and procedures, but each school district must reserve not less than 1% of its total Title 1 grant to support activities to engage parents.
Every school receiving Title 1 funds must have in place a parent involvement policy. This policy should spell out how parents will be involved in a meaningful way in making decisions about the program and how they will be involved in the school. The policy must also be updated periodically to reflect the changing conditions for learning and needs of the parents and students.
ESSA is very clear—a school-parent compact is a comprehensive plan for partnerships between families and schools that is linked to school goals for student achievement and success. The school compact should describe how the school, parents and students will work together to achieve student success.
The compact should be more than a laundry list of what teachers will do and what parents will do. It is not intended to be voluntary for parents, students or teachers but rather a way to hold everyone accountable for doing their part.
The requirement that school districts distribute a report card specifying how each school individually and the district as a whole are performing applies to Title 1 and non-Title 1 schools as well as charter schools.The report card must include:
Achievement information, broken down by subgroups. The subgroups are identified by race/ethnicity, disability, income, gender, English language learners and migrant workers. The percentage of students not tested, broken down by subgroups. Graduation rates for high school students, retention and promotion for middle grade students, and a similar indicator for elementary school students.
Teacher qualifications, broken down by high-poverty and low-poverty schools. Although not required, the report card may include information about parent involvement. Under this requirement, if a school continuously fails to make adequate yearly progress (AYP), parents can ask to transfer their children to a school that is making adequate yearly progress.