What does it mean to have a schoolwide Title I Program?
Schoolwide Programs Description A schoolwide program is a comprehensive reform strategy designed to upgrade the entire educational program in a Title I school; its primary goal is to ensure that all students, particularly those who are low-achieving, demonstrate proficient and advanced levels of achievement on State academic achievement standards. This schoolwide reform should result in an ongoing, comprehensive plan for school improvement that is owned by the entire school community and tailored to its unique needs.
To qualify as "schoolwide," your school must have 40 percent or more students living in poverty, regardless of the grades it serves.
Benefiting from Operating a Schoolwide Program
A school that operates a schoolwide program is able to take advantage of numerous benefits, including:
Serving all students. A school operating a schoolwide program does not need to identify particular students as eligible to participate. (ESEA section 1114(a)(2)(A)(i)).
Consolidating Federal, State, and local funds (see discussion below). A school operating a schoolwide program may consolidate Federal, State, and local education funds to better address the needs of students in the school. (ESEA section 1114(a)(1), (3)).
Implementing a Schoolwide Program
There are three required components of a schoolwide program that are essential to effective implementation: conducting a comprehensive needs assessment, preparing a comprehensive schoolwide plan, and annually reviewing and revising, as necessary, the schoolwide plan.
Conducting a comprehensive needs assessment. To ensure that a school’s comprehensive plan best serves the needs of those children who are failing, or are at risk of failing, to meet the challenging State academic standards, the school must conduct a comprehensive needs assessment. (ESEA section 1114(b)(6)). Through the needs assessment, a school must consult with a broad range of stakeholders, including parents, school staff, and others in the community, and examine relevant academic achievement data to understand students’ most pressing needs and their root causes. (ESEA section 1114(b)(2); 34 C.F.R. § 200.26(a)). Where necessary, a school should attempt to engage in interviews, focus groups, or surveys, as well as review data on students, educators, and schools to gain a better understanding of the root causes of the identified needs.
Preparing a comprehensive schoolwide plan that describes how the school will improve academic achievement throughout the school, but particularly for the lowest-achieving students, by addressing the needs identified in the comprehensive needs assessment. (ESEA section 1114(b)(7)). The schoolwide plan must include a description of how the strategies the school will be implementing will provide opportunities and address the learning needs of all students in the school, particularly the needs of the lowest-achieving students. (ESEA section 1114(b)(7)(A)(i), (iii)). The plan must also contain descriptions of how the methods and instructional strategies that the school intends to use will strengthen the academic program in the school, increase the amount and quality of learning time, and help provide an enriched and accelerated curriculum, including programs and activities necessary to provide a well-rounded education. (ESEA section 1114(b)(7)(A)(ii)). To ensure that the plan results in progress toward addressing the needs of the school, the plan should include benchmarks for the evaluation of program results. This plan may be integrated into an existing improvement plan.
Annually evaluating the schoolwide plan, using data from the State’s assessments, other student performance data, and perception data to determine if the schoolwide program has been effective in addressing the major problem areas and, in turn, increasing student achievement, particularly for the lowest-achieving students. Schools must annually revise the plan, as necessary, based on student needs and the results of the evaluation to ensure continuous improvement. (ESEA section 1114(b)(3); 34 C.F.R. § 200.26(c)).
Parent and Family Engagement has always has been a centerpiece of Title I. The statue specifically defines parent and family engagement as the participation of parents and/or family in regular, two-way meaningful communication involving student academic learning and other school activities, including ensuring—
that parents and/or family play an integral role in assisting their child’s learning;
that parents and/or family are encouraged to be actively involved in their child’s education and are included, as appropriate, in decision-making and on advisory committees to assist in the education of their child; and
that other activities are carried out, such as those described in Title I, Part A.